Friday, June 25, 2010

Pescadero Creek County Park

We went on our second backpacking trip last weekend. As usual, we fell behind schedule because we did not foresee food prep/packing to take so long, but nevertheless: we made it to the park in time to hike in before sunset.

This time we decided to hit up Pescadero Creek County Park.
The original plan was to hike the Sam McDonald County Park to Shaw Flat Trail Camp loop (roundtrip 10.5 miles; elevation 1500/1500) but when we registered at the Memorial Park entrance we found out the Shaw Flat trail camp was closed/full. Just before we dropped our heads in despair, the ranger told us that the Tarwater creek trail camp was open, a trail camp that was not in the guidebook, so that was a nice surprise. The hike was also not in the book so we had to go by the free map the ranger gave us, which was actually very good 'cause it was to scale & well marked. Anyhow, so we ended up parking at the Hoffman Flat trailhead and hiking about 5 miles along Pomponio trail to Tarwater trail camp. We started our hike at 4:45pm. While the hike was not terribly strenuous, it was dotted with horse poop, which was not the most thrilling thing to come across on a hike.
Our campsite was much more private than last time, but lacked good seating like the last. They just had some split logs propped on short stubby logs so it was pretty unstable to sit on. No place to put food, really. They did have a fire pit/grill, though I'm not sure if they allow fires at this time in the season... there was a sign about fires & grills but I couldn't be bothered to read the whole 2 lines.
We managed to get to camp before sunset, which is always a good thing. As usual, set-up was super simple & fast. I.S. cooked up some mac & cheese for dinner, which had some crunchy bits from not being thoroughly "cooked", but it was actually really yummy with the crunchy bits. 
The equipment that was different this time around were a) I.S.' sleeping pad. His thermarest prolite plus came in, which he was ecstatic about; b) our Crux stove, which fit so perfectly in our cookset, just as advertised! AND it's got an adjustable flame, which is hard to come by with such small, foldable stoves, based on our (I.S.') search for stoves; c) pillows! We ended up getting Lufama pillows at Sports Basement for $8 each; and d) my backpack.

From Pescadero Creek County Park

For our hike back the next day, we decided to take the Butano Ridge Trail loop, which was roughly 8 miles from the camp to the car. We climbed 1600' in the first two miles but then hiked along a ridge for the bulk of our hike before descending 1400' to the car. We would've gone out to the vista point that shoots off to the east after reaching the ridge, but at that point an extra 1.6 miles roundtrip was just a touch too much for my body to process. We plan to check it out next time, maybe via Portola Redwoods park.

From Pescadero Creek County Park

All in all, a tiring day, but we managed to do the hike in 5 hrs (8am-1pm). I.S. was a beast: he was talking about going to the gym to climb or going for a bike ride after we got home. I told him he was crazy. His lazy side agreed with me in the end. My legs & feet were happy to be relaxing at home on the couch.