June Morrall: Climbing Old Pedro Mountain Road

Yesterday, my cousin and I hiked up Old Pedro Mountain Road, with our lofty goal the very top.

OldSanPedroRdAutomobiles once traversed the tricky turns on the Old Pedro Mountain Road and it could challenge San Francisco’s famous Lombard Street as the road with the twist-iest (and most spectacular ocean and landscape views) in the world.

Not a boring moment along the road that goes up and up and up—if you choose to keep going up and up and up. The morning was warm with a good, welcome breeze that cooled us off—and on one sharp turn a little stand of pine trees responded with a musical sound as the wind mussed up their needles.

pmr2Along the way we encountered other hikers, many young, couples, and several singles, most with dogs, some with dogs whose coats were highly polished revealing the owner’s relationship with their pets. A standout for me was the blue-black colored dog, his coat so slick that it reflected sunlight, and I know he, the dog, heard me praise his beauty.

When I say we met other hikers, I am not talking about a great number. It’s surprising how few people were walking along the trail on that post-Halloween Sunday morning.

pmr3A lot of the walkers were going in different directions because there are other feeder trails than the one that goes directly to the top, that very elusive top of the mountain, I should add.

One of my repeated questions was: How far to the top? “An hour”, somebody said,  this after we’d been walking for an hour and a half and the terrain was getting seriously steep, and we were at the point where we longed for the mercy of flat, level land.  Another woman cautioned: “Go where you want to go. We didn’t make it to the top, it gets almost vertical.” She didn’t need to use her hand to show me what vertical looks like.

pmr4Yikes: It gets almost vertical.  Visions of how hard it was going to be to walk down the trail danced in our heads. Another hiker reminded us: “You use different muscles when you come down. Your toes move to the front of your shoes. The dirt is loose in places.” Those thoughts began to squash the goal of making it to the top.

When we reached our limit, that is, as far as we were going to go on that morning after weighing the information we had gathered on our way up,  I wondered outloud if there was, or should be, some way to register our foot mileage.

Okay, we didn’t make it to the very tippy- top yesterday but how many people HAVE made it to the tallest peak on old  Pedro Mountain Road? And who are they?



Addendum: You may notice that the permanent image on my blog page is of a woman with a dog sitting high up on a mountain. That’s me, with my dog, Scorpio, and we hiked up Old  Pedro Mountain Road in the 1970s. I don’t think I made it to the very top that day either.