Friday, July 31, 2009

the blog of Jan. 15, 2006

the craggy peaks of SLO

The craggy peaks of San Luis Obispo are a series of volcanic plugs, or some such geological marvel. What I didn't know until quite recently is how available some of them are for hiking. A fabulous resource in this regard is www.slotrails.com

Today I took an insanely rigorous hike around Cerro San Luis Obispo. That is the mountain with the big "M" on it. You get great views of the city, the ocean, Laguna Lake, the Madonna Inn, and Bishop Peak.

A week ago I hiked to the top of Bishop Peak. I would say that of the two, this is the better trail, although in many respects they are similar. The north side of each mountain is wooded and rocky, while the south sides not surprisingly consist of dry chaparral. The Bishop Peak trail starts on the north side, wraps around the east side, and then becomes a wonderfully punishing series of switchbacks on the south side that lead to the peak. This is great winter hiking as most of it is on the warm, sunny side with little wind and great views. It's also evidently very popular as the place was crawling with rock climbers, dog walkers, and generally very healthy looking people.

Cerro SLO was more rugged and seemed more geared toward mountain bikers. At the top is some kind of stage, where I think they have some kind of annual Easter event on the Mount Rubidoux model. There were some other weird parallels with Riverside: both mountain parks are adjacent to recreational lakes, both are in college towns. Both cities have an impressive downtown and a slightly removed section of town near the college. But perhaps I'm reading too much into this. Riverside doesn't have a mission.

The air is better up here. My legs are killing me. Time to get some rest.


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