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Trip Report San Juan Bautista, Fremont Peak State Park and Pinnacles National Monument.

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Friday Day 1

Astronomy is a hobby I enjoy and a great place for busting out the scope in Monterery Bay is Fremont Peak State Park. It sits at 3100+ feet which gets it above the marine layer on most nights.
On Friday I packed the telescope and headed up. I stopped in San Juan Bautista and found a great Basque restaurant (Matxain Etxea Basque Restaurant). The lamb stew was fantastic! I got up there just a bit after sunset and rather than drive around looking for a camp site bothering everyone I pulled into the group area and camped there. Jupiter was the object of interest this night. Later that night high thin cirrus clouds formed so I made the .5 mile journey up the trail to the top of Fremont Peak and checked out the great views of Salinas, Hollister, Gilroy, Watsonville, Monterey and Santa Cruz. This peak is unique in that four major California mountain ranges intersect right here. Santa Lucia, Gabilan, Santa Cruz and Diablo.

Saturday Day 2
Saturday I woke up early and packed up to avoid the ranger and paying the camping fee.
I parked in the day use area and pulled my air mattress down to a nice shady spot and fell back to sleep. Saturday afternoon I went for a hike on the short trails around the park and back up to the top. That night the observatory had a public event going on but I did not wander over there. Wish I had because Saturday night was even more disappointing cloud wise. Even more high cirrus clouds. I got drunk instead.

Sunday Day 2
Got up early and drove Hwy 25 south to Pinnacles National Monument. The San Andreas Fault runs along this valley and there are several turnouts where you can see it very well. In Pinnacles I hiked up to the cave and did a loop trail around the balcony area. It was a short hike of about 3-5 miles and there was still half a day to kill so I did a hike up to Mount Chalone. I did not make it because I was worried about darkness but I will save it for another trip. It looks like it is a full day hike of about 8-10 miles. On my way home back to Santa Cruz I stopped at Matxain Etxea Basque Restaurant again and ate more lamb stew! YUM!!!!!!

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