First off, I left later then I should have. 11:30 a.m. The sun out in full force at this point. I had slept in until 9:30 a.m. I forgot my pillow and the sleeping mat, so I didn’t sleep very well.
Anyway, the hike started off well enough. The climb starts right away and the trail is thankfully well marked.
There is a short area that was shaded with Live Coastal Oaks, but most of the hike is exposed.
There was tall grass and some bushes growing into the trail, but it wasn’t too terrible, at first.
The Big Sur River runs along this mountain. Its voice helped take my mind off the angry afternoon sun lighting my shoulders on fire.
So beautiful. This is my happy place.
After about 1.25 miles and 7oo feet, my good mood started to wane. I knew I wasn’t going to make it all the way up. This was not me having a bad attitude. This hike is no joke–5 miles and 3,000 feet elevation. I didn’t prepare. At all. I’m not completely out of shape, but I didn’t do enough to earn this hike. I felt pangs of regret the rest of the way.
It only seemed to go down hill from there. A fly followed me for over a mile. The little bully made me so crazy!! I was yelling out loud, “Leave me ALONE!!” I swatted him with my hat to no relief. At one point he quieted down and I thought he had lost interest in my sweet stanky smell, only to see him peeking over the brim of my hat! I kid you not.
The sun was a menace, frying my shoulders and stealing what little energy I had. My stops were getting more frequent but I couldn’t fully recover because I needed to sit and there was no where but on the seething hot trail. My butt actually hurt if I sat too long.
I made it up about 2.5 miles (1,500 feet). I thought I was going to make it up to 2,000 feet, but shortly after 2.5 miles, the bushes got out of control. This trail hasn’t been maintained in a while.
I was pushing my way through bushes and thinking about how this was not fun anymore. I was starting to very much dislike this hike. I thought about why I enjoy hiking, what makes it fun for me. I like the physical challenge of getting up the mountain, I like the quiet, the beauty, being part of something that hasn’t been paved over by man. (Never mind that all the Old Growth redwoods have been torn down and I require a man-made trail and I’m currently complaining about it not being well-maintained.) I just don’t like feeling like I’m fighting with nature, which is what happens when I’m pushing them out of the way and they are clawing and denying me.
This was the end for me. That big bush on the right is poison oak. No thank you. I’m done. The mountain had enough of me and I’m no idiot. I know how to take a hint.
It’s clear to me now that I went at the worst possible time. Afternoon in the summer after a wet winter.
I’ll try again some winter and hope the mountain will have me.
I was feeling pretty awesome about my fitbit stats! Later that day I walked around for 30 minutes trying to get the steps past 150, but it got stuck at 149!! I even went up 3 flights of stairs!
When I got back to my camp, I made this lunch. Tuna with celery, kalamata olives, mustard, cucumbers, lettuce and sriracha, along with blueberries and kale pesto. Then I took a nap in my hammock.
This is hike #115 from my Monterey Hikes list.
Hiking distance: 10.4 miles (I went 5.25 miles)
Elevation gain: 3,200 feet (I went 1,772 feet)
Difficulty: very strenuous
Exposure: mostly exposed hillside
Hiking buddies: none
Would you do it again? yes, I will conquer Mount Manuel!
Best for… adults in very good shape