Peak 620ft P300

May 11, 2024
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPX

Continued...

In Pismo Beach with the family for Mother's Day, I had some hours in the morning while Mom and daughter were doing girl stuff. I headed to Morro Bay for a few easy summits. The ladies ended up cancelling their paddleboarding, so I quit early and headed back to join them in Pismo.

Peak 620ft

This is a P300 located above the small town of Cayucos, north of Morro Bay. The summit lies on state lands surrounding the Whale Rock Reservoir. There was an ascent recorded on PB, but no trip report to guide me. The satellite view shows a dirt road going to a saddle NW of the summit starting from the reservoir access point off Old Creek Rd. Seemed as good as any other place to start. The coast was heavily socked in with fog, so there would be no views on this one, but it would help hide me from view since it turned out to require some travel in areas not open to the public.

The road I'd viewed on the satellite view turned out to be on state lands closed to the public and signed as such at the access point. I hiked the public trail on the shoreline of the reservoir to the west, hoping for something to help me out where it ended at a chain-link fence topped with barb-wire. I found a gap in the bottom of the fence that would provide access to the closed area. I then followed a use trail up to the dirt road, along this for a short distance before deciding to head up directly to the summit ridgeline. The tall grass and shrubs encountered were wet with marine moisture and I would soon find my boots and pant legs well-soaked. No matter, it was steep but mostly clear going, with some modest amounts of poison oak that were easily avoided. I was happy for the additional cover that the fog provided, even if I would be without views. I reached a fenceline between state and private property and followed this southwest along the ridge to the highpoint. There are two closely-spaced summits separated by a high saddle, the west summit where a small solar-powered instrument is located being the highpoint. I continued across the saddle and a barb-wire fence to the west summit where a power pole is located as well as the LoJ point, but it is obviously lower by about 10ft. Road noise from SR1 below to the west was loud enough to feel very close. The summit must have a nice view of Cayucos and the Pacific in that direction on clear days. I continued NW along the ridgeline to drop down to another saddle where the dirt road from earlier reaches. This made for a longer but easier return, following the road east back to the gap in the fence and eventually my starting point. I spent about 45min on the effort.

Chorro Hill

These next two are PB-only summits, minor stuff to keep me busy until the ladies were ready to call me back. Both are located in Morro Bay State Park, southeast of Morro Bay. Chorro Hill is a minor summit on the NW side of Cerro Cabrillo, one of the Seven (or Nine, or Fifteen, depending on who's counting) Morros that I'd visited nineteen years earlier. Several TRs on PB had me believing this would be an easy one. I parked at the junction of South Bay Blvd and Park View Rd to make it even easier. I walked across the bridge over Chorro Creek in the bike path, then turned left onto Turtle Rock Trail, gated to vehicles. I walked this to its end in less than half a mile where another gate is signed for Private Property. Just before this, a use trail cuts left off the road to go the short distance to the summit. I only followed this for a few yards before finding it heavily overgrown with poison oak everywhere. Perhaps this is periodically maintained, but I had no intention of contaminating my pants when I still had days before the roadtrip was concluded. It was an easy decision to turn back.

Portola Point

Half a mile further south on South Bay Blvd is the Quarry TH on the northwest side of Portola Point. I hiked various trails around the north side of this minor summit to the east side, where the spur Portola Trail takes one to the top. The highpoint is a short distance off the trail that makes a tight loop around the summit area. I dutifully plied my way into the thicket to claim the highpoint, though the honor is dubious. There is some poison oak about the summit, so there's that to watch out for. Nice views of Cerro Cabrillo to the north, Pt. 811ft to the east, the Irish Hills to the south, and the Morro Bay Estuary to the west. There's also a nice view bench on the west side of the summit trail loop. I spent about 45min on this one. Jackie called me upon my return - seems they decided to cancel their paddleboarding reservation and were requesting me for a pickleball foursome. Back to Pismo Beach I went...

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