Junipero Serra Peak P2K CC

Fri, May 15, 1998

With: Michael Golden

Etymology Story Photos / Slideshow Map Profile
later climbed Thu, Oct 22, 2009

We drove down in Michael's Saturn to bag the Monterey County highpoint early one Friday in spring. The drive from San Jose took several hours, and we missed an important turnoff. We went inside a commissary looking for directions, with odd stares from the others eating breakfast there - we were the only ones not in fatigues. These appeared to be the National Guard weekenders, and neither Michael nor I looked the part. Someone gave us proper directions and we backtracked a short way to find the turnoff we missed. There was a small creek crossing that us by surprise - water flowing across what was otherwise a decently paved road. Not sure if the Saturn was up for the crossing, I got out to take memorial pictures before Michael drove across. It came through without a hitch.

We found the trailhead at Santa Lucia Memorial Park without too much trouble and headed out by mid-morning. It was a beautiful spring day with gorgeous California-perfect weather, not another soul on the trail all day. We delighted in the incredible wildflower displays in the many meadows we passed through in the first few miles of the trail, stopping often to take pictures. There were few other highlights of the hike - it is pretty straightforward on a well-maintained trail, much elevation gain but not too many miles. Near the summit we noted the change in flora from chaparral to pine forest, and even found some leftover snow from a late-season storm on the northern flanks of the hillsides.

At the summit we found and climbed the rickety lookout tower that didn't seem to have many years left before it came tumbling to the ground. A summit shelter housed an eclectic collection of random supplies - various types of food, deck of cards, odd tools, even some fire crackers. Though it was tempting to light them off, we left the stuff undisturbed.

The hike down was easier of course, though no more memorable, and by late afternoon we were back at the car, and finally back in San Jose not long after dark. A wonderful way to spend a spring day.

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