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Junipero Serra Peak Climber's Log

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fedakPost Fire Summit  Sucess!
Date Climbed: May 1, 2009


Opening day trip after the fire closure lifted.
Pics are here.
Posted May 12, 2009 6:16 pm

NoonduelerSpring '98  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Mar 15, 1998


Went to Death Valley next day on a 2 week window between the storms.
Posted Nov 4, 2008 11:30 pm

vancouver islanderSpringtime fun  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Apr 30, 2008

vancouver islander

Lovely hike on a perfect day. Spring flowers in abundance and the ticks even left me alone. Who could ask for more. About 7.5h round trip with lots of breaks for photos etc and an hour on top.
Posted May 13, 2008 10:54 pm

Bob BoltonSanta Lucia Trail  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Apr 26, 2008

Bob Bolton

My wife and I tackled this one as the last hike of of our vacation. She had outdone herself on Mt. Wrightson and Hualapai Peak in AZ, and this one proved to be quite a challenge for her as well. But she has an iron will when she starts something, and she was able to summit this one as well. I'm so proud of her! It was a gorgeous day, just a touch too warm but not oppressively so. Great views of an area I've seen very little of. It was my third peak on our trip that is on my highest priority list -- the 100 most topographically prominent peaks in the contiguous US, of which I now have 74. Hoping to work on some of the tougher ones on that list this year, including Stimson and Spickard.
Posted May 4, 2008 11:35 am

rochonchisNice day hike of Santa Lucia Trail
Date Climbed: Jan 19, 2008


Hiked this back in January (currently April) with the Sierra Club Peak Climbing Section. It was a nice hike with good company. As someone mentioned previously the trail was a little icy at the top in shaded areas and this made for slow progress. However with careful footwork and branches to hold on to we were able to get past these sections. Because of the 3 hour drive from the South Bay I will probably not do this hike again.
Posted Apr 3, 2008 12:14 pm

colinrConsider Snowshoes!  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Feb 9, 2008


There were several snow storms over a few weeks followed by a week of warm weather preceding my hike. All of creeks and springs were running strong. The snow was great for my dogs to cool off in, but was much more of an obstacle than it had been on my trips the previous two years. First it was ankle high and slushy. Next I entered the shady part of the mountain where the snow was knee deep with enough ice on top to support me. This section was fun at first, but slippery enough to slow me down a bit and make the route very hard to find near the top. There were no footprints or crushed down tracks to follow as it appeared I was the first to summit after the snowstorms had ended. In fact I lost the trail for a bit, and had to meander my way gradually toward the top avoiding steep icy slopes as much as possible. Finally as the trail nears the summit and the forest provides less shade, there was deep snow that sometimes supported me and sometimes did not (perfect conditions to posthole 2 to 3 feet down, often without warning and sometimes into branches). Repeatedly finding myself crotch deep in snow took extra energy and determination. I made excellent time in the other sections, but due to the poor snow conditions, I actually spent more time hiking than I had on my other 2 trips here (6 hours car to car with 45 min. relaxation time on the top).

Another issue was the encroaching vegetation, downed branches, and downed trees in all parts of the hike except for the brief meadow section near the trailhead. I suspect the unusual amount of low elevation snow storms the previous few weeks caused an unusual amount of downed branches. I think on my previous trips, I was lucky to come right after trail maintenance had been done (at least on the first 5 miles or so), but this time there were constantly obstacles to move, go over, under, around, or through.

Unfortunately encroaching vegetation and a February trip increases odds of coming into contact with ticks. I found over 50 ticks between myself and my two dogs during and mostly after the hike. None actually succeeded in biting into me, but over a dozen were plucked with tweezers from my dogs over the next two days. Luckily, most were found crawling around on my yellow lab during the drive home, so they could easily be thrown out the car window.

Still a worthy adventure!
Posted Feb 10, 2008 5:53 pm

emilieSanta Lucia Trail  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Jan 19, 2008


I did this hike with the Peak Climbing Section of the Sierra Club. Just under 7 hours including a leisurely lunch at the top. There were some surprising long icy sections and I took one big spill (thank goodness for good cushioning). :-) Overall a fun hike.
Posted Jan 20, 2008 7:38 pm

SFMountaineerA great, challenging hike!  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Nov 24, 2007


The 12.5 mile hike felt long, and it was pretty toasty on the way up. You have to climb up the treacherous lookout tower for the best view...a little disappointed there were no really clear views east due to the pine trees. The views south, west, and north were absolutely fantastic though and I'll be posting some of my photos when I get home!
Posted Nov 24, 2007 8:08 pm

