CONE PEAK (5,155') 3X, FREMONT PEAK (3,171') 3X, MONTEREY, POINT LOBOS, AND MORE December 11-13, 2010

With a favorable weather forecast, I discerned low lodging rates at this Central Coast locale. I wished to use my new hardware, and enjoy an easy set of late fall hikes.

Motoring south on Interstate 5, Saturday morning, I took Highway 152 to Highway 156. Coming finally to Monterey, CA, I parked and looked about the Wharf. Using the coastal recreation trail, I soon saw some sights. I came to Cannery Row, where I had drink. Walking back along the well used, paved trail, I returned to the parking lot, and then motored west along the shoreline to Lovers Park. I continued to other points along the shoreline, and finally came to Asilomar State Park.

The fog rolled in, and I ceased with my photography. Returning to my motel, I checked in, and had a modest shrimp dinner. I was without any connection ops, so watched TV.

Sunday dawned beautifully clear. I motored south on Highway 1, and captured the sights. Coming to the side road past Lucia, CA, I took it up and motored on the dirt road to the Cone Peak trailhead. Beginning my peak hike at about 11 a.m., I took many photos of the trail and the views. I reached the top after an hour and a half, then started to shutter the view.

With enough pictures, I began hiking down at 1 p.m. There were a few more sights, then I was back to my car in an hour. Six other hikers were also climbing this peak.

Motoring back down the Nacimiento Road, I had more sights, and then was back to Highway 1. Stopping then at McWay Falls, I paid the $6 parking fee and took the short walk to the overlook. I began capturing the sights, and then waited for the sunset.

Back to Monterey, I looked for free Wi-Fi. Wandering about the downtown section, I found a spot and had some food. It was nice with the holiday lights and all. Not too busy.

Monday, I awoke early, and had some drink and food. Motoring to Carmel, CA, I walked the streets and captured some sights. I had another nice breakfast, then motored to the nearby Point Lobos State Reserve. Paying the entrance fee of $10, I parked at Whalers Cove and began my short photo hike.

It was overcast, so the blue waters normally seen along the North Shore trail were not to be, today. I captured more sights with diffuse light in the forest, and views to the sea and coast. I detoured to the cypress grove with more photos. Then, it was to a point out to the sea, with barking sea lions. Hiking back using the Whalers Knoll trail, I was back to the trailhead.

On my way home, I detoured to the top of Fremont Peak, in the state park. It is a nice 11 mile drive from Highway 156, and I soon was hiking the short trail to the top. More overcast greeted me with grayish vistas, but I was here and taking pictures. Fog lay over the valleys to the east, with slight haze toward the coast.

I shortly hiked down in 17 minutes, and coasted mostly on the drive down. I made another few rest stops along Interstate 5 before coming home.

Hiking roughly 10 miles with 1,500' gain, I captured some 1,800 images and movie clips. Spending then some $250 total, I drove about 630 miles, round trip. Buying $55 worth of gas, some 16.3 gallons, I had about a gallon and a half in my tank as I left home. Paying up to 3.499/gal., my fuel efficiency was then about 35 mpg.

This was a frustrating adventure when it came to finding useful connection ops. Without online information, I was had at times. I did this with short planning, and some of my usually fine ops failed me. Though some may wish to escape modern life, I do not, here. I was able to enjoy some fine seafood dining, although being on a diet and with no strenuous exercise. I will have to return to sample more eateries.