Santa Cruz County High Point Trip Report

Date: December 14, 2003
Author: Robert Greene

With the end of the Christmas season drawing close, I figured I'd better get Santa Cruz out of the way before I was stuck until next year. After a late start, I meandered out to 35 south, past 9, and found the parking lot for Castle Rock State Park. Using my usual system of only using past trip reports and GPS locations, I headed off down 35 looking for the 2nd right turn. It was a short easy jaunt, and clearly marked with a "Mt. McPherson Christmas Tree" sign. I headed off that way, followed the dirt road off to the left through the open white metal gate, and after a few hundred more yards, turned into the Christmas tree farm proper. I tried the Eddie Murphy trick of just pretending like I belonged there and sauntered by the converted RV office, down the parking lot, and around to the left into the other parking lot. Within a minute, I managed to spy the official marker, and was about to snap off the obligatory picture.

But then one of the guys found me! I hadn't even got the coveted photographic proof, so visions of my Schwiekerized claim were filling my head. But wait -- he wanted to know how some strange guy could just magically find the marker (I guess he'd witnessed my near beeline to the spot mere moments earlier), so I attempted to wow him with the pinpoint accuracy of the GPS. Luckily, he was a worker on his first year at the tree farm, and he hadn't even seen the BM himself. So, I figured a bit of Covillizing was in order. Three days ago, I hadn't even heard of Covillizing, but today I invoked the time honored principle. We got to talking about this and that, he was quite a friendly guy, and before you know it, he'd given me the three cent tour of the entire farm, which certainly included a Lobdellization of all points around that parking lot and the BM itself. He also mentioned that they'd had a few other visitors, but not too many this year, that the farm was only open the four weekends right before Christmas, and a small reading of the riot act on how the land was for the tree farm, not for a "tourist destination".

By this time, it was about 5 PM so it was time for me to get out of there. I headed back down the same way I came up (instead of taking the clearly marked "exit" route), and sure enough, an official tree farm truck passed me as I was hiking back down the entrance road. The kindly chap in it waved to me and seemed in quite good humor as he drove by. Only later would I realize he was laughing because he'd just locked the barbed wire entrance gate! But, being almost 8 feet tall, I simply stepped over the gate and headed back to my car. Another funny plot foiled!

Between the gate and the main road, I saw a pair of guys looking quite high-pointerish with books and hiking gear on the way up; I wonder if they jumped the closed gate or not. I passed their car and they looked like they were well prepared to conquer the rest of California, with snowshoes and other survival gear prominently displayed!

And thus, as the sun set, I returned to my car, California County #8 done, and myself much wiser for the use of the sage skills of the uber-pointers.