Friday, August 10, 2007

Butano State Park

Mill Ox Trail
5 miles
Hiking time: 3 hours
Josephine, Paula, Jan, Teresa, Julie

Warning: This hiking entry is as much about eating and drinking as it is about hiking.

We met at our usual spot off Western Drive. I thought I was late, but ended up with enough time to stop and get a cup of brew bar coffee at Westside Coffee. The farmer’s market was happening on the corner.

Teresa arrived. This was her first hike with the hiking group. I was so happy to see her that I gave her a big hug and proceeded to spill my full cup of coffee – spilling a little on her – but mostly on the ground.

She insisted on buying me another cup at the Farmer’s Market. So we all walked over. I had them do another brew bar in the same cup. When we got back to the car, the cup was feeling rather soggy, so I decided not to take any chances and transfer it into my traveling mug. I kept the lid on the cup to control the flow of coffee – but instead the whole cup spilled this time drenching me in the process. I’ve transferred coffee this way many times – but it didn’t work this time. We decided I had enough coffee – even though I was wearing it, rather than drinking it.

When Teresa was getting ready that morning – she discovered her hiking boots were missing. She searched everywhere for them – but ended up having to wear tennis shoes. Her other good walking shoes were at work. We didn’t quite have it together this morning.

We all squeezed into my car and headed north for Butano. We stopped at the little gas station/restaurant across from Gazos Creek. They do have a restroom with running water if you buy something. Good to know for those Highway 1 trips.

We arrived at Butano and found the trailhead. The first part of the trail was very steep, but short. Then we came out on a fire road. The fire road ascended the ridge. We would have had ocean views behind us, but they were obscured by fog. We met the intersection with the Jackson Flats trail and descended down a narrow sandy ridge. The terrain was chaparral. It was a sunny day and we were fairly exposed for this part of the hike so the sunscreen came out.

The trail dipped back into the forest. Josephine liked the Spanish moss in the trees, so we stopped to take a picture. There was a note attached to a signpost asking WWWD – What Would Wayne Do? We think the note was from his mother, but we’re not sure. Fun to speculate on possible deeper meanings

The trails came around a curve and there was this odd moss covered log. Everyone thought that it looked like the head of a lamb. I stopped to the pet the “lamb log.” Yes, we were feeling rather silly this day – as the pictures show.

We were looking for a shady spot to have lunch and found an area with several logs. We settled down for a light lunch, since we were going out for soup after the hike.

The trail continued downhill. We came through a section of saplings that looked like a forest of poles, so we decided to stop and do a quick pole dance – at least for the photo. I told you we were feeling silly.

Some hikers told us there was a bee’s nest about 15 minutes ahead on the left. We never saw the nest – but Jan got stung on the top of her head. Paula had to pull the bee out of her hair. We didn’t have much longer to hike and the hike seemed much too short – but between Jan’s bee sting and Teresa’s hurting feet (her shoes were not working out) we decided to call it a day and head to Duartes in Pescadero.

I was not that impressed with this trail at Butano. Fire roads are generally not as fun to hike. I remember Butano being lush and this has been a very dry year. Perhaps it is best to hike it in spring. Where to hike in July and August? That is the question.

When we finally got cell phone reception (at about 2:30) we tried to make a reservation for 3:00 p.m. Teresa got the lecture how we needed to make reservations several hours in advance. It seems like we’ve been getting a lot of lectures lately. Teresa was trying to make the reservation under Jan’s name (because Jan knew one of the waitresses there). Teresa had to repeat. Jan. J-A-N. No, not Pam. Jan. J-A-N. Jan. We decided we would take any reservation under any Jan, Pam, Sam, or Dan.

We were in Pescadero a few minutes after making our reservation. We went to the drugstore to try and find a bee sting remedy for Jan. On Josephine’s recommendation she bought some baking soda and some anti-itch cream. She mixed the baking soda with water to draw the sting of the bee out. I told Jan – that we used mud as a bee sting remedy, but she didn’t believe me. I just went to a website to check on natural cures for bee sting: and the number one recommendation: mud! (See I wasn’t dreaming that) Other recommendations were baking soda – meat tenderizer – and using tobacco from a cigarette mixed with water. We could try the tobacco or mud if there is a next time – but the baking soda did the trick for Jan.

Duartes is a restaurant famous for their Cream of Artichoke and Cream of Chili soup and for their pies. We indulged in both. Jan – had them mix the Artichoke and Chili soups and that was delicious. The bowls of soup were filling and rich. Jo wasn’t impressed with the Vegetable Soup, however. Then we went onto the pies: ollallaberry, blueberry, strawberry rhubarb and pecan. We all sampled the different kinds and I must say they were all wonderful. It’s not a cheap place – but we all rolled out of there very satisfied.

Next stop: The Roadhouse in Davenport. Several weeks before. I had met the bartender, Scott, who I went to UCSC with many years ago. He said he made a great Bloody Mary. Since I am a Bloody Mary connoisseur, I knew we had to give them a try. That was part of the motivation for a Butano hike. Scott was there and we had four Bloody and one Virgin Mary. He gave us the Virgin for free and Paula bought everyone else drinks!! They weren’t cheap – but boy, were they good. The only thing missing was the pickled beans which Scott makes himself. Since garnish is very important in judging a Bloody Mary – we will have to go back another time to try them with the pickled beans. He let us taste a shot of pepper vodka which was great. By the time we finished our drinks we were in high spirits, indeed. It was a great way to end a fine day of hiking, eating and drinking!

Four Lessons Learned: 1. Take the lid off paper coffee cups when transferring from cup to cup. 2. Natural bee sting remedies are: mud, tobacco, baking soda and meat tenderizer. 3. You can’t beat the pie at Duarte’s. 4.The Davenport Roadhouse Bloody Marys are two thumbs up!