With both kids otherwise occupied for the day, I decided to drive into the
Santa Cruz Mtns for some sketchy peakbagging. Probably half the summits in
Santa Cruz County qualify as "sketchy" due to the preponderance of private
property and folks who live on the edge of the grid
here. Neither summit was
particularly hard, the most difficult part was driving on poorly maintained
roads and navigational challenges. Lompico is one of those heavily forested
communities in the Santa Cruz Mtns that aren't very inviting to visitors.
Besides crappy roads, the area gets little sunlight in winter and seems to
be perpetually dark and damp. The
roads are often confusingly signed (probably intentionally) for No Trespassing
even though they are public routes. Other roads are signed as Private, but who
knows if these are accurate or again, done to discourage outsiders.
Eagle Dell Peak
This one seems to have public access, of sorts.
The summit is located on the edge of the Lock Lomond Recreational Area which is
open to the public between March and October. Visiting after this time may
actually be easier since it isn't necessary to go past the entrance in order
to reach it and there will certainly be less traffic. The road near the gated
entrance is signed for No Parking, but there is parking on the side of the road
just down the hill.
One simply walks up to the entrance sign and follows
the NE Ridge up to the summit. There are game/use trails that make most of this
fairly tame, though the ridge is steep and there is a good deal of
downfall covering the forest floor. At the top there is some annoying brush that
is quite thick. I walked around the north and west sides to access
the point indicated as the highpoint, but the top is quite rounded and
an exact spot impossible to locate. There is a very large redwood near
the summit that was left undisturbed
when the surrounding area was logged 100yrs ago. Not sure why it wasn't
harvested, but it's nice to see an old-growth in this out-of-the-way place.
There are no views whatsoever from the summit or anywhere along the route.
Van Allen Ridge
It was necessary to drive west-to-east across Lompico in order to access Van
Allen Ridge. On peakbagger.com, Dean warned that one needs to approach from
the south via Lake Blvd, but I opted to ignore this and tried to follow the more
direct route offered up by Google Maps. The problem, I came to find, is that
a portion of Upper Volver Ave
is no longer driveable, at least by ordinary
vehicles and requires one to ignore the most emphatic of signage and then
drive across someone's driveway. I chose to
park before this section and walk
the road, but it still seemed sketchy. Further, Google Maps doesn't accurately
represent the roads near the summit (the topo map is much better, but roads
are unlabeled, of course). The Whileaway Ave/Madrone Ave junction doesn't
exist where shown on Google Maps, but is properly depicted on OpenStreetMap.
I followed unsigned Whileway Ave
up towards the highpoint, but not to the end where
several residences are located. I went up to the highpoint from the north
through the forest understory, finding a pair of
water tanks on top. The HP is
located somewhere on the eastern periphery fence. No views here either, and a
rather non-impressive summit. I was happy to get back without having to explain
to anyone what I was doing there. It wouldn't have been an easy sell...