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62. Montara Mountain via San Pedro (04/18/98)

Hikers (6): Giri, Heather, Kenny, Louisa, Steve, Wei-Kai
Distance: 7 miles
Rating: 3 difficulty, 9 beauty
Park info: San Pedro County Park in Pacifica

Write-up by Steve

Pacifica-area hikes are among the most aesthetically rewarding hikes in the Bay area, and this was the best so far. It all began rather inauspiciously, with us leaving Intel half an hour late in three cars for six people. There was a minor protest from Giri and me, as the car rides are more fun with more people, but the two couples won out citing that they wanted to take advantage of the Pacifica proximity for post-hike activities.

An hour and a half later we happily met up again at the Safeway off of Linda Mar. Why happily? Because the directions, while accurate, were somewhat lacking in detail, leaving everyone feeling like maybe they'd missed a turn somewhere. After what must have been the most inefficient food-foraging pit stop thus far, we made it to San Pedro around 11:30am. From then on, though, it was all good.

For the first time in the last couple months, the weather was perfect. Never too hot, never too cold, with no rain nor mud to be found. This wasn't the only first: this was the first hike for three out of six people (Heather, Kenny, and Louisa) and was also the first hike held by only one 'founder' (after a recent revision in the official INCH bylaws)!

1, 2, 3, ... INCH!

The wild flowers were abloom everywhere, and the Brooks Creek Fall put on quite a show for us, cascading down a long path about a mile off the trial. We took the Brooks Creek Trail to the Montara Mountain Trail, then followed it to Montara Mountain Road. From there it was onward to the top of North Peak (which, like all high peaks, is easily identified by a crown of radio towers). For most of the trip up, Heather steamed ahead, stating that keeping a constant pace was the most efficient method for hiking long distances. This appeared to work until about a quarter mile from the peak, where she and Wei-Kai took a breather. Soon after the first group made it to the top, Wei-Kai and Heather made it and we all enjoyed the fantastic view. On one side was the Pacific Ocean for as far as the eye could see; on the other, the San Francisco Bay. As a big bonus, the temperature was still perfect, and it was not windy at all.

On the return trip we took the Montara Mountain trail all the way back to San Pedro Valley. Along the way we passed through a large Eucalyptus grove (no koalas to be seen) and lots of ferns (as well as the ubiquitous wild flowers). The variety of flora was impressive, which explains the large number of guided nature hikes in the park (as well as the occasional person looking closely at the ground, which I had previously attributed to low self-esteem).

In the end, Kenny, Louisa, Wei-Kai, and Heather all decided to drive over to the beach and the remaining two guys were left to contemplate their singledom on the ride back to San Jose. To answer the burning question of many I.N.C.H. veterans, I did not perform the official initiation for new hikers (only The Gimp has that special combination of albedo and surface area). However, I believe this beautiful hike will bring 'em back for more regardless.

Heather's 1st leaf
Kenny's 1st leaf
Louisa's 1st leaf

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