Saturday, June 6, 2015

National Trails Day - hike up Bishop Peak Trail

June 6, 2015 was the date for the AMERICAN HIKING SOCIETY's annual event,  "NATIONAL TRAILS DAY" .

This annual event is billed as, "...the country’s largest celebration of trails.  National Trails Day events will take place in every state across the country and will include hikes, biking and horseback rides, paddling trips, birdwatching, geocaching, gear demonstrations, stewardship projects and more..."

Checking their website, there did not appear to be any events in my immediate area and, due to work, I didn't have the time to volunteer to host a local event, however, I decided that when I got off work I would go out on a trail and celebrate the day.

I was fortunate to have a short shift that morning, so I decided to hit Bishop Peak Trail, a favorite of mine:

Bishop Peak, San Luis Obispo, CA
Bishop Peak is a volcanic peak located in San Luis Obispo, CA. Part of the Morro's, a chain of volcanic peaks, Bishop Peak is 1,546' elevation and is the tallest of the chain of peaks. The trail is about a 4 mile round trip. Additional information is available on the Hike's website.

The trail is just a couple of miles from my workplace. It was an overcast morning and driving to the trailhead, I could see the peak was shrouded in low clouds and fog:

Overcast Peak
I started the hike at about 9:20 a.m. with a 15# daypack loaded with hydration bladder, medical kit, and other items. The hike up was pretty dim, but the cool weather was nice and kept me from breaking a sweat: 
Cal Poly State University, center of photo
The trail is very popular with students from the local state university, and there were many groups of students hiking the trail that day. It is a boulder and rock strewn trail and one must be careful to avoid tripping. I used trekking poles on this hike and did see a young male hiker who was descending take a fall and tumble down the trail. I cannot say whether he tripped or slipped, but fortunately he didn't suffer any apparent injury and was assisted back to his feet by his companions:
Typical section of Bishop Peak Trail
The peak has three distinct points composed of boulders, and for this reason was named because of it's resemblance to the Miter hat worn by a Bishop [The town was originally a Mission founded in 1772 by Spanish Missionaries and was named Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, for "Saint Luis, the Bishop of Tolosa".
I finally made it to the summit at about 10:45 a.m. In the photo below, you can see Cerro San Luis Obispo, another of the Morro peak's, situated behind me. It is also an excellent hike if you are visiting in the area:
The summit
Cerro San Luis Obispo, a closer view
I decided to take a break and sat down and enjoyed the view and ate some trail mix. By now the sun had come out *somewhat* and it was now nice and warm:
Break time...trail mix!
After my short break I started back down at about 11:05 a.m. By now the sun was coming out and the trail became very warm:
Hiking back down
As I got to a cattle gate I caught a bit of color out of the corner of my eye and spotted this rainbow colored Lizard called a "Skink" crawling around on the ground:
"Skink" Lizard
I passed a group of cows that were lazing in the shade under a grove of Oak trees:
Shade-tree Cattle
As I descended the trail, I gathered litter I found along the way. Collecting litter is just one way we as hikers can "give something back" for the privilege of enjoying open space trails. Many open space properties, like Bishop Peak Reserve, were donated by ranch families who respected and treasured these lands, and we should have no less reverence for the gift they have shared with us. Mostly lost or discarded plastic water bottles, I managed to fill a cereal box liner bag with recovered trash. I always save my cereal box liner bags and re-purpose them for litter collection, because they are tough and tear-resistant:
Litter bag
I completed my hike at about 12:15 p.m. We're very blessed here in San Luis Obispo County with many trails and natural open space areas to hike and enjoy, and hopefully next year I will be in a better position to perhaps sponsor or coordinate a local National Trail Day event.
Happy Hiking!