Lemon Grove Loop | Week 5 | Peak a Week

Week 5 already and I love this challenge. So glad I started all of these (Peak, Beach, Sur). This week was a bit of a repeat as we did parts of trails that wind about Cerro San Luis (aka San Luis Mountain aka Madonna Mountain.). While Steve calls this Lemon Grove Loop, when I looked at maps I realized we do half of Lemon Grove Loop, jump on an alternate trail that takes us all the way around the peak and then back down the main road for a longer hike.

This was also the first group hike of my Peak a Week challenge, instigated by both Shane and Steve (thanks guys). There were eight of us (10 if you include Kirstin and Bailey who never quite caught up and ended up taking a different trail with Shane).


This is Doug.

Cami catches up

And this is Cami. At eight months, she still hustled up the hill and caught up with us even after we’d had an eight-minute or so head start.



Hiking in a grove

The group through the trees. Doug, Karen, Corinna.

The north side of the hill is my favorite, with its thick grove of oaks and such.



The view of Bishop Peak with Tom and Cami

Tom, Cami and Bishop Peak


Bishop Peak and its swath of mustard patches. I hope we get one more rain storm so we can sustain the green a bit longer. Soon this will be brown, brown, tan, and brown.

Hikers from emdot on Vimeo.

(Timelapse by Steve Akers)

Peak a Week, Week 5

Johnson Ranch | Week 4 | Peak a Week

Oak tree at Johnson Ranch

Johnson Ranch isn’t a peak, but it is a hike, which is the whole point of this challenge: Getting outside and making the most of this beautiful county and Pacific Daylight Time.

beginning of the hike

looking west

Path winds around oak trees

This is a newer trail in SLO. It was bought by the city in 2001 (it was a working ranch up until that time). A volunteer group (I think) called Leadership worked the trails and made it accessible for hikers and bikers. It must have been great to be a part of that group.

People on the trail

The trail was packed despite the fact that we got there late (packed meaning, we saw about 8 mountain bikers and 6 other hikers).


I’m embarrassed to say I’d never hiked Johnson Ranch before. My friends have raved (special shout out to Kristin and Aurajoy), so I really don’t know what took me so long. (Yes I do: I am in love with Bishop Peak. Previously my thought was “why hike anywhere else?”). I loved today’s hike and can’t wait to head back out there, especially while the spring flowers are still blooming. The trail is packed with both white and purple lupine, vetch, poppies, and tall, tall mustard. Also currently going crazy: aromatic sage and the sweet scent of Sycamores. Two of my favorite things.

Bees are in the white boxes
Those white boxes are for bees.

This road is not part of the trail. I loved the white lupine.
I loved all the white lupine today. Not sure why this road is not part of the trail.

The road winds around another oak tree

I love Sycamore trees.
I love the scent of sycamore trees.

Grass and hills

A couple of extras

Steve’s little vine video featuring The Frog Chorus (Turn up the volume!) (Vine)

Afternoon hike. #slo #sanluisobispo
Steve’s lupine shot (Instagram via Flickr)

Johnson Ranch
My sycamore shot (Instagram via Flickr)

Me! Week 4 at Johnson Ranch

Black Hill | Week 3 | Peak a Week

Fragile area

Black Hill is the second-to-last cerro in our Seven Nine Sisters line of peaks. It’s just before Morro Rock. It’s at the top of an 18-hole golf course. It’s not that steep. It doesn’t take long to hike. There’s a lot of (poison) oak. And there is a longer trail you can take, if you know about it, that winds down and around the whole hill, through the camp ground and on the outskirts of the golf course.

Going to the top

Towards the sandspit

It was cold-windy when we got there and the fog was coming in fast, and then it went right past us and we were back in sun. And then the fog came back. The fog, it’s fickle.







At the top, looking northeast

Peak a Week 3 Peak a Week 5 animated gif

Bishop Peak | Week 2 | Peak a Week

Top of Bishop Peak

Bishop Peak is a pretty standard hike in these parts, yet I hadn’t done it in about two years. Two years. How does that happen? By letting days slip away doing the daily grind of whatever-it-is. It’s one of the reasons I’m doing the Peak a Week, Beach a Week and Sur a Month pledges. I want to remember this year as one where I made the most of it. Hiking is one of the ways I hope to do that.

Chaparrel blooming

According to Wikipedia, chaparrel is only found in California and Baja California.

California Thrasher on top Bishop Peak

Closer version of the California Thrasher

According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the California Thrasher is also only found in California and Baja California. I was so transfixed by this guy that I stayed in a lower spot at the top of the hike instead of following the others up to the top of the rocks. Too many people were hiking today for the Thrasher to stay out in the open for too long. I recorded his song, but it’s hard to see him (in this video he’s in the middle of the screen, on top of the big rock in the center).


Hiking companions today: Steve, Shane, Corinna and Niels. I’m a total sap. Sometimes just walking around and hearing them tell stories and laugh puts a lump in my throat; we’ve all been friends for so long. I love them a lot. Sometimes it gets me in the heart.

Steve in in LaLa shirt with Cerro San Luis in the background

Week 2!

Hiking is good. Let’s do more of it.

From Cerro San Luis looking towards Bishop Peak

So we have Sur a Month (beginning March 2013 and running through February 2014) and Beach a Week (beginning March 11, 2013 and going through the first week of November 2013) and to it I am adding Peak a Week (spring equinox through fall equinox) to round things out and make 2013 one of those years where I will look back and say, “Man, that was a good year.”

Goal: hike the lovely hills all over the Central Coast (but flat hikes will be okay, too, in a pinch.). It’s okay if it’s the same damn peak over and over again. I don’t care. I just want to be outside making the most of the time change and the ability to quickly hit a trail