I have to say, I wasn't looking forward to the Boy Scout campout at the start of the vacation. We left the Friday after work and I was pretty exhausted going into the outing, but it was great. We loaded up the bikes and headed up to Santa Margarita Lake. Due to the time of year, we had the campground to ourselves. Saturday, we biked down an old fire road on the east side of the lake, stopped at the general store for popsicles, and then had a quick dinner before heading out to meet up with the Central Coast Astronomical Society and their monthly stargazing night before returning for a night of roasting smores. Perfect bike ride, lots of laughter, great guys and good times – you actually couldn't ask for a better trip.
So it would seem no one likes to camp when the weather is a balmy 32° F
Andrew with his bed head
Out on the fire road
What a nice trail
Rockin' the dock
Andrew and me
The crew minus me – someone has to take the photo
Finding an old cellar
...and an old cistern
Peaceful arm of the lake
Stay on the bridge!
The remains of another old structure
Wow! What a view.
Nice open rooms, solidly built, but a real fixer-upper
Swapping stories back at camp
Even though the campout was chilly, the days were really pleasant. It was 75° on Christmas day. Oh, and my younger brother came up to visit with their new little 8-month old boy, Keaton.
The boys decided they wanted to go surfing on Christmas.
"Dad, take it quick, the waves are calling..."
Tim riding one in
Jonathan showing off his longboard skills
Drew chilling with the volleyball crowd
"California dreaming on such a winter's day..."
So each year, the Madonna Family puts a Christmas Tree up on top of their mountain (elevation 1,292 feet or 394 meters). Jonathan and I decided to hike up at sunset and see the lights up close before it was taken down this year. Anyway, he had such a swell night, he caught the hiking bug and wanted to go every day after that.
A panchoed Jonathan ready to hike
Sun already setting
Chasing the shadows up the hill and looking back towards our home
Sunset over Laguna Lake
What a spectacular sunset
Looks like something out of a Technicolor Western to me
The Laguna side of town in pinks and purples
Jonathan with our goal in sight
Loving the view!
Looking up the tree from the base
Last glimmers of the fading sun over SLO
City lights starting to emerge
Another view of SLO with Highway 101 in the foreground
Self-portrait of Jonathan and me
A cactus shaped like a foot that Jonathan wanted to remember
The next morning Jonathan wanted back on the trail, so we hit the Johnson Ranch trail with my friend Peter, his son Sam, and their dog Pepper. My middle son Andrew also joined us. (By the way, Sam became an Eagle Scout last year (the youngest in the history of our Boy Scout Council - anyone care to guess how old he was?)
Sam, Johnny, and Drew
Headed out on the trail
I don't think there's a peak boys don't like to climb
Another halcyon day
Drew and Sam swapping stories
My friend Peter
Exploring the sycamores
A little surprised the stream was still running
Pepper sensed cows ahead
Nearby cattle roundup - the dog at the bottom left did most of the work
And back up another rock
And the next day, Jonathan decided to we needed to go hiking yet again. When we had gone up Madonna Mountain, he looked across the way and asked which was bigger, the hill we were on or the next one over. I think my answer cemented his desire to go up Bishop's Peak (elevation 1,559 feet or 475 meters).
Jonathan eager to begin the trail
First through the woods
And then up the hill
Quick stop for a rest break
Jonathan was excited to see how small the Christmas tree looked over on Madonna mountain
Here's a panorama shot of San Luis Obispo from the almost top of Bishop's Peak
Watching the fog roll in as the sun sets
A view of the morros headed north towards the coast
And looking back towards the south
Jonathan was very proud to have made it to the top
Another day in SLO Town coming to a close
"Dad take my picture here, it'll look like I'm really strong."
Well, that was pretty much my break. Oh, I almost forgot, Tim also became a licensed driver! Kristine and I are very proud. I can't believe time goes by so fast!
Some great photographs Nate. Looks like a awesome way to spend the holidays.
Well, that was a sunset to remember for all time.
I will guess 12 for Sam only because he looks the same age as our g-daughter.
The sunset pictures are just outstanding. You are lucky to be near all that public land. CA is #7 in amount of federal land - 45%. It even beats WY at 42%! NV is #1 with 84%.
That looks like a terrific Christmas break. much nicer hiking in that weather than in rain and freezing temps!
Beautiful photos and it looks like you and the others had a good time.
What a great trip and great photos. I am definitely jealous.
My dad went trough California during WWII, fell in love with the country and wanted to move there. My mom wanted to stay close close to her family here in the Northeast. So here I am still in the N.E.
There was never a snowfall when my brothers and I didn't say " dam, we could have been California kids. Within earshot of my mom. All in jest, of course.
What a great trip and such wonderfull pictures. I loved Jonathan's foot cactus. I really like the sunset on the road. Congratualations to Tim.
Beautiful photographs, Nate! What a great Dad you are!!! Happy New Year~
Thanks for the comments everyone.
Judi, you are correct, Sam was 12 when he became an Eagle Scout, but Federal land ownership can be a blessing or curse. Some of the best hikes out here are on private land - most owners are fine as long as you ask first and are respectful of the property (e.g., keeping cattle gates closed).
Jules, your Ducks did just fine in this weather.
DAG, ah, what could have been. I have to say, I certainly enjoyed growing up out here - plenty to do outside.
Zelda, he liked it too. He couldn't decide if it looked more like a dinosaur profile or a foot, but eventually decided on the foot.
Thanks again for all the swell comments everyone.
Marvelous photos, thanks for posting. I am going to recommend to my daughter that she check out those photos; she is a hiking enthusiast and also a sunset enthusiast.
Best wishes to everyone for a wonderful New Year.
Wow, if all your postings will be this long it will be fun year :-) How many of the Nine Sisters have you guys climbed? Being an ex-geophysicist I must say having these volcanic plugs nearby is very cool.
Rob, we went up three over break, Islay, Cerro San Luis, and Bishop Peak. In previous hikes, I've been up to the top of eight of them. Although that's hard now as four of them are privately owned with restricted access. Although if you put some work into it, you could get permission to do at least seven of them.
Hi Nate Maas!
In searching for panoramic views of San Luis Obispo your image came up! Can we use that photo as part of our webbing for the San Luis Obispo CRESBI strap? (see www.cresbi.com for details). Would you be interested in receiving one of our CRESBI crate products with a strap that has your image on it as a trade for using the image? Please let me know asap since I can always use a stock photo from a stock photo website but we thought it would be cool to have an image from a local resident used on the strap! Thanks!
Owner/Creator CRESBI crates
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