Thursday, September 16, 2010

Montara Mountain hike

I am playing with the thought of introducing my own rating system for the hikes that I do. One idea is to rate them by the number of times my husband complained during each of them :)

My love likes to entertain me during all our hikes by complaining (pro forma, of course) and by providing funny comments like "This is not a real waterfall, I can see the pipes that deliver water to it"; "The are no turtles in this park. It is a scam. And the only reason that any tourist has ever seen one is because park rangers released a turtle in front of their noses" and so on and so forth.

Imagine how surprised I was that my husband did not complain even once during our last hike to the top of Montara Mountain! I was expecting to hear many smart comments from him as the number of the times he complains is usually directly proportional to the hike's length and its elevation change. (The hike to the top of Montara Mountain was 7-mile long with ~1700ft elevation gain, which would put it in the top 20% of strenuous hikes we did together.)

I guess that means that this is an exceptional hike and you could even give it a try with a friend/family member that is not into hiking. 

Three main reasons why I liked this hike are:
  1. Extraordinary views in all directions (see pictures below)
  2. The diversity of the trail. First third of the trail leads through a beautiful eucalyptus forrest, during the second part of the hike the trail becomes very narrow and bushy, and during  the last part the trail goes up on a fire road and views there open up even more. Moreover, during winter and spring there is a waterfall to be seen.
  3. The start of the hike is in Pacifica, mere 20 minutes by car from my house! (The hike can also be started at Montara State Beach, but I think the one that we did - starting in San Pedro Valley County Park - is slightly prettier.)  

Even though it was sunny in San Francisco, Pacifica was covered by a dense fog (as seen from Hwy 1):

The beginning of the hike and a sign that resonated very well with my husband:

Views from the first part of the trail:

Looking to the north one can see the city of San Francisco:

And even Golden Gate Bridge:

The higher you get, the more you can see. Close to the mountain top, we could see the whole Peninsula, ocean to the left and the bay to the right: 

Fire road leading to the top:

More beautiful views:

Hiking above the clouds:

In the middle part the trail is narrower and bushy:

Eucalyptus forest: