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Whale Peak previously climbed Thu, Mar 31, 2011|
There are two places to park for the short hike to the summit, both having a separate trail that come together about halfway up. The northern approach has parking for only about two cars. The southern one, just south of the saddle in Hwy 1, has more parking but the trail has more encroaching poison oak. It's a good idea to be careful to look out for the noxious plant on both trails. Keep to the middle and you can probably hike it even in shorts without trouble.
The ranger at the entrance kiosk warned us that the trails required crossing the Big Sur River due to a washed out bridge. A foot deep and colder than some descriptive metaphor, he told us. I honestly don't remember the metaphor, but it wasn't "a witch's titty." We poo-pooed his concerns as did everyone else who came to hike in Andrew Molera that day. And in fact it wasn't really a big deal. It was no more than 7-8 inches at the deepest place, and most of it was barely past the ankle, no colder than tap water. Normally at this time of year the river would be quite strong and make for a far more difficult crossing, but there had been so little rain this past year that the river was more like a creek. With a late start of around 3:40p, a generally slow and considered pace, and an extended stop for some attitude adjustment, it was nearly sunset before we reached the summit. The CORNER benchmark (or more accurately, triangulation station) was found just outside a fenceline at the summit. The sun was very low in the sky, diving behind some thin clouds that dominated the sky to the west. This made for some brilliant orange and red colors at sunset while we were on our way back. Though we had several headlamps with us, we managed to make our way back to the creek by 6p without needing to use them. Steve and I wondered what we might do should Eric slip, rip open his bandages and have his intestines spill out onto the trail. Do we leave him and go for help? Wash his intestines in the creek before stuffing them back inside? These were tough questions we had no answers for. Luckily he was very sure-footed and beat us back to the river. We met up with a couple who were coming back late from another trail and all crossed the creek at the same time. It was a fine hike that we all enjoyed a great deal.
Because this was not a low-cost road trip, we had plenty of dining options in the Big Sur area. I picked the Nepenthe Restaurant south of Big Sur as I had been there several times in the past, though not in the last 20 years. Little about the place has changed in the 60+ years it has been around. Started as a steak house, it remains one (though two of us had seared tuna and Steve had vegetarian fare) to this day. Dinner came in at roughly the cost of driving to New Mexico. Armed without reservations and plans for the rest of the night, after a false start we found our way to the Big Sur Lodge inside the State Park where we got a room (at $200/night, not cheap) and drank ourselves into the evening with conversation and revery about the past. Having known each other for almost 30 years, that's a lot of revery. Good times...
This page last updated: Thu Feb 6 17:16:36 2014
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