Castle Rock SP to Lexington Reservoir
August 13, 2018
Distance: 24.9 miles Time: 7.80 hours Pace: 3.19 mph Elevation Gain: 2965 feet
This hike marks the completion of the Peninsula section of the Bay Area Ridge Trail - I have now hiked continuously from the SF side of the Golden Gate Bridge to the South Bay. The Peninsula is my home and there's a big feeling of pride knowing that I've now walked the length of it, but there's much more to explore in the future. For now though, I'm excited to continue hiking the East Bay and then will continue north of the Golden Gate Bridge.
I parked at the Castle Rock State Park main entrance, which was already nearly full at 9:00. Crossing Skyline Blvd, I began my hike along the Skyline Trail in Sanborn County Park. My right knee was still pretty stiff from the hike yesterday, but I found a simple knee brace that helped immensely so I'll most likely add that to my PCT gear for the future. This is the type of soreness that I need to get used to if I'm going to be hiking for months on end. The weather was nice - low 70's by late morning and never getting too hot.
I'm noticing a relationship between mental health and hiking. The trail always provides exactly what I think I need - some days I'll have a lot on my mind and just want to take the day to process things in solitude, and walking through nature definitely allows for that. But then there are other days when I have a lot going on or a specific problem that I just want to ignore for the day and come back to later, and on days like that hiking seems perfect also. I always seem to find just what I need out here, and even though realistically it's just walking, it's walking with a purpose.
The trail was quiet despite the traffic at Castle Rock, and it was several hours walking along the Skyline and John Nicholas trails before I saw anyone else. The last few miles of the John Nicholas trail to the start of Black Road have been turned into service road for the San Jose Water Company, who is doing some pretty major work at Lake Ranch Reservoir. I had to move to the side of the trail and wait several times as five huge trucks at a time carried rock and heavy equipment to the reservoir.
Because I was determined to walk every mile to Lexington Reservoir and complete the continuous footpath down the Peninsula I continued along Black Road, but wouldn't do this again and definitely wouldn't recommend it to other hikers. The road is so narrow at some sections that I had to squeeze myself against rock walls as cars passed on the tight winding road. It was actually really scary having to use the road around tight corners, but luckily the few drivers that passed saw me with plenty of time and passed without running me over. I was so anxious to get off the road that I hit Lexington Reservoir and literally jogged back along the road to the official trail.
I continued back the same way to Castle Rock SP, then took a quick detour through the park to see it's namesake rock formation before heading home. Castle Rock was fantastic, towering with extensive alcoves and eroded caves in the rock where kids played hide and seek.