Monday, August 01, 2011

Peters Creek Hike at Portola State Park

Saturday I led a hike for GLS to Peter's Creek redwood grove at Portola State Park. The day started in typical bay area fashion with there being no parking at the park-n-ride lot. It was full at 9:00 a.m. I parked on the side of the road just outside the lot and after about 5 minutes someone left the lot and I ran like a bat outta hell to my car and managed to get that valuable parking place. By 9:15 the other hikers showed, just three of them. One had to leave their car along the side of the road. The other, my co-leader, volunteered to drive to Portola so we all tumbled into his car. It was four in all.

We wiggled our way up Page Mill road and down Alpine road and Portola road and got to the park at 10:00 a.m. We paid our state park fee and were off on our hike. The hike started on a paved road in the park that took us to the Summit trail. We hiked up the trail to, what else, the summit. Then we were off on Slate creek trail which runs along a wooded ridge to the Slate creek backpack camp. It was nice to have an outhouse for a bathroom break rather than finding that private spot behind a bush without poison oak! After a short break we hiked on Bear Creek trail three and a half miles when we stopped just short of Peter's Creek trail at a little water fall on Bear Creek with a great log for sitting and eating lunch.

After lunch we hiked the last little bit of Bear Creek trail to Peters Creek trail and then we did the lovely one and a half mile loop around the grove. It is an nearly pristine redwood grove since its so far from the beaten path. The only thing that makes it seem not quite pristine is the memorial signs for patrons who supported the park and of course the trail. There are no names for the trees like in other redwood groves that are more accessible. There are no fences to keep one from walking right up to the trees. Its a wonderful place to hike.

After our wonderful loop around the Peter's creek it was time to climb back up the big hill we descended to get there. I decided to hike up the hill at my fastest pace and planned to wait at the top for folks to catch up. But everyone followed me up the hill at the fast pace. I think we all wanted to get it over with quickly. I did stop once or twice on the way up to admire the views I missed on the way down.

We retraced our steps the rest of the hike. I plodded along for the rest of the hike trying to ignore my sore tired feet and enjoy the quiet of the redwood forest. We finished up our hike at 4 p.m. and were glad to sit in the car and take a load off our feet, me especially. My feet don't usually get this sore on a 13 mile hike but I think I just over did my training for the big Whitney hike the past couple of weeks and did not give my poor old feet a chance to recover. Thankfully the rest of the body served me well. I really can go up hill a blistering pace these days! Its fun to do long day hikes and have energy at the end of the day!

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