Bishop Peak

Towards the base of Bishop Peak.

Week 18. July 21, 2013. Shane texted on the 20th. Paraphrased: “Let’s go to brunch tomorrow! And then we’ll hike!” That plan turned into let’s hike and then have lunch. Either way, a win. Companions: Shane, Dan, Steve, and me.

Steve made a little movie of the very beginning of our hike. We look tired even then. :)

Two people on the Felsman Loop.

It was a warm day and the trail was buzzing with people either doing the main Bishops trail or the Felsman loop like the people above.

Dan led most of the hike like a billy goat on a mission and that mission was to achieve a cardio vascular workout (much to the chagrin of me, Steve and Shane).

Dan on the trail

The next three photos are to show how San Luis changes through the seasons. I guess we have three seasons of brown (summer, fall, most of winter) and then a lovely green spring if we are lucky. Since my Peak-a-Week challenge started in the spring, some of you may have the impression that San Luis is a luscious green paradise. I am here to show you that no, no it is not. Paradise? Maybe. Green? Bwah ha ha.

The photo below is looking due east over most of the town of San Luis.

From Bishop's towards downtown.

This is looking southwest towards the towns of Avila Beach and Pismo Beach, though all you can really see is Laguna Lake and some Madonna family farmland. That’s Cerro San Luis peaking out.

From Bishop's looking toward Laguna Lake.

And then looking west over Los Osos Valley Road. (Compare: LOVR one past April.)

From Bishop's looking toward the valley road.

Bishop used to boast many little squeezy bits of trail — where you had to go in between two pieces of rock or two narrow fence poles. We all noticed that those squeezy bits have been slowly removed (the trail becoming broader and easier), but this one (below) still remains. We love the squeezy bits.

A narrow passage way.

A new sign. And I didn’t show it but behind this sign are two smaller signs covered in graffiti, which I think is a political statement against this sign.

New signage. No no no no.

The hiking crew, making our way up. You can see a person ahead of us on the trail, coming back down. This was a woman in her 70s hiking on her own with a trusty walking stick. I want to be just like you, nice lady, when I am your age.

Going up. Steve, Shane, Dan.

The trail was packed. Dan didn’t seem to think it was as busy as I did; he thought of this as normal. I think my memory is stuck on Olden Days when not that many other people were always out hiking. I have selective recollection.

The trail was packed. I thought.

In May, my mom and I hiked Valencia Peak in Los Osos (about 8 miles or so from this spot) and I was really taken with the blooming wild buckwheat. Two months later, the buckwheat is past its prime, but still looks lovely on the path.

Buckwheat after the bloom

What is it with people’s need to mark up any flat surface they can. Yea for love Dean and Liz, but we don’t need your PDA covering our Bishop Peak. Related: I might be in the first stages of becoming a grumpy person. Knock it off, kids, you with your love and your marking rocks. And your rocket ships.

Why does everyone feel the need to mark up every blank face? It's a drag.

Finally we made it to the top. Well, I made it to the top where the bench is and parked it. Dan, Shane and Steve made it to the tip-top top of the tip-top rock. I go up there sometimes, but not often. Several people have died, slipping and falling to their deaths. I have great faith in my friends’ balance, but my own, not so much. So I usually park it on the bench and make friends with other hikers.

Steve waves hello from  the very top

Steve in front of the same rock that Dan posed in front of at the beginning of this post.

Bishop Peak rock to valley

There is a nice little oak forest towards the base of this hike. It is so nice to hit the canopy after hiking all the way up the hill in the dry heat. Always welcomed, always pretty.

Canopy near the base of Bishop Peak

Canopy near the base of Bishop Peak

It was great hiking with Dan, Shane and Steve. Afterwards Corinna and Niels joined all of us for lunch at Bliss Cafe. The hike really took it out of me (perhaps it was the sun) and the rest of the day was resting and kicking back.

Peak a Week 18

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