Mountain climbing today - or rather a big hill. But the height of what you climb depends upon where you start. Today, we climbed what would then look like a very small hill but we began at 0’ and climbed to 1538’. I’m thinkin’ that’s pretty good for two old duffers.
When we awoke it was pea soup foggy out there. We ate breakfast but the fog did not break. We filled out packs with water, we got all our stuff ready and it was still foggy. Now the choice: hike a hill with 360 degree views on all sides and see nothing or not hike. Hmm. Well, ok, we can consider this just a hike without views. And we took off for the trailhead.
Our first stop was at the cinnamon shop for - coffee. But then we began to drool over the cinnamon rolls and rationalized that we had only had 1/2 yesterday, we could have 1/2 today. And we sat to eat and watch the people wandering the street wondering where their sunny day at the beach was.
Our drive started out inland where there were beautiful steep green hills but then we headed back towards the ocean and the fog socked in again. We arrived at the State Park where the hike was and we traveled through a ghostly forest of eucalyptus trees in the fog. Then we arrived at the Visitor Center near the ocean. We knew it was near the ocean since we could hear the waves crashing ashore and the fog horns off in the distance. Those were our clues. Here was our view.
The trail was neat - although we couldn’t see where it was leading. It was through very dense vegetation, about 4’ high. No bushwacking today and we were glad we had the legs on our pants. Though the trail was well-used, it had sections which were overgrown and would have scratched out legs. We kept climbing up, not ever being able to see the goal. We found a ridge line and kept hiking inexorably up. Every now and then we could see something which looked like a peak ahead of us but it was never the top of Valencia. It was a blind climb.
Finally, the fog broke a bit and we could see further ahead.
And, maybe the fog was a good friend in not letting us see the goal. Oh, my, it was a long ways up ahead of us. And we kept walking. As we neared the top, the fog began to break, the sun warmed us up and we could see much further. We were above the fog and we could see mountain tops poking out of the clouds. What a spectacular view. We could see the wildflower field below,
the coast line to the west,
the green hills to the east and we could hear someone on the hill singing the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah. She must have been happy to reach the top.
What a neat hike: great trail, smashing views at the top and the Hallelujah Chorus as the background. What more could I ask for? We hiked down via a different trail. We hiked up via a craggy trail but the trail down was a dirt trail. Nice variety here in this park. When we got down, we ate our sandwiches and protein bars in the car since the fog had rolled back in and the air was a moist cold. Then we walked the Bluff Trail, which winds along the bluffs for about 2 miles. At times we could wind down to the beach and sit on the craggy rocks. The surf was getting higher and the waves were crashing in on the rocks. We then turned around and headed back to the the car. But with views like this, it was a beautiful descent.
This park has a lot to offer:
thick woodlands to hike through,
mountains to climb,
sandy beach to stroll
and waves crashing onto rocky cliffs. And, then we looked back to see Mt. Valencia where we had hiked and also saw the gold flowers which gave the park its name: Montana de Oro - mountains of gold
Since it was about 5:30, we decided to stop at San Luis Obispo which has the ‘best farmers market in…’ - well they think it’s pretty good. Several music groups, 3 political parties, several palm readers, some bakeries and candy makers but lots of bar-b-cue and produce vendors. Tri-tip bar-b-cue is very popular here. But, when we walked in, there was a long line already formed and the market hadn’t even opened yet. We got to the end of the line (didn't want to miss out) and asked the couple in front of us what the line was for and why it was already so long. This was their first time here and they just got in line because everyone else was in line. With a line this long, they figured that it had to be good
We wandered down through the 4-block area and checked out everything that was for sale and picked a few places that we would get back to. Suddenly a whistle was blown and the market was off and running. Those people who had already picked what they wanted, paid, the vendor packaged it and passed it over. The game was on.
We watched the juggler for a while. Here he is juggling a bowling ball, a sharp machete and a flaming torch while standing on a 'folding chair'.
And then we made our mistake. Gary likes chili dogs and only gets them at a fair or a farmers’ market or whatever. And, at one end of the market tonight was a booth with chili dogs. Wow. Just for him. When we got it, we ate it but only because we had paid for it and did not waste food. The hot dog, even though the vendor had a grill was a plain boiled hot dog. The chili was soupy not thick, had lots of beans and had more of those little green things in it than we liked. And the bun - well, imagine soupy chili on it for 2 minutes and it had the consistency of flour and water. To say we were disappointed is putting it mildly. However, now we know why McClintocks had a 1/2 block long line and Lucia’s Famous Grill had - NO ONE
We walked back through the market and I bought some strawberries (huge, bursting with flavor),
broccoli and cauliflower, a bag of oranges and a 5-pack of pitas which I’ll use for pizzas. When we got to the other end and saw the line for McClintocks, I decided that I’d rather have cold cereal at home. I was that tired.
We found the bathrooms - interesting bathrooms. It was an actual flush bathroom with a sink and soap for washing your hands. Perfect for a farmers market. Then we headed home. We left home at 9:00 am, it was now 8:00 pm and we had been going all day.
OH, yes, we’re tired tonight. We’re trying to squeeze 2 week’s worth of activities into 1.