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Hiking Stats as of 11/14/2018
Total Trips:
Total Distance:
Total Elevation Gain:
 325
 3,891.68 miles
 1,060,050 feet

Dec 3, 2014 - Eagle Peak / Ollason Peak

 

Partners: (None)

Distance: 8.81 miles

Elevation Gain: 1,998 feet

Trip Time: 2:34

Maps and Stats:
My Monterey work conference was set to begin Wednesday morning, and after hiking up Fremont Peak on the drive down to Monterey day two of Monterey peakbagging adventures called for me to get off to an early start in order to get back to the Conference site by the 9 AM start time. I planned on heading to Toro County Park, a large park near Salinas which was about a 15 minute drive from my hotel. The park had 2 CC peaks in it which were the objective of the day, Eagle Peak and Ollason Peak which I planned on doing in a loop hike. These would be CC peaks number 49 and 50 for me.

When I left the hotel at 5:30 I was happy to see that the rain had let up, and although the trails would be soaked at least I would be dry, at least at the start. I arrived at the County Park entrance at 5:45, and was not surprised to see that the gate was locked. I parked across the road in a large dirt area where the large puddles had me a bit nervous. If a lot of rain hit while I was on the hike I might have a bit of an adventure getting out from here. To get around the gate I had to hop a little 3 foot fence, then walk around the gate and hop back over the fence to get back on the road. It was completely dark, with the clouds obscuring any hint of the moonlight which had served me well on Fremont Peak the night before. Using my headlamp I found a trail, although which trail wasn't really a concern as it appeared that many trails can be found near the start but they all sort of converge either near Ollason or Eagle Peaks. As I climbed the ridgeline the City lights views back toward Salinas were quite nice, although as I got higher the weather began to turn. I started raining as the skies lightened up. This wasn't a problem as I had brought my rain gear, and I strangely enjoyed the chance to have a bit of a different hiking experience.

I followed the trail towards Eagle Peak, but noticed that nothing actually went up to the peak itself. It was easy enough to go cross country up to the summit, where I arrived at 6:45. It appeared that the trail used to run along here, but for some reason it was redesigned below. Quite strange, considering there was still a summit marker on top as if the park designers expect people to still go up here, just with no trail. There was little reason to hang out on the summit, with the rain slowing my progress a bit and knowing I had to get back to my car in time to make it back to the hotel in time for the conference. I continued on, scaling up the unofficially named (and higher) Toro Peak where I found a brushy summit with decent views back down towards Salinas. No reason to hang out here either, so I got back on the trail and saw that I would have to descend several hundred feet to a saddle between Toro Peak and Ollason. The trail down was in terrible condition, seemingly suffering from erosion from the flows of water that come down this side of the hill. The rain made things a bit trickier, and I moved along to the side of the trail where I could get a bit of traction from the grass on the side. Once the trail bottomed out and started climbing up towards Ollason I was struck by the sight of what seemed to be moss hanging down off the branches of the surrounding trees. It imagine it would make for a scary scene if hiking by moonlight.

Once the trail emerged from the trees I could see the grassy Ollason Peak, dotted with cows. I followed the trail until I encountered a gang of cows who had not intention of letting me pass. I walked slowly toward them on the trail, and they weren't moving. I didn't want a confrontation, and I tried to work my way between the various clusters until I was past all of them and could see the easy final stretch to the top. I was on the summit by 7:15, making for a 1 1/2 trip up but I needed to make better time heading down in order to get back for the 9 AM start time of the conference. I took a few summit shots, although I thought the city lights views were better (except for the view out to the ocean). I continued along the trail, taking a different route back. Along this route I found more of those picturesque trees with the hanging moss. The rains were intermittent, and I jogged as much of the route down as I safely could, needed to avoid slipping on the wet surface. As I got closer to the start I saw a few other people in the park, which let me know that the park was now open (it opened at 8:00). I had kind of hoped to get out of the park before it opened so I could avoid any potential encounters with the rangers at the toll booth who might wonder where I came from. I made it back to the entrance by 8:15, and to my relief the gates were open but there were no rangers at the booth, so I was able to just walk out. The rains had returned in force as I approached my car, and the dirt lot was indeed filling with water. I didn't have any trouble getting out, however, as there was still enough dry ground to navigate around the water pools. I was back to the hotel a bit after 8:30, just barely enough time to shower and run to the conference center (at least the conference was on the hotel site). I probably looked like the lazy guy who overslept and had to hustle to get in on time which made me laugh after having already completed almost 9 miles and 2,000 feet of elevation gain in the dark and then in the rain on the day.

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