Ascent of Junipero Serra Peak on 2013-07-06

Climber: Travis Brashers

Others in Party:Phil
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, July 6, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Junipero Serra Peak
    Elevation:5862 ft / 1786 m

Ascent Trip Report

Drove down from the Monterey Bay area. Came down 101 and got off on Jolon Road, right before King City. Stopped at the Chevron off the exit and picked up some more bottled water (glad we did). Continued about 17 miles and turned right on Mission Road. Fort Hunter Ligget is open to the public with the exception of the contonment area. Missed the 1st left turn for Del Venturi Road. Mission Road turned into a dirt road, but we were able to continue on for another 5 miles and turn right onto Del Venturi. We were coming through a little after dawn and saw a heard of elk, a fox, a small family of wild bores and lots of game birds. About 4 or 5 miles after entering the Los Padres National Forest came upon the Santa Lucia Memorial Park Campground. Just before that is a turnoff for a parking area to the trail head.

The temperature was comfortable when we set off, but knew that it was going to be a smoker. Along the first mile of the trail there are a number of neat looking rock formations. The lower section of the trail was still in decent shape. We also passed an old forest service tractor before we headed up the draw towards the summit.

Further up, the trails were still reasonably easy to follow, but you have to pay attention. The trail is very overgrown. Pants are a must and long sleeves are STRONLY recommended. Be very wary of ticks; between the two of us, we found three.

The view from the top is okay. There are trees at the top that obstruct some of the view, unless you climb to the top of the old fire tower. The stairs and steel frame of the structure are still in decent shape, but there's not much else. My nerve for exposed heights isn't as strong as it used to be so I didn't spend much time up there. Although, it was a nice break from the biting flies and fire ants down below. After about an hour long lunch, we headed back down into the heat. The heat on the way back down made this a pretty strenuous hike. It was probably around 95F by the time we returned to the trail head. In all I drank about 1 1/2 gallons of water and a liter of Gatorade. Be careful of the heat if you're going to do this one in the summer.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3762 ft / 1146 m
    Round-Trip Distance:12 mi / 19.3 km
    Route:Santa Lucia Trail, Santa Lucia Summit Trail
    Trailhead:Trailhead near Santa Lucia Memorial Park Campgroun  2100 ft / 640 m
    Quality:4 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Hot, Calm, Clear
60F degrees at trail head, 75F on top, 95 on return
Ascent Statistics
    Time:4 Hours 10 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:2 Hours 53 Minutes

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