Frankly45A Fine Day
Date Climbed: Nov 17, 2007


A nice 12 mile hike, I didn't research this very well. It had almost 4,000 feet of gain. I enjoyed the views from the abandoned lookout tower and the solitude of the summit.
Posted Nov 22, 2007 4:16 pm

panweilinHike in the rain  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Apr 14, 2007


Started from TH near Santa Lucia Memorial Park. It was raining, but wildflowers beautiful.
Posted Oct 25, 2007 3:26 pm

colinr1st Anniversary Hike  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Apr 21, 2007


Living just two hours away, I couldn't resist the nice, cool conditions between two late season storms and decided to climb the peak again exactly one year after my first hike up. This time both of my dogs got to enjoy the adventure, including 2 to 6 inches of fresh snow for over a mile of the hike up. There was much less water to cross this year with many seasonal creeks dry. Arrived in the parking lot a bit before noon and left by five. A great day again!
Posted May 22, 2007 10:20 pm

Peak BaguetteRoute: Santa Lucia Trail, Date: 05.05.07  Sucess!
Date Climbed: May 5, 2007

Peak Baguette

Perfect day with clear, stunning views... and more wildflowers than a feminine hygiene ad. Quite a bit overgrown - would advise long pants and long sleeves if you don't want to look like you went a few rounds in a boxing ring with a porcupine.
Posted May 6, 2007 2:09 am

mlarkin2002COHP  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Apr 30, 2005
Normal route from Indians TH. Good views from the summit, but needed to tramp around the summit area to make sure the COHP was attained (lots of boulders within a few feet of each other).
Posted Oct 13, 2006 10:40 am

rhyangJanuary 2001, November 2003  Sucess!


Nice hike in cooler conditions.
Posted Sep 18, 2006 2:22 pm

lakenyonSanta Lucia Trail  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Jan 11, 2004
Walked up.
Posted May 14, 2006 9:25 pm

colinrSanta Lucia Trail  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Apr 21, 2006


I started at 11 AM with my yellow lab on a mostly sunny Friday with temps in the low 60s at the trailhead. The rain and snow has been exceptionally late and heavy this year making it marshy in the lowlands during the early miles. Several seasonal stream crossings were flowing strong and were very refreshing. It was impossible to keep my feet completely dry in the marshy areas and at a couple of the wider stream crossings. Poison oak was plentiful and virtually unavoidable (luckily I don't react to it). I did not get any ticks on me, but I found 5 on my dog after the hike. Once the trail climbed into the chaparral, it beacame quite warm and narrow in many places. In shorts and short sleeves, it was hard to avoid scratches from the brush. At the higher elevations on the backside of the mountain, snow was still plentiful in the pine forest (1-2 ft. in many places and mostly hard), making the hike more exciting, but also making the trail harder to follow in a couple of places. The shade and snow were replenishing after the steep, hot climb (especially for my dog who rolled and lay in the snow to cool off). Views on the way up and at the top were outstanding. Clouds in the distance over the Pacific made me feel on top of the world without blocking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. I reached the top after less than 2.5 hours of fast hiking with a few 10 min. breaks to cool off my dog with water and snow. I explored the entire summit area to take in views from all directions and to let my dog play in the snow patches. After almost 1.5 hours near the summit area, the trip down took another 1.5 hours with a few stops to cool off in the streams. I will be very lucky if I can return someday to such an ideal combination of warm sun with cool shade, breezes, streams, and snow.
Posted Apr 22, 2006 6:40 am

Matt WorsterFrom Santa Lucia  Sucess!

Matt Worster

Part of an attempted double with San Benito, but a late start foiled the latter.
Posted Mar 29, 2006 3:26 pm

simplifySanta Lucia Trail  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Feb 20, 2006


Started on from Memorial Park at 10:30am, reached summit at 2pm via Santa Lucia Trail which was covered in snow for the last 1 mile or so. It took me a total of 6 hours 20 minutes for the 11 mile round trip. The summit is forested and does not offer much views unless you climb the extremely unsafe look out tower. Overall a good demanding hike.
Posted Feb 22, 2006 4:17 am

CPSLOKornyRoute Climbed: Santa Lucia Trail Date Climbed: February 2004  Sucess!


