New Almaden, Fremont Peak, and Monterey Bay Trip
January 29 to February 1, 2013
In reviewing the map of my panorama coverage, which I do several times a year, I realized that there were some significant gaps quite close to home. This was the first of four trips in early 2013 attempting to fix that (the others were to Pinnacles, the Santa Cruz Mountains, and the Napa Valley).
In four days I took 61 panoramas.
(Click any picture to open a larger version.)
New Almaden has been on my list since college and I finally made it. A fascinating locale, one of the the two big historic mercury mines in California, it dates back to before the Gold Rush. I had a look at the Casa Grande museum and the village in the valley, then a good hike around the mine and smelter area, English Town and Spanish Town, on the ridge high above.
Because of the short days at this time of year I arrived in camp well after dark. I was the only one in the tiny campground at the summit of Fremont Peak, high above San Juan Bautista. The morning views were spectacular.
Early in the morning I made the short hike to the summit of Fremont Peak, then drove down the mountain and west to Castroville and the coast. In the afternoon I took a nice hike at the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Preserve.
Fremont Peak played a dramatic, though largely symbolic, role in the history of California. In 1846 Captain John C. Fremont raised the American flag here, in plain sight of the town of San Juan Bautista, defying the Mexican authorities.
I spent the day visiting the string of state park beaches that line the crescent of Monterey Bay, a continuous sandy strip almost forty miles long. North to south they are: New Brighton, Seacliff, La Selva/Manresa, Sunset, Zmudowski, Moss Landing, Salinas River, Marina, and Monterey. I also shot some panos at the interesting little harbor of Moss Landing with its defunct power plant, oceanographic research lab, and a small fishing fleet.
My last stop was at Seacliff Beach, where the pier leads out to a beached concrete ship, the SS Palo Alto. I remember when I was a kid you could walk around the ship, but now it is broken and dangerously deteriorated, fenced off.
California State Park campgrounds usually cost $35, which is a lot more than they used to. I was shocked to find that it costs $55 per night to park in a row of motorhomes at Seacliff State Beach, so I kept looking.
I explored the little beach town of Capitola and the harbor at Santa Cruz, then took panoramas at Santa Cruz Mission (such as it is). The fog suddenly came in as I attempted to photograph surfers at Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz.