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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Castle Rock to Big Basin HQ


Castle Rock to Big Basin

Mike Samuel and Tammy Lin joined Lisa & I at Phil Sung's house on Saturday morning for a hike from Castle Rock to Big Basin. This is the first two days of the Skyline to the Sea walk --- this being Tammy's first backpacking trip and Lisa being unmotivated by winter weather to do more than a 2 day backpack, we opted for just the two days.

The morning was cold, but once we got out of the woods along the ridge on Skyline it was glorious and warm. The views were so nice we could see all the way to Monterey Bay, and the walk was mostly well-signed. In fact, we only got lost once, near Waterman Gap trail where overgrown bushes had covered over a trail sign. Waterman Gap trail camp is about 1/4 mile or so from the intersection between highway 9 and 236, but all night we did not hear any traffic or road noise at all. The morning was a bit cold, but some oat meal and hot tea got us going. Still, it took us until 10:30am to leave camp.

The hike along 236 was nice --- I had seen all the scenery before from a bicycle, but the trail gave us frequent deep views into the Redwoods that I'd never seen before, and right after the trail crossed over China Grade road we saw across Big Basin into parts of Skyline that I never did quite see from the road, along sandstone and with some lovely gorges. The drop down into Big Basin was immediately followed by some navigation error, but after noticing that the North Escape road essentially paralleled the Skyline to the Sea trail, I opted to stay on the road for easier walking.

Phil with his usual impeccable sense of timing showed up at the Park HQ just as I was getting out of my boots into my Vibram Five Fingers. All in all, it was an excellent walk with about 831m of climbing and nearly 20 miles of walking. We got to test out a lot of the new gear we bought for the Australia trip, and that was a good thing.

Recommended. I kept thinking along this hike --- how come I've lived in the Bay Area and haven't done this hike before?
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