December put a monkey wrench in my run/ hike a trail every other week plans. I feel like I blinked and it was January. I originally planned on hiking on New Year’s Day but quite frankly it was just too cold. At least for this California girl. I mean come on, I use a space heater every day, even in the summer. After working in the morning and a rough, abbreviated 5 mile run on Saturday, my mom and I headed out Sunday for Cerro San Luis.Cerro San Luis is located in SLO and otherwise known as Madonna Mountain. It overlooks the Madonna Inn and has a large M painted on the side representing Mission High School. And I think it may be my new favorite view. I just realized I took 165 pictures! The mountain has a series of interconnecting trails, so I never actually found the M. Guess that’s something for next time! We wanted to add some distance so we parked at a nearby park and headed for the mountain via a trail there. The trail wasn’t very technical and ranged from a dirt trail to a horse path. Could have done without the horse poop everywhere but it was really cool being that close to the horses. I had no idea you get that close to them on the trail. It had an elevation gain of 1160 feet. Which wasn’t that bad until the very end. There were quite a few times that the trail branched in different directions and we had to choose left or right. At one point my mother chose right and holy crap, that was hard. It was super narrow and super steep. I was about ready to start hand over footing it when a woman came down on a bike. Then I was jumping out of the way wondering if I was going to have to call for help. I was afraid she was going to crash. As she passed me she admitted that she should not have gone down that way. She did not look comfortable or confident at all. There were a ton of people out on the trail that day. Bikers, walkers, runners, families and dogs.
It was a very warm day which was great but man we felt like we were working. We finally made it to the top! Talk about an awesome view! We then did have to hand over foot some to get to the top of the rocks. I could see another trail down but we weren’t sure where it went. We could have investigated but it was way past lunch and I hadn’t eaten anything all day (stupid stomach) so we just headed back down. We took our time going down because my mom has been fighting a knee thing off and on since we hiked Cerro Alto.
This slacker forgot to charge her Garmin and it pretty much died at the top of the mountain. Oops. But it was 3 miles up and I think it was around 3 miles down but we went a slightly different way. The clouds rolled in and the wind picked up as we got back to the park- perfect timing! Oh and randomly, someone was base jumping off of one of the hills. It wasn’t that high but umm, no thank you.
It was great weather and a great hike. I look forward to going back again and exploring the other trails. I want to find the M! I like to call hiking my training and cross training all in one! It was a great way to end the weekend! The plan is to hike part of the 25K route this weekend but that also depends on how my mom’s appointment goes in regards to her knee.
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