|Panorama of "Point Lost"|
I was perusing Every Trail last Friday evening trying to decide where I might satisfy my wander lust the following morning, when I happened across a guide posted by username alpharomero on a hike he did to Butano Ridge in Pescadero Creek. It caught my attention because the track log showed usage of a trail head that I didn’t even know existed, along a road that I had not even heard of before called Wurr Road. It was interesting to discover that there was some nook or cranny that I hadn’t been to before in this place. But what really peaked my interest was the mention of a side trip to a viewpoint to the ocean from Butano Ridge. Every time I’ve hiked Butano Ridge, I have always lamented that the property lines do not allow access to long range views to the south and west, which I always speculated would include Pacific Ocean views. The last time I hiked there, I even did a post here called “The Windowless Ridge”, in which I characterized the hike as one that must be a journey rather than a goal. Meaning, in the context of that post, that there wasn’t any really special point that seemed like the highlight feature of the hike. However, after reading alpharomero’s guide, it seemed apparent that my characterization was not completely correct. And having vaguely remembered that I did see a trail sign up there that said there was a possible ocean view by hiking further north on the ridge loop trail, I decided I had to go back and seek out this obscure place that I have since renamed "Point Lost", to find out what I had missed.
|Natural tar deposits in Tarwater Creek|
I hadn’t thought about it until I had already turned onto Alpine road and could see lots of low fog was blanketing the ocean. Sometimes the fog will clear out by midday, and other times it hangs like a cheap suit the whole day. As I began, I knew that I might not actually see anything from Point Lost at all except for a sprawling carpet of murky oceanic fog, but I was already committed, and really wanted to hike. Did I mention that I really just like to hike? So I headed across the road to the northern part of the Tarwater loop at about 1000 feet, descending down into the canyon, and all the way to Tarwater creek at 374 feet. By the time you reach the creek bottom, you have passed through the grassy meadows and oak woodlands, and are now in thick conifer habitat. This creek was named for the natural tar deposits that seep up from underground making the waters look like the victim of an oil spill. All the rocks and soil along the banks are coated with the stuff.
After crossing the creek on the half-missing footbridge, I made my way to the Canyon Trail. This section of the Canyon Trail is very thickly wooded with a tall canopy overhead. Along here are some of the most interesting tree specimens in the park. Remnants of legacy logging abound, but there are some old growth trees left, and the always amaze me. There is something almost spiritual about old growth trees, especially redwoods like these. One of the trees along here has the most massive widow-maker burl I have ever seen. The ground is covered with sorrel, and the air is moist and crisp, and scented with the aroma of redwood bark.
From the creek up to the top of Butano Ridge, the trail climbs up to 1672 feet over 2.5 miles. Not really a butt kicker, but definitely enough to work off what ever you had for breakfast. The recovering redwood forest is thick enough to keep you in the shade the whole time whatever the weather, and you won’t see any more water for awhile. When you reach the junction at the top, the trail tees with a fire road, and there is a trail sign indicating a view point in 1 mile to the north with the park boundary another mile after that. The mysterious Point Lost was at hand. If you were to turn left the fire road would take you along the ridge to the other side of the loop trail where you can’t see anything but no trespassing signs to the west. Almost immediately the fire road begins turning into a washboard type trail. Descending steeply down, then back up, then down again and back up. You finally arrive at the view point reaching 1720 feet.Check out my track log for the profile.
|The Old Tree|
Click here to see my track log at Every Trail
Click here to see my photos on flickr