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Aspen highlands | photo by Matt Feyerabend
   Ventana Chapter Schedule of outings, meetings & other activities

Sierra Club Ventana Chapter Hikes and Outings for Monterey/Carmel and Santa Cruz from December 21 to February 28, 2015
(Please contact leader to reserve a space)

Sunday, December 21
Afternoon Stroll: Old Monterey by the Sea
We'll start at the original Spanish presidio, and mosey from that base down through El Encinal Cemeterio to the Customs House where the tax collector awaited visitors. A story of two of pirates and rebels might be in order too. Bring water and snack, dress in layers, and call for time to meet. Leader: Mary Gale, 626-3565.

Sunday, December 28
Hike: Secret Trails of Jacks Peak
Let's break in those new boots you got for Christmas and explore some of those trails that you always wanted to take, but never did. Let's see where they go. Expect 6-8 miles, perhaps 1200' of elevation gain, and probable poison oak exposure. Bring water and a snack for lunch. Meet at 9:30 a.m. Call for meeting site and shuttle info. Leader: Larry Parrish, 622-7455.

Tuesday, December 30
Senior Saunter: Watsonville Slough
Watsonville Wetlands. A mostly flat walk around Watsonville and Struve Sloughs. We'll see egrets, herons, mallards, etc. Meet before 9:30 a.m. at Sears on 41st Ave. or at the Nature Center, 20 Hawkins Slough Rd at 9:50. No restrooms. Lunch at Ramsay Park. Bring lunch, water, $3 carpool. Rain cancels. Leader: Bev Meschi, 475-4185.

Thursday, January 1st, 2015
New Year's Day Hike: Holt Road/Garland to my Place
Our traditional New Year's Hike takes us from the parking lot at Safeway's Mid Valley, carpooling to Garland Ranch, climb up to Snively's Ridge, although at a very moderate pace, and still a little higher to a sunny spot for lunch. Then we'll turn west all the way high up through Carmel Valley, down to Holt Road and back to most of our cars. But wait a minute, you are all invited to "Kaffee und Kuchen" at my place, Mid Valley Garden Homes #53, to celebrate the New Year. About 8 miles and 1,500' elevation gain/loss. Bring water and lunch, hiking sticks and wear sturdy shoes. Meet at Mid Valley parking lot opposite Chase Bank at 10 a.m. Call to confirm. Heavy rain cancels. Leader: Anneliese Suter, 624-1467.

Tuesday, January 6
Senior Saunter: Antonelli Pond
We will start our approx. 3 mile walk along the west side of Antonelli Pond on to Terrace Point and then visit the Seymour Center. The walkers will stop for lunch at the picnic tables at the Center while the others continue on, stopping for lunch at the De Anza gazebo or back at Natural Bridges State Park. Meet before 9:30 am at Sears on 41st Ave. or on Delaware Ave. by entrance to Natural Bridges State Park at 9:50 am. Bring lunch, water, $2 carpool. Rain cancels. Leaders: Jean Harrison, 425-5447; Brooke Ewoldsen, 475-6188.

Saturday, January 10
Hike: Pt Lobos State Reserve
I don't think that we'll ever get tired of this special place. The ocean is ever-changing and might provide extra entertainment in January. Expect 7 miles and about 800 vertical feet. We'll meet in Soquel on Main St at 9:30 am to carpool. Bring water and a sandwich. Heavy rain cancels. Leader: Nick Wyckoff, (831) 462-3101.

Tuesday, January 13
Senior Saunter: Pinto Lake
Approx. 3 miles through an oak and madrone forest, mostly on level ground with some low rolling hills. A shorter walk will be available. We'll lunch in picnic grounds. Meet before 9:30 am at Sears on 41st Ave. To go direct, take Hwy 1 south to Airport Blvd exit. Continue on Airport Blvd, crossing Freedom Blvd to 2nd traffic light, Green Valley. Go left and continue on Green Valley past Pinto Lake City Park to Pinto Lake COUNTY Park on the left. Park at the end near the Gazebo. Rain cancels. Bring water, lunch, $3 carpool. Leaders: Denise Lucy, 728-6552; Brooke Ewoldsen, 475-6188.

