OCTOBER 17, 2015 – Palo Corona Regional Park (Carmel, CA)

I went back to the Monterey Peninsula for my annual October vacation. Instead of the usual 1st day hike at Jack’s Peak I went to Palo Corona Regional Park in Carmel. I first noticed it on the geocaching.com map last month because of a cluster of 15 caches. Following up I learned that access is permit (limited to 13 per day) based. On the assumption that something interesting is being protected from being overrun by the masses, I applied online for the free permit and received it a few hours later. On Tuesday morning the trip was 10 minutes from my Cannery Row hotel to this sign.
101315_01_sign
This foreboding gate keeps out the riff-raff.
101315_02_gate
The permit had the current lock combination. That’s NOT it in the picture.
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Once inside it was immediately clear that the hike was not flat. What I’d planned to be a 3 hour visit would take much longer.
101315_04_road
I was glad that the few cowpies directly on the trail were completely dry. My first stop was at this barn. Oddly there’s no cache there. Benches like those in the picture were helpfully placed every few hundred feet. And there were picnic tables at every scenic spot. I had free use of them all because I saw only 1 other person all day and she was hiking.
101315_05_barn
Multiple gates kept the cows from wandering too far. They can’t read the posted signs that explain how to open the counterintuitive locks.
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I wandered around at the bottom of the hill finding caches on various small loop trails.
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The cache here, Spooky Oaks (GC377VZ) WOULD be spooky to find in gloomy weather or at night.
101315_08_creepy
Eventually I had no more excuses for not going up the hill. Once started, the hike was surprisingly easy. It helped that there were easy caches to stop for and find on the way. At the top there was the ubiquitous bench & picnic table. This is the view back down to the barn and the Carmel State Beach beyond.
101315_09_top
The summit cache You’re Inspirational (GCZH17) was covered by large ½” brown ants. Here are the ones that remained after I rolled the container a few feet. I very carefully avoided getting chomped by those jaws.
101315_10_ants
After the scenic view I was disappointed that the trail continued on the backside of the hill as a generic service road. There were still caches so I kept walking. At least the ocean breeze made it comfortable.
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The final cache was just beyond the table, Animas Pond (GC121A3). I turned around there.
101315_12_animus
The walk back down was easy. I ended the 5 hour, very relaxed visit with 7.3 miles hiked, 9 finds, 3 out of the way “did not reach” caches and 3 true DNFs where I thought that the containers were truly missing. I recommend this park to my geofriends who want a muggle-free scenic day hike away from the touristy parts of the peninsula.

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One Response to OCTOBER 17, 2015 – Palo Corona Regional Park (Carmel, CA)

  1. Elin Carlson says:

    This looks very worthy of a trip up there!

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