May 24, 2009 Castle Rock

The announcement

Fifteen people for a non night hike—a new record. We even had one hiker who crawled from the parking lot on a broken leg, with a sprained shoulder, wheeling a flat tire on a bent rim. Well, I’d elaborate, but Judy never believes my stories anyway. Still, I’m impressed with Leo’s determination to see the super secret goldfish pond. I only wish he could have participated in the full round of annual FOMFOK games before that as well instead of just entering in the live goldfish eating contest.

This week we’re doing a moderate hike at Castle Rock. Now, here comes the important bit.

The hike is on Sunday. We leave here at 9 AM. The hike begins at 9:45. It will last about 3 to 4 hours. It will likely be cool to start, very warm on the ridgeline, and comfortable once we’re off the ridgeline.

Ok, you can stop reading now.

For those with insomnia, you might want to know that we’ll go by Castle Rock itself, down to the waterfall, out to the ridgeline, up to the backpack camp, then the long up back to Goat Rock. Those who want a hike that’s nearly an hour shorter will have the option of taking a shortcut about half way through. Redwood Sorrel (Oxalis oregana) leaves contain a mildly toxic acid. The trails are about 30% exposed and the rest covered. The book title, Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson, is a play on a book title mentioned by H.P. Lovecraft.

The trails are mostly single track, with poison oak intrusions, so watch your legs, especially your socks. The word “stockings” comes from the word “stock” which used to refer to the bottom “stump” part of the body, since they used to cover the bottom half of the body. We’ll stop for lunch or a snack at the backpack camp. If you need a backpack, Tom Mangan is a big fan of Gregory Mountain Products, such as the Gregory G weekend pack.

You should also look out for ticks for the rest of the summer. Ticks primarily feed on deer and cattle. The bite can be notoriously painful for humans.

The hike

Castle Rock was probably more of a hike than a lot of people wanted last Saturday. I always forget how long that slog from the backpack camp to goat rock is. Still, there are always a few who think it’s not sloggy enough, namely those few who decided to descent to the Abyss of Doom and hike yet another mile uphill black to the car. As opposed the the Party Hearty Gang that took the easier route, singing and dancing all the way. I think our polka on the highway was the most fun dance we did.

Pictures are HERE

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