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Creek Running North

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November 20, 2004

Castle Rock

Photo: Matthew Martin Melchizedek Carlstroem above Saratoga Gap. An utterly gorgeous day for a hike. We covered just over ten miles out and back from Skyline to the headwaters of the San Lorenzo. The trail skirted the edge of a very steep hill, at times truly precipitous with drops of a hundred or two feet before the first obstruction. Views included Monterey and Santa Cruz, The Gulf of the Farallones, and the trees above Sherwood Harrington's house.

It was cold at times: we exchanged concerned looks when we first got out of the truck at the trailhead. But motion warmed us, and by the time we got to Castle Rock Falls we were pretty toasty.

I'd only been to Castle Rock State Park twice before: once about a dozen years ago to write it up as an audition for writing trail guides for Wilderness Press, and again in 1996. I'd forgotten exactly how rough the trail is. Not particularly strenuous over the rough spots, but potentially ankle-cracking nonetheless.

Pleasures: the last five miles was consistently and rather steeply uphill, aside from a couple steep descents near Goat Rock. I felt as though I never needed to stop climbing, a markedly different experience from my hikes a couple months ago. And then there was the fungifauna, and a magnificent grove of madrones I'd forgotten lined the ridge crest. I'm not waiting another eight years before going again.

Of interest only to me: 10.4 miles, bringing me up to 125 miles trail hiking since September 6. About 2500 feet elevation gain.

Posted by Chris Clarke at November 20, 2004 09:20 PM TrackBack URL for this entry:

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Once again Chris, thanks for the memories brought by your post. Last time I was at Castle Rock was right before the "World Series" earthquake in 1989. It is indeed a wonderful place.

Posted by: OGeorge at November 20, 2004 09:51 PM
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Looks like you guys had a spectacular day for a stroll! For two other views from Castle Rock down into the San Lorenzo Valley, see: and

Posted by: Sherwood Harrington at November 20, 2004 10:21 PM
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I've linkified Sherwood's links for your linkificationistic convenience. - the editor

Posted by: Chris Clarke at November 22, 2004 08:22 AM
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Thanks for the links! I live in the San Lorenzo Valley, and although I have seen that view, I don't have any photos.

Posted by: Eliza at November 22, 2004 11:50 AM
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