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I next drove down to the Visitor Center at Memorial Park, finding three rangers in conversation, but no visitors. Seems the closure of the campground and the shutting off of the water spigots has discouraged even the day visitors to this lovely park along Pescadero Creek with some old-growth redwoods that were saved when most of these mountains were logged in the late 1800s. There is a $10 fee to park inside the park (even with the water turned off) and no parking on Pescadero Rd that runs along it. But nearby Wright Rd and the Hoffman Creek TH can be used to park for free and visit the trails inside the park. I hiked up the Mt. Ellen and Pomponio Trails to reach Mt. Ellen (no views at all) and then attempt to reach Goat Hill and Lane Hill along the Burns Chalks Fire Trail. I found signs at the connector with the Pomponio Trail warning of dire consequences should one trespass onto the Fire Trail. It wasn't the sign but the abundant poison oak growing on this unused section of old road that kept me away. Few hills are worth a romp through poison oak.
I did find what I orginally came out to discover - there's still water flowing in Pescadero Creek, so we'll have a source for our backpacking trip next weekend. You might think I could have saved two hours of driving by making a simple phone call, but as I've come to find over the past few months, there is no such thing as a simple phone call to the county or state park systems. Getting ahold of a real person, let alone a ranger, let alone a ranger who actually knows if there's water running in the creek 200yds from the Ranger Station is all but impossible. Still, it wasn't a complete waste as I had a nice six miles of hiking in the shade of the redwoods while most of the South Bay was boiling under 99F temps...
For more information see these SummitPost pages: Mt. Ellen
This page last updated: Fri Aug 8 13:41:08 2014
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