Thursday, January 15
Hike: Land of Medicine Buddha
It's a stinky little flower but an exciting one since it's one of our first each year! Let's see if the intriguing Fetid Adder's Tongue is blooming in Soquel. If not, we'll have a nice hike in a lovely forest and observe two albino redwoods (one up close). Bring water, snack and $ for optional lunch at a café after the hike and also please bring a few dollars to contribute to the upkeep of the land. The hike is about 6 miles/700 ft. elevation gain. Arrive early, we depart at 7:55 a.m. from the south far end of the parking lot in front of REI (next to the back wall) in Marina. Or be at Center Street's diagonal parking next to the Congregational Church of Soquel before 8:50 a.m. Call for a reservation — limit of 8. Leader: Lynn Bomberger, 375-7777.

Friday, January 16
Hike: Del Monte Forest
Our 4-5 mile loop with about 500 feet elevation gain at a moderate pace takes us along quiet forested trails that are even pretty in fog. Bring water and a snack. Meet at the parking area along highway 68 at the Haul Road between Skyline Forest and Forest Hill at 9:30 am. Leader: Gisela Nobinger, or 393-4983. Please let me you if you are coming.

Saturday, January 17
Hike: Mission Trails Park
This hike is 2 - 3 miles and 300' elev. gain. We start at the bottom of the canyon on Rio Road across from the Carmel Mission. We will make an elongated loop with possibly some city streets as part of the route. If there is no fog, there is a nice view of the Mission dome. We will make stops at the controversial Flanders Mansion and its neighboring Lester Rowntree Native Plant Garden and the Outdoor Forest Theater. Meet at 9 am at the trailhead. Call to reserve a place. Leader: Martha Saylor, 372-9215.

Sunday, January 18
Waterfall Walk: Kahn Ranch in Carmel Valley
Kahn Ranch hides a lovely waterfall in Hitchcock Canyon, and with all our be nearly level, but the footing on narrow bridges across the creek may be slippery, so bring a stick if you have one. We won?t climb up to the hill tops this time, but may go partway up one hill if the footing is good and we?re inspired. Call to reserve a space and get directions for meeting. Since a free parking permit must be obtained in advance, anyone hoping to join us at this Carmel Valley hidden gem must call in advance to see if a car with a permit has space, or if you?ll need to get a permit via e-mail. Leader: Mary Gale, 626-3565

Monday, January 19
Hike: Skinner Ridge and Turner Creek Divide
Starting at Bottchers gap trailhead, we'll hike up through oak and madrone forest to the top of Skinner Ridge, then down to our lunch spot at Turner Creek Divide. Expect steep, rugged trails with views out to the coast and into the interior of the Ventana Wilderness. At almost 7 miles and around 1500 feet of elevation gain, this hike is fairly strenuous, but we'll take it at a leisurely pace. Bring lunch, lots of water, and protection from insects and poison oak. Meet at Rio Road Park and Ride at 9 am. Rain cancels. Leaders: Cath Farrant and Mary Dainton, 372 7427.

Tuesday, January 20
Senior Saunter: Bike Path to Wilder State Park
Approx. 3 miles, mostly flat, walk to Wilder, to horse corral, cowboy cabin and outdoor tour of ranch buildings. A shorter walk will be available. Lunch at Wilder and return on bike path. Meet before 9:30 am at Sears on 41st Ave. or before 9:50 am at the trailhead just off of Hwy. 1 at Shaffer (last left turn as you leave Santa Cruz, just after Natural Bridges/Western Drive.) Bring lunch, water, $2 carpool. Rain cancels. Leaders: Jean Harrison, 425-5447; Brooke Ewoldsen, 475-6188.

Saturday, January 24
Hike: Fort Ord Dunes
An easy hike through the Dunes and along the ocean, about 4 miles. We'll go first to the new parking lot and the look out where in former times the Military clubhouse was. You remember, it had been taken down before it would fall into the ocean. We might find a few blooming sand flowers and will watch birds and high waves. Bring water and a sandwich, hiking sticks, binoculars and wear layers; it may be windy from the ocean. Meet in Seaside at Home Depot near the gas station at 10 a.m. Leader: Anneliese Suter, 624-1467

Tuesday, January 27
Senior Saunter: Carmel Circle
3 mile loop in Carmel. We begin at the Carmel Mission, walk to the Mission Preserve Trail, to the historical Flanders House. Restrooms at Sunset Center and lunch on benches there. Return via Scenic Tour near beach & 13th Ave. and back to Mission. A shorter walk will be available. Meet before 9:30 am at Sears on 41st Ave. To go direct, take Hwy 1 South to Carmel Crossroads, turn right on Rio Rd., go one mile to park at Carmel Mission. Bring water, lunch, $6 carpool. Leaders: Bev Meschi, 475-4185; Brooke Ewoldsen, 475-6188.