Hiked with 2 friends. Beautiful, had some snow on the summit.
Posted Feb 20, 2006 10:00 am

packitmattRoute Climbed: Santa Lucia Triail Date Climbed: January 14, 2006  Sucess!
I awoke on Saturday and it was raining,,,, I got up around 6 ish... and then drove to the trailhead, which was about 18 miles north of the Hacienda lodge and the Mission... Not a soul in sight.. The road was quite easy to travel on ,but I had to make two stream crossings. Going there was not a problem, since the water had not risen (returning was a different story)... As I started the hike, I placed all my gear in my red backpack including gloves, hat and a gore tex jacket. I had several maps, and had read a few summaries listed on several web sites.... The hike is listed as 6.2 miles and 6 miles in other books, however, several signs and indications suggest that it could actually extend up to 7 miles one way to the top of Junipero Serra (by the way Salinans Indigenous Peoples refer to the mountain as Pimkolam and a sign positioned about 1/2 mile from the trailhead states Mount Pimkolam 6miles ahead...)...

As I departed from the grasslands and oak woodlands, located in the canyon area, I could see the beautiful rock formations of Monterey granite and some remnants of sedimentary sand stone (sea bed) formations. I passed an old tractor after one and half miles, and then the trail started to steeply rise. The vegetation began to change and gone were the oak woodlands and non native grasses, and suddenly due to the southerly facing slope, the chaparral made of chamise and coyote bush hugged the and tugged my entire view.... The display of shrub and bush took me by surprise, but I quickly realized that I was now in the southern extent of the Ventana Wilderness.

After a steep climb from about 2500-4500 feet I reached a saddle and a junction of another trail... With either trail not clearly marked, and after a quick review of the map and topography, I headed in a southeasterly direction and up.... The chaparral still covered the slope, but manzanita, yerba santa and some coulter pine began to sprout and spread and fill my eyes with new found diversity. At the same time the weather showed signs of the altitude and hail began to drop faster and faster.... I was wet and now a little cold, but my poly pro and gore tex and my continuous movement was keeping me out of the hypothermia category.....

As the scenery changed, the altitude once again showed its effects on the climate…snow dropped from the sky above, and a soft white beautiful powder could be seen everywhere, which began to blanket my entire view and the surroundings.. The trees also changed from a mixed vegetative biota to a largely coniferous forest of Santa Lucia fir and pine. With its industrial long but soft cones the Santa Lucia fir forested the surroundings and would remain a fixture until I reached the top....

The snow, although gorgeous, quite tasty, and gentle to the throat, presented itself some degree of challenges.. The trail now was lost and the my wet clothing now was an enhanced by cold weather. I had to ensure that I would keep warm only by continuous movement... As I reached the top of the mountain.... the smell of fir and its pleasant smells derived from the snowy conditions, created a sense of complete spiritual splendor... The only thing that distracted from this meditative endeavor , was a 30 foot metal and wood structure that stood erect and in somewhat disrepair... As I attempted to climb the lookout tower the ice hardened and became a challenge for my footing. I realized that my fatigue and sense of clear thinking could limit my “mind to foot judgment” and such a beautiful moment of goal seeking adventure could disappear and succumb to such an event as a slip onto a humanous structure. I told myself to forget the extra goal-seeking endeavor and decided that, oh shucks... I would attempt it some other time ......

Now after placing snow into my water bottle and mind you my judgment proved that it was a little fatigued and weak , because I noticed and observed bits and pieces of fine loamy material swimming around in my water bottle... Yes it was time to start running as fast as I could down and down and down... As I ran energetically, I catapulted my body over the snow and branches and began to pick up speed, and then ..........I noticed the sensation of pain on my feet and hands.... Ah...... the pain grew and grew and then with a climax of nerve ending surges,,, my feet and hands were trying to warm themselves to normalcy... Uggh. it took two miles past some turns and some several 1000 feet drop in altitude for the “regaining warming procedure” to take place...

Finally after returning to more comfortable ambient conditions, I realized the soothing sensation circulating around my body, I was completely warm and my thoughts of clarity were now returning.....

And then… I was becoming too warm and although the rain still dropped and dripped and fell from above, I was forced to change my clothing from cold weather gear to…… …………………let's see how far we can remove clothing and still be somewhat decent...Anyway, for the bears and deer that were among the present, I remained decent thank you....

After another mile or two, I had reached the trailhead and finished the adventure at around 12pm.... Suddenly I realized “yes” the creek crossings may present a slight degree of improbability as to whether our trusty van would navigate, float, or turn itself into a hovercraft... I could tell you two stories, but the truth of the matter is that the water did rise considerably but our trusty mobile gleaned through the water and made it safely to the other side... without a scratch mind you... and to point out how daring this escapade was ,... I revisited the second creek crossing about an hour later and the road had closed...

All in all it took just over 2 and half hours to hike to the top and over 1 and half to come down...and I would defintely do it again, but in the summer???? hmmmm. Don't look too pleasant if you read everyone's summit logs... Oh the Rangers in King City were very nice to talk to ....

Posted Jan 23, 2006 2:53 pm

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