Into the Mountains

By Keith Senkowski
On February 8, 2016

I could not help feeling that they were evil things — mountains of madness whose farther slopes looked out over some accursed ultimate abyss.

Ok so maybe not. As much as I would love to spin a tale of Lovecraftian adventure, the beauty of the coast and mountains of California work against that. Instead I can only present a photo diary of the day.

The hike began with Dan and Peter unsure if where we parked was the right place.

This is a long page with a lot of images, so just keep scrolling. I think carousels and sliders are responsible for some of the worst UX on the internet. They are the result of awful internal compromises at organizations and should go away. Forever.

Before heading into the mountains we decided to check out the beach at Gray Whale Cover State Beach, just across Highway 1.

I have a fascination with signage. Always have. I love the typography and even how people tag them.

Do not go swimming here. We could hear the waves thunder even when we got up in the mountain.

Just in case you were wondering, don’t stay on the beach when the tsunami is on it’s way.

Looking south along the coast above the beach. It just hints at how hard those waves crashed at times while we were there.

I loved how the sunshine was filtering through here above the beach. Makes Andrew and Joyce look like zombies.

Speaking of zombies, this creepy little spot was just off the stairs down to the beach. Very post apocalyptic feel to the little secluded spot.

I think I hate climbing stairs at spots like this more than climbing. It always seems harder.

The graffiti is pretty solid here. Folks really took their time.

I hate stairs with the fiery passion of a thousand suns.

It’s not a huge beach, but it is wonderfully secluded.

For a bit here I thought I was safe from the waves as I took these pictures.

Alas it was not meant to be. There is no way to outrun the ocean.

All this beauty and these three clowns are playing with themselves their devices.

Enough of the beach. Let’s move onto the hike. Here is our trail minus a small bit at the bottom. The top right is the trail that would have taken us to the top of the big mountain in this park, but Andrew vetoed it with a hearty, “Fuck that” when we got there.

Joyce and Peter leading us out at the trail head, or at least after the initial climb. All told we did 111 stories of climbing that day.

Highway 1 is dangerous. Not because of it’s route through the mountains here, but because the scenery is beautiful and easy to get lost in.

I was shocked at how loud the waves crashed here. The walls of the cove amplify it to the point it sounds like monstrous drums.

More waves… What? I can’t come up with something to say for all of these pictures can I? Soak it in you cynics.

The first thought that came to my mind as I took this picture of Andrew and Dan, was “here comes Oscar and Felix.” I will not apologize for that thought.

We had the perfect day for a hike. Warm but not hot with sun the entire time.

I know you are never supposed to split the party, but Joyce, Jordan and Peter (the three specs up there) went their own way up the mountain. Dan, Andrew and I found a different path we thought would be easier. We were very wrong.

I am committed to going back and climbing those peaks too.

We found this at the top of the one peak where we stopped to have a snack. It is an orientation marker set up the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey.

After Andrew’s veto of going further up into the mountains, we started down into these woods. This leg eventually took us back to the trail head and moved on to check out Devil’s Slide Trail.

Devil’s Slide Trail used to be part of Highway 1, but had so many landslides that closed the roads, they blasted a tunnel into the mountain and converted the road into a bike/hiking path.

This seems like a bad idea since now the rocks will fall on hikers and bikers and not cars. Hence this sign. Questionable decision California. One of many I am sure.

We enter the maw of the trail. Not very scary, but maw is a fun word to say.

Egg Island is one of those repopulation success stories. It goes a little like this. Once there were birds. Then there were none. Then humans did some crazy stuff like put up mirrors and plant decoys to attract the birds. Now the colony is saved. The sign I didn’t take a picture of says it way better than I do.

Of course I take a picture of this sign instead… Some days I am not so bright.

However, this is the cliff it warned me about. I stayed back. I like to jump off of high things.

This bunker, mostly crewed by women, served as coastal protection during World War II. Now it is a sealed landmark whose base is slowly eroding away. One day it is going to slide down into the ocean. This marked the end of the hike, but not the day.

Lunch + Dinner = Linner. This is where our day ended, at El Toro Loco where we ate Mexican/Peruvian food and drank sangria. All in all a good day.