Hiking Oats Peak, Alan Peak, and the Coon Creek Trail

This morning I drove to Montana de Oro State Park to get in one last hike before the fall quarter begins at Cal Poly. I started by taking the Reservoir Flats Trail to the Oats Peak Trail. It was foggy when I started walking and it felt like a mist-like rain was falling. In some of the lower portions of the trail green plants were present, which was a welcome sight after all the brown, fried plants that are so common right now.

The Oats Peak Trail.

The Oats Peak Trail.

It took me about an hour to reach the summit, which stands 1373 feet above sea level. The ascent is deceptively taxing because there are many elevation gains and losses due the going up and over smaller ridges.

Oats Peak has been conquered.

Oats Peak has been conquered.

A picnic table sits on Oats Peak, but it is in a sorry state of disrepair.

The table on Oats Peak.

The table on Oats Peak.

The clouds and fog were starting to clear. Interesting patterns appeared on the hills, as the sun poked through.

A panorama from Oats Peak.

A panorama from Oats Peak.

A marker is embedded at the very top of Oats Peak. It dates back to 1881.

The Oats Peak marker.

The Oats Peak marker.

I continued on the Alan Peak Trail. I followed it until the trail ended on Alan Peak (but not at the summit). As far as I can tell there is not a trail that goes to the summit.

Looking at Alan Peak from Oats Peak.

Looking at Alan Peak from Oats Peak.

All the signs I saw at the trail head warning of rattlesnakes reminded me to pay attention where I was stepping. By the time I got to the Alan Peak Trail I made sure I was careful because it was a long way back to a road. I rounded a cutback and encountered a strange lizard that made me freeze. It was about 9 inches long, and it had very small feet. It was a very snake-like lizard. I tapped it with my foot, and instead of running like every other lizard I’ve ever encountered, it simply turned and looked at me with an expression of annoyance on its face. It refused to move.

A lizard impersonating (or inlizardnating) a snake.

A lizard impersonating (or inlizardnating) a snake.

By the time I was getting close to returning to Oats Peak the sun was shining. The views of the Pacific Ocean and Morro Bay were impressive.

A view from the Alan Peak Trail.

A view from the Alan Peak Trail (note Morro Rock).

I went back to Oats Peak for a few moments. From there I continued on the Oats Peak Trail on the other side of the summit. The trail went through some interesting groves of moss infested trees. I saw a ridiculous number of lizards on the sunny parts of the trail.

A forest of trees and moss.

A forest of trees and moss.

I reached the Coon Creek Trail, swung a left and hiked to the end of the trail, then turned around and hiked all the way out to Pecho Valley Road. By the time I got back to my car, which was parked above Spooner’s Cove, my legs were dead. I was surprised the hike took such a toll. I must be out of shape.

As I was driving out of the park I got to see some breathtaking scenes of Morro Bay because conditions were so clear. I love how the coast looks when the fog and clouds are gone and the water is so impressively blue.

This hike might have to hold me over for a while. Now that the fall quarter is here the forecast for my schedule is 100% crowded with little chance of clearing.

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