Eagle Peak CC

Fri, Mar 21, 2008

With: Ryan Burd

Etymology Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 Profile
later climbed Tue, Apr 3, 2012

11yr-old son Ryan and I had planned to climb Junipero Serra Peak, the highpoint of Monterey County. Unfortunately I had failed to check on road conditions, and after three hours of driving from San Jose, we came up short when we found the gate locked just before the place where the road goes across the San Antonio River (creek, really). Bummer. Not to make a waste of it altogether, we decided to check out the San Antonio Mission while we were in the area. It is one of the few missions not physically close to US101, consequently it is one of the least visited. We found the mission open, but no one around with the exception of a bevy of very friendly cats. So friendly that they would practically knock you over to sit in your lap. Ryan thought this was the greatest part of the whole visit. We went inside the church to look around, then played around with the cats some more when we came out again. On our way out through the Hunter-Liggett base, we stopped at an old tank left alongside the road as a display. This was almost as cool as the cats, in Ryan's opinion.

Not wanting to come away without any sort of hike, I decided to stop by the Toro Regional Park just outside Salinas on our way back towards San Jose. The highpoint of the area, Mt. Toro, doesn't lie within the park despite the name, and it was only after hiking for several miles over old roads along the ridgetops that we came to realize just where Mt. Toro was (a long ways off, still). Ryan was tired enough after two hours of hiking that I didn't have the heart to press him further. I left him to rest in the shade of some oak trees on a knoll while I pressed on to see if I could make it to Mt. Toro, promising I'd be back in an hour. After half an hour of continuing undulations along the ridge, I realized I'd only covered half the remaining distance to Mt. Toro. I'd have to come back another time to try to reach it. I could see buildings, indicative of private property ahead, and suspect it may have to be a moonlight hike if I'm to reach the peak undetected (and told to get the heck out of there).

After returning to where I'd left Ryan (which I later learned was named Eagle Peak), we took an alternate route back that went by a small fishing/boating pond near a camp facility. No one was around at the time, and we walked around the lake, examining the pier jutting out into the lake and looking for signs of fish, frog, or other life around the lake (none detected). It was a good time of year for spring wildflowers, which we enjoyed as we finished our hike back to the trailhead.

A day use fee is collected for entry into the park. There is plenty of free parking just outside the gate to the east for those wishing to avoid the fees. There were far more cars parked outside than inside on the day we were there.


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