|Old Pedro Mountain Road|
Rancho Corral de Tierra is less than half an hour south of San Francisco by car, situated close to the Pacific Ocean, off of Highway 1, and straddles the mountains behind the communities of Montara, Moss Beach, and El Granada. There's 4,000 acres here, criss-crossed by creeks flowing through the chaparral and coastal scrub habitats. In certain spots the view of the western horizon is so expansive, one can see the curve of the earth along the blue Pacific Ocean.
|Who says strollers are for kids?|
THE HIKE BEGINS
The hike began in the parking lot of Farallone View Elementary School in Montara. Though it was the weekend, the school's playground was open to use, and local kids and parents were having fun. We walked to the end of Le Conte Avenue, passing alpacas standing in a field to our right, and the kids grabbed brooms of pampas grass and shook them high (yes, pampas grass is a terrible, invasive species, and I know better than to let kids strew the seeds everywhere, but they're kids and it's fun).
There were two trails at the end of Le Conte Avenue, and we took the one branching to the right.
|The little bridge|
The bulk of our hike was on an old road turned into a trail, still called Pedro Mountain Road. According to this article on Wikipedia, Pedro Mountain Road was first mentioned in 1769 when it was described as "a very bad road"---those these days it's just perfect for strollers and anyone wanting to walk with a little elbow room around fellow hikers.
|Pedro Mntn. Road|
We reached a horse farm that delighted the kids who could watch the geldings and mares stand in the sunshine and swish their tails. I was impressed that the kids didn't mind at all the stench of horse crap as a group of them, my eldest daughter included, stood on the edge of a very large manure bin and admired the horses.
|The "Troll Bridge"|
Across the Troll Bridge, the trail forked at North Peak Access Road. We went left, and a dozen yards up, connected to the right back onto Pedro Mountain Road. I could see a port-o-pottie in the distance, so conveniently placed.
"Mike," I said, nudging my old co-worker who was pushing along his happy-go-lucky dog. "Maybe we should stop now for lunch?"
"Just beyond that port-o-pottie is an amazing place," he said, pointing at the road curving out of sight beyond the chaparral. "It's just a quarter mile up. You can make it."
|The picnic spot|
We ate, and then we played. We brought along a parachute for the kids to dance and jump underneath, brining back memories of doing the same in my childhood.
Back at Farallone View Elementary School, the kids wanted to play at the playground, and we adults were happy to oblige. We left a few hairs before sunset. The kids were finally pooped, while us adults actually felt like we got quite a hike. I'd like to return here again, and explore Pedro Mountain Road more, going uphill, as far as it can go, though I might have to hire a babysitter for the kids.
THE HIKE BEGINS HERE AT FARALLONE VIEW ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: