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Old Baldy, Canada | photo by Cameron Schaus
Chapter Chair's Column
Scenic hikes await you
January 2009

As many of you know, the Ventana Wilderness, one of our most popular venues for hiking and camping, is closed due to the fires last summer and not expected to reopen until spring or summer of this year. The weather is lovely now, and the shadows this time of year accentuate the beauty of our rugged hills and valleys. Take a few minutes to look through our outings section and see what our hike leaders have suggested for alternatives to the wilderness.

Consider a hike out of your usual routine. Pinnacles National Monument in the Salinas Valley consists of spectacular remains of an ancient volcano. The rock formations include monoliths, spires, sheer-walled canyons, and caves for exploring. There are long walks in the North Wilderness section and shorter hikes up on the balcony trails with views of the valley and Chalone Peak. Pinnacles is also a release site for condors, so with luck you may see one gliding overhead.

Also open is the Silver Peak Wilderness area in the southern region of Big Sur. Highlights include dramatic Salmon Creek Falls right off Hwy. 1 and a trail system with camps at Spruce Creek, Estrella Camp, and Dutra Flat. The scenery includes views of the coast, verdant forests of Douglas fir, open meadows, and spectacular wildflowers as spring approaches.

Closer to home, trails suitable for day walks in Monterey County include Soberanes/Rocky Ridge, Jacks Peak County Park, Garland Ranch, Point Lobos, and Toro Park. Santa Cruz County has all their parks open, and now is a good opportunity for Monterey County members to explore the beauty of Big Basin, Fall Creek, Nisene Marks, Pogonip, and Wilder Ranch to name a few.

The chapter is always looking for qualified hike leaders to expand our programs and outreach to members. This year we will also be considering participation in national and international trips for the Club.

Members interested in volunteering as hike leaders should email us at .

—Rita Dalessio

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