6/15/2016: Hiking Cone Peak

After seeing Cone Peak from every angle but the air, I finally made it to the summit.

At 5155′ Cone Peak is not that tall a summit but, since it’s less than 3 miles from the coast, the rise from sea level is incredible.  I hiked Vincente Trail from the coast once. After 8 miles, I reached Coast Ridge Road and knew I wasn’t going to make the 24 miles round trip so I turned around and spent some very sore days glad that I only hiked 16 miles.  Coast Ridge Road has been closed for years and the idea of hiking 12 miles of fire road just to get access the trailhead wasn’t appealing.  When I got a mountain bike, I thought I could ride to the trailhead, hike, and ride back.  Now, it was just a matter of finding the time.

With 2′ to go to finish the living room floor, I ran out of lumber.  The perfect excuse.  My order was placed and I had a free day (playing hooky from all the other work I could be doing).

With a light pack, mountain bike, and running shoes, I drove out to Coast Ridge Rd.  Low and behold, the gate was open.  After all these years of thinking about it, I wasn’t going to give up the ride/hike/ride idea.  Despite 6 miles uphill, it was an easy ride to the trailhead.  The trail was a little overgrown in places but no problem to negotiate.  I didn’t realize that there was an old fire lookout on top.  As with any lookout, there were spectacular 360 degree views; south to Prewitt Ridge (4/16/2016: Camping in Big Sur), west to the Pacific Ocean, north to Big Sur (11/21/2015: Camping Big Sur), and east to Junipera Serra Peak (10/19/2015: Hiking “The Indians”).  The view was worth every bit of effort.  On the way back I felt like I was cheating because I don’t ever remember pedaling once but that was the second reward (after the view).

Of course, when I posted the photo’s on Facebook, the pilot I used to work with asked if I had ever flown in there with them to restock the lookout.  I missed that opportunity to see it from the air but, that’s okay, I had a great day.

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Cone Peak from the trail
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Being watched
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Lupines in bloom
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Junipero Serra Peak and “The Indians”
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Our Lord’s Candle (Hesperoyucca whipplei) overlooking Plaskett/Pacific Valley
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East over the rugged Coast Range
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Cone Peak Lookout
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Wildflowers along the trail
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Sticky Snapdragon (Antirrhinum multiform)
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Panorama of the coast
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Scarlet Bugler (Penstemon centranthifolius) in full bloom

4 thoughts on “6/15/2016: Hiking Cone Peak”

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