Hiking Misadventures in Carmel Valley

— by Caroline on Crack


Yay! I’m finally plugged in again! This weekend my quick holiday getaway took me up to the Monterey Peninsula where a Motel 6 in Salinas provided no Wi-Fi as well as no remote control for the TV or blow dryer or even a consistently hot shower. Anyway, went up there to do some hiking in a terrain that was very different from the trails down here.

Up in Carmel Valley’s Garland Ranch Regional Park, we trudged through different types of landscapes, from lush rainforest complete with banana slugs to blustery mountain ridges manned by a fire tower on the highest peak. Twas a very nice change of pace from the arid and rocky desert encountered in SoCal.

Everyone on the trail was so friendly, greeting each other with smiles and hellos. People are allowed to walk their dogs, as well, of which there were many. And instead of rocky brown crags there are lush rolling hills.

The only things I didn’t like about Garland was that a lot of the hiking/mountain biking trails also doubled as horseback riding trails so suffice it to say that there was a lot of doody everywhere (too bad there aren’t doody bags for horses, too) and I couldn’t really enjoy the scenery a lot of the time since I had to keep an eye on the trail for fear of stepping in it.

The other not-so-great part of the outdoor experience was that we thought the “No Footbridge” sign simply meant we’d have to jump rocks to cross a stream. Nope. It actually meant that after walking a mile downhill in soft mud, that we would encounter a wide stream with rushing cold water and no real way to gauge its depth.

“Well, it looks like we’re going to have to either go back up the hill where we came from and try to cut across that development and hope there’s a driveway we can make our way down. Or, we can cross the stream further down where it’s calmer but where we’ll be standing in someone’s backyard and risk getting sicked on by dogs,” my hiking companion said.

“OR how about we cross the stream here with our hiking boots on?” I offered. But before he could say, “But then we’d have to walk back with our boots soaked,” I was taking off my boots to remove my socks.

Fortunately the stream wasn’t much deeper than below our knees but the danger of slipping on the gooey-slicked rocks and soaking my camera and my new iPod shuffle (which I’ve named “The Preciousss”) that I shoved in my pockets was high.

We moved across quickly gritting our teeth because the water was friggin’ cold, but with only one minor stumble we made it safely across. And to think, we almost backtracked that whole hike.

Anyhoo, the trail was great even though the day was overcast and moist. I’d recommend going on a sunny day though. Not only would the flowers and the scenery be more beautiful but then you wouldn’t have to worry about stomping through muddy trails, and maybe that foot bridge will be up.