Wednesday, Jan 28, 2015
Hike: Fort Ord
Our 5-6 mile loop with about 700 feet elevation gain at a moderate pace takes us uphill on Guidetti Road and back to the parking lot in a big loop. The area is wide open with minimal shade, so bring a hat as well as water and lunch. Meet at the new Fort Ord National Monument parking lot on highway 68, across the street from Toro Café, at 9:30 am. Leader: Gisela Nobinger, or 393-4983. Please let me you if you are coming.

Tuesday, February 3
Senior Saunter: Cowell River Loop
This loop walk is along the river through a redwood forest. 3 miles w/slight uphill. A shorter walk will be available. Meet before 9:30 am at Sears on 41st Ave. or before 9:45 am beside the levee in the Gateway Center on River St, between Ross and Petsmart. To go direct, take a left off Hwy. 9 in Felton at Cowell entrance. Pay at kiosk and take first right into camping/parking area. Bring water, lunch, $3 carpool. Leaders: Perry Brohmer, 1-650-793-3987, Brooke Ewoldsen, 475-6188.

Saturday, February 7
Hike: Jacks Peak
A modest hike of about 4-5 miles through the wooded area of Jacks Peak. We'll take the Iris, Rhus and Skyline trails. Meet at the Home Depot parking lot in Seaside (near the gas station to the left) at 10 a.m. Bring lunch and water. Heavy rain cancels. Leader: Kris Kissman, 521-5662.

Sunday, February 8
Hike: Garland Ranch Park
We will hike up to the Mesa via foothill trails, Buckeye and Waterfall, come back via Fern, Mesa, and Lupine Loop trails. About 5 miles with modest elevation gain, trails have some steps. Nice valley views, maybe even water trickling over the waterfall. Meet at the Park & Ride on Rio Road at 9 am for carpooling. Please call me to reserve space or if wanting to meet at Garland Park. If there has been rain, the trails may be muddy. Bring snack/lunch and water. Call to reserve a place. Leader: Martha Saylor, 372-9215.

Tuesday, February 10
Senior Hike: Manzanita Park
This is a moderate hilly 3.25 mile hike in North Monterey County. See the ocean and Fremont Peak on a clear day. Lunch at picnic tables in park. A shorter walk will be available. Meet before 9:30 am at Sears on 41st Ave or at Manzanita Park. Call leader for directions. Restrooms. Bring lunch, water, $5 carpool. Leaders: Bev Meschi, 475-4185; Brooke Ewoldsen, 475-6188.

Wednesday, February 11
Hike: Mill Creek Redwood Preserve
Our 5 1/2 mile out and back with about 400 feet elevation gain at a moderate pace takes us through Redwoods, Scrub Oak, and Laurel forest to a coastal overlook with benches for lunch. Bring water and lunch. Meet at the Rio Road "Park and Ride" parking lot near Bank of America at 9:30 am. Leader: Gisela Nobinger, or 393-4983. Please let me you if you are coming.

Wednesday, February 11
Sierra Club, Ventana Chapter Hike Leaders Meeting
Our bimonthly meeting takes place at the Monterey Public Library at 5:30 p.m. We'll collect hikes and outings for March and April, the high season of our wildflowers in bloom. Everybody is welcome. In case you would like to call: 831- 624-1467.

Thursday, February 12
Hike: Toro Park Early Wildflowers
This 5-1/2 mile hike with 800 ft. elevation gain has a delightful variety of wildflowers: Indian warriors, footsteps of spring, shooting stars are just a few. Bring water & lunch. Arrive early; we depart at 9:45 from the dirt parking area outside Toro Park. Call for a reservation—limit of 8. Leader: Lynn Bomberger, 375-7777.

