Hiking Stats as of 11/19/2019
Total Trips:
Total Distance:
Total Elevation Gain:
 3,891.68 miles
 1,060,050 feet

Feb 17, 2015 - El Chamisal


Partners: (None)

Distance: 1.80 miles

Elevation Gain: 289 feet

Trip Time: 0:54

Maps and Stats:
I was headed to Monterey for a 3 day conference, running Wednesday through Friday, which would give me a chance to do some peak bagging in an area that is normally nearly a 3 hour drive away from my house. With the conference starting Wednesday morning I was staying in Monterey overnight on Tuesday. My original plan was to hike up to a newly recognized CC peak in the vicinity of Mission Peak. This situation is a bit odd, as I had been to the previously recognized CC peaks in the area (Mission, Allison and Monument) many times, and had even hiked up an unnamed summit just north of Monument because it was actually higher than the named summit of Monument Peak. Well come to find out a lower bump west of Monument Peak is actually a CC peak, and I had never hiked it before. I was not excited about having to head back up to this area, having been there many times before, so doing a quick drive by hike on the way down to Monterey seemed to be a good way to minimize the pain of giving up something more worthwhile on a day when I wasn't already in the area.

Complicating matters was the recent restrictions put on Mission Peak, and the new enforcement of park hours. I didn't leave my house until nearly 6 PM, after park hours. I wasn't sure if this would impact nearby Ed Levin Park, which I had never been to but would actually be a lot shorter trip to Monument Peak. I drove into the Park around 7 PM, and was stopped by a gate barring further driving. I didn't really care about this though, as it would only add maybe another half mile to the trip up. I found a good area to park in some sort of recycling center, and I got out of my car, grabbed a liter of Powerade Zero for the journey, and then realized I had neglected to bring my headlamp. This made the hike a non-started, with no sign of a moon overhead and nothing but pitch blackness around. This had the potential to have bigger implications for my hiking plans for the week, as my primary purpose for the week was attending the conference and as such I was limited to early morning or evening hikes. I drove back down to Milpitas, and found a Safeway where I purchased the last flashlight they had on the shelf. It was a cheap device, prone to flickering and not all that bright, but it would have to do.

At this point it was too late to go back up to try for the CC Peak so I decided to drive down to Monterey and hike up the easy trail to El Chamisal, the highpoint of the Fort Ord National Monument. Following Andrew Kirmse's directions in his Peakbagger trip report, I drove to the Mazda Speedway, bypassing the self-issue permit station given that I would be in and out in such short order. There were a few vehicles and campers around as I parked and set out at 10:45 PM. This isn't really a hike as much as it is a visit to a National Monument Highpoint, for whatever that is worth. The trail follows the length of one side of the racetrack before heading up to a flattish plateau covered in grass. It took about 20 minutes from the car to this point where I went off to the left in search of the highpoint. It was easy to find, just up a few rocks and in amongst the trees. I followed the ground above the rocks for a ways to ensure I had hit the highpoint, and it seemed to me that the high point was this first ascent nearest to the trail. I was back to the car less than an hour after setting out. Unless you are looking for a nice place from which to watch a race or are really into peakbagging I certainly would not recommend paying the entrance fee if your only purpose in doing so is this hike.

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