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14. Montara Mountain via McNee Ranch (08/24/96)

Hikers (4): Peter, Russ, Steve, Taylor
Distance: 8 miles
Rating: 4 difficulty, 9 beauty
Park info: McNee Ranch State Park in Montara

Write-up by Peter

Estaban's last hike of the summer -- we wanted to make it a good one, but there were no more close 4's or 5's left in the book, so it was back to Half Moon Bay.

Since we arrived there pretty early, we decided to skip lunch until after the hike.

The trail started on the side of Hwy 1 just south of Pacifica. It was a quick climb over some bluffs, and we found ourselves staring down at the waves from the mighty Pacific crashing on the rocks below. Very majestic! The bad thing was that the trail just kept going along the coast for as far as the eye could see ... not what we had in mind.

We did a U-turn and headed back down, then I saw a small trail going off to the side. It showed promise, so we continued along it and after a while found ourselves heading uphill.

After about half an hour, we found ourselves on the same fire road we had hiked on our last trip to Montara Mountain (see Hike #5). We took the same road up to the top, and went past the turnoff that took us to San Pedro Park the last time. We pressed on for about another mile and reached the radio transmitter up at the peak.

Nice view from the top ... the Pacific stretched out to infinity on one side and the hills below us looked calm and peaceful on the other. If you stared hard enough, you could also make out some buildings in San Francisco through the haze. After a short rest, it was a quick trip back down the hill and to Pacifica for lunch.

We stopped for lunch in a sandwich shop in Pacifica. By no small coincidence, it was right next to the Ross store where Taylor wanted to shop. The credit cards came out and the pace was fast and furious!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch ... the roast beef hit the spot, and with a Dr. Pepper to wash it down, I was in hog heaven. The entertainment was provided by one of Esteban's geeky summer intern buddies who, by coincidence, was sitting at the next table. Suffice it to say the guy was wearing a Starship Enterprise crew uniform, and his pasty white skin put mine to shame. At least Esteban ended his summer of hiking on a high note!

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