Saturday, February 14
Hike: Simas Peak (Toro Park) via Black Mountain Trail
Enjoy expansive views toward Skinner Ridge, Salinas Valley and Chalone Peaks on this 6-7 hour fairly strenuous hike of about 12 miles and 3000'. Meet at the dirt parking area outside Toro Park at 8:45 a.m. Bring lunch, 2-3 liters water, and rain/wind gear. Limit 12 hikers, so please reply to with your name and phone number, and we will call you. Leaders: Carol Greenstreet & Randy May.

Saturday, February 14
Hike: Mt Umunhum parking lot
This is a bit of a tease because I went to Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District's opening this month of the new parking area (Bald Mtn) which will finally serve the new trail up to Mt Umunhum (the Cube). But I learned that the trail itself won't be completed for at least one more year. We may however use that new lot and walk Mt Umunhum's northern face in the meantime. Expect 5-7 miles and about 900 uphill and 1500 ft downhill (because it will be a car shuttle up the mountain to the new parking). We will meet at the Santa Cruz Gov't Center at 9:30 a.m. to carpool, and bring your Valentine! How about water and a sandwich? Heavy rain cancels. Leader: Nick Wyckoff, (831) 462-3101.

Sunday, February 15
Hike: Hills above Brazil Ranch
We are not permitted to hike on the Brazil Ranch proper. Instead, we will start from the west on newly opened trails overlooking the Ranch and its horses. The hike is a total of 600' elevation gain/loss on ca. 5 miles through high pastures which offer magnificent views down to the mouth of the Little Sur River, the Big Sur Lighthouse and to Pico Blanco. Part of the hike is off trail. Bring good shoes and trekking poles. Don't forget water and lunch! Meet at P & R on Rio Road in Carmel at 9:30 a.m. for a short drive on Hwy 1. Call for more information. Leader: Anneliese Suter, 624-1467.

Sunday, February 15
Walk: Fort Ord National Monument
Have all these showers brought new flowers? We?ll check the scenery and visit a memorial to an old warhorse. Total distance not more than 3 miles (mostly level) with option for more on your own. Some pavement, otherwise sandy soil. Call to reserve a space and get directions for meeting on Fort Ord. Leader: Mary Gale, 626-3565.

Tuesday, February 17
Senior Saunter: New Brighton Beach
This walk is along the beach in front of New Brighton State Park to Sea Cliff State Park. We'll return to New Brighton, up the cliff, steep but not too long, back to New Brighton Park for lunch. A shorter walk will be available. Meet before 9:30 am at Sears on 41st Ave. To go direct, take Hwy. 1 exit at Park Ave., go right to Kennedy Ave. and turn right for parking along the street to meet before 9:45 am. Bring water, lunch, $1 carpool. Leaders: Irene Lennox, 457-2690; Brooke Ewoldsen, 475-6188.

Friday, February 20
Hike: Pinnacles Juniper Canyon Loop
This spectacular but steep trail climbs along switchbacks to the heart of the High Peaks. At the top, we'll circle through rock formations along the steep and narrow section of the High Peaks Trail and return via the Tunnel Trail. We'll look for condors and early wildflowers. 4.3 miles with 1215 feet elevation gain. Bring lunch and water. Meet at Home Depot in Seaside (near the gas station) at 9 am or at Pinnacles Chaparral day use area, west side, at 10:30. Rain cancels. Leaders: Cath Farrant and Mary Dainton, 372 7427.

Tuesday, February 24
Senior Saunter: Asilomar North
A 3 mile loop from Asilomar, north along the coast to Pt. Pinos Lighthouse and return on the grassy ‘dog run' near the residential area. Bring lunch to eat at Asilomer or arrange with a friend to eat at the Fishwife Restaurant. Meet before 9:30 am at Sears on 41st Ave. To go direct, take Hwy 1 south and exit at 68 West off ramp and meet at Fishwife Restaurant by 10:30 am. Bring lunch, $6 carpool. Leader: Brooke Ewoldsen 475-6188.

Wednesday, Feb 25
Hike: Toro County Park
This 5-6 mile hike with about 800 feet elevation gain at a moderate pace takes us through a forested valley along the Ollason trail then up to oak dotted grasslands. It's probably too early for spring flowers, but we can hope. Bring water & lunch. Meet at the dirt parking area outside Toro Park at 9:30 am. Leader: Gisela Nobinger. or 393-4983. Please let me know if you are coming.


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