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84. Montara Mountain via McNee Ranch (09/05/98)

Hikers (10): Changhong, Eugene, Jamie, Jinglan, Mary, Peter, Pistol Pete, Russ, Steve, Taylor
Distance: 8 miles
Rating: 4 difficulty, 9 beauty
Park info: McNee Ranch State Park in Montara

Write-up by Peter

It was a beautiful day, just perfect for hiking near the ocean.

We had been of to the top of Montara Mountain a few times starting from the other side of the park, but only once before starting from the Pacific side. It was hard to believe that that was 70 hikes ago!

1, 2, 3, ... INCH!

We started out by taking the same trail as last time, but somehow ended up on a paved road. Oh, well -- it's not the first time we've been lost and certainly won't be the last! I could see that the road seemed to be heading in the right general direction (towards the antennas at the peak), so we stayed on it.

The gamble payed off. After about a mile, the trail merged into the fire road that leads to the top. From here it was a straightforward 2-mile climb to the peak.

As we huffed and puffed out way up the grade, we started to spread out. Esteban and Rusty took the lead. I walked most of the way up with Pistol Pete, carrying on a conversation about the European economy. At least he wasn't talking about Chicago for a change!

I looked back to see Changhong walking with Eugene. Poor Dr. Death! Last week, we get him lost on the hike, and this week we inflict Eugene upon him! INCH hikes are truly a test of character and a good measure of each individual's threshold of pain.

Taylor, Mary, and Jamie were in the fourth group, and Jinglan brought up the rear, trailing pretty far behind.

At the peak, we admired the beautiful view of the vast ocean stretching beneath our feet while we ate lunch. There was a good view of San Francisco to the north as well. The view was well worth the climb.

After about half an hour, Jinglan had still not showed up, so we figured she had turned back and we began to head back down. About three-quarters of the mile down the road, we saw her still climbing up. We asked her if she wanted to go back down with us, but she said she'd prefer to go to the top. That's the true INCH spirit!

Rusty and Esteban stayed back and walked with Jinglan to the top while the rest of us headed back down. The ladies took the same path that we had taken up, but the gentlemen decided to be a little more daring and try a new trail. It did pay off as we made it to the bottom quite quickly and had plenty of time to eat the rest of our lunch before the girls showed up.

A nice ending to a nice hike!

Milestones:
Mary's 10th leaf
Peter's 80th leaf
Russ's 70th leaf



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