Church Creek, Los Padres National Forest, Ventana Wilderness
Robert drove us up Carmel Valley road in the greenlyness of it, all spring and dripping with spanish moss up to Pine Ridge Trailhead at China Camp where we parked and starting walking the ridge trail in the wind and mist whipping snow cold up the south flank of the hill. We were headed to South Ventana Cone but the weather changed our minds so we stood on the Church Creek Divide watershed where the rain choses its route to the sea - Carmel River or Salinas, as it either winds Pine Valley way or into Church Creek which joins Tassajara Creek and then into Arroyo Seco before meeting the Salinas. Taking the trail less traveled we wandered south dropping into the soft green bouquet of Church Creek drainage, with its uplifted rock formations proving that faults can create a thing of beauty, through fire damaged forest and resurgent undergrowth, wildflowers - banks of them - everywhere.
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