Back to trying to fill in the gaps of earlier Achievements we have accomplished, we’ll take you back tonight to one of our West Coast Achievements from our trip to California in April.
If you’ll recall from our post about Morro Rock, we LOVE volcanic plugs. (Well, *I* love volcanic plugs. Michael tolerates them pretty well.) While Morro Rock is not hikeable, some of the other volcanic plugs in the Nine Sisters chain are.
So of course we were like, ‘LET’S GO FOR BROKE AND HIKE THE TALLEST ONE!’
(Also behold how far from the start of the rock you are at the trailhead. That becomes important later.)
You can access the trailheads at two points: one route is much steeper but shorter, and the other is longer but less steep (we thought ‘oh, the less-steep longer one will be best!, but it took FOREVER). We used some maps we found online through EveryTrail, but even with the maps, it was a little tricky at times.
The trail signs were a bit confusing through parts: there was no clear marking of which was the fastest, or best way to get up the hill. We did a LOT of wandering, but the sights were pretty great and the weather was just perfect, so we didn’t mind much.
Finally, there came a point where we got *totally* lost. We made a wrong turn, trying to follow the tiny trail that winds through the grass, and we wound up on the complete opposite side of the hill from where the hiking switchbacks are. This added maybe a mile and a half to our journey, but it made us ANGRY!
(Pro-tip: there will likely be hikers around when you go for your trip, so don’t be afraid to ask questions to help you get where you’re going. You’ll need all the energy you can get, and wrong turns take a lot out of your tank!)
As you round the corner to the series of neverending switchbacks, you encounter a TON of rocks. Cool-looking rocks, but be cautious climbing up and around them. (The dogs who hike Bishop Peak love those rocks and will make you feel like an old lady after watching them move with such agility!)
I did not even take a picture of the neverending switchbacks because I was SO MAD at them by the time we even found them.
But really, they’re a lifesaver, if you aren’t a rockclimber.
This is when the view starts to get pretty awesome, though.
If you’re interested in doing a bit of rockclimbing, you can get even HIGHER up. I went about halfway up the rocks before the whole ‘vertigo and anxiety’ double-feature started to hit me. But it sure was fun! (They recommend that you *don’t* partake in this last stretch of the hike, but many people around us were doing it.)
However, the best part of the hike is sitting at the top and just taking in the breathtaking view. Bishop Peak goes a full 1500+ feet into the sky from start to finish, and the payoff is totally worth it.
(And don’t worry, the hike back down is much, MUCH faster!)