The quintessential SLO hike!
Okay, I have some beef to clear up. Maybe they were tricking me, but I’ve done this hike once and I was told there is a SLO tradition that comes along with this hike – you bring a jug of Carlo Rossi up to the peak and you all drink it at the top and throw the jug over the side! There is a special way to hold the jug with the small, round handle and use your bicep to support the jug of Rossi. Like, am I crazy? Is this not a thing anymore? Was this never a thing?
Anywho, in the spirit of our long LDW getaway, Lil and I decided to do another hike. She didn’t really care, and I wanted her to do the ‘one hike everyone does!’
While looking it up, I see you can either start on Highland Drive or Patricia Drive. I tried really hard to remember how I started last time, but I honestly couldn’t remember, I vaguely remember that everyone starts in a neighborhood, which is how we started on Patricia Drive. Yet, when we drove past the Highland Drive entrance, I realized, that might have been my starting point last time, but we’d already committed to Patricia, so we kept driving.
Like always, I didn’t do too much research. However, I did peek and see that essentially we were going to hike up 1,2000 ft in elevation and then back down. It’s a fairly short distance. 3.4 miles, according to AllTrails – which is wrong, per the usu.
It was Monday, Labor Day, and I figured it was either going to be crowded or empty, it was a gamble. It also didn’t help that this was one of those weird, really hot weeks in SLO. They used to be rare, but who knows with climate change and all, these days! We left the hotel at 8 AM and it was already warm, we probably should have left sooner. We didn’t come prepared to hike at all this trip, but that didn’t stop us.
Barely any cars in sight, we parked on Patricia Drive and started our hike up Bishops Peak. The entrance is highly visible with signage, and partway down Patricia Drive they even have a sign to let you know, yes, you are in fact on the right path to your hike.
Everything was going as usual, and by usual, I mean I was huffing and puffing and Lil was steady as a goat. As we were starting in the shaded area we see three shirtless young men, maybe college or high-school age running toward us. We overhear things such as, “we need to get help, they called 911, we’ll meet them down there…” Obviously, we were worried, but they ran past us and we couldn’t even ask.
As you’d assume, as we hiked a little further, we noticed a group of mountain/rock climbers to our right. Some standing, one on the phone, and one laying still on the ground. We asked if we could help or do anything, but they said everything that could be done was happening. We stayed for a little longer and then continued on with our hike.
Experiencing that definitely set a somber tone for the hike. That and the incessant uphill hiking. Not long after, we heard sirens and eventually could see a Firetruck. Then entire hike we kept tabs on what was happening below us.
Holy hell, I don’t remember this hike feeling so tough. Technical due to the rocks, and sweat-inducing due to the endless switchbacks to get to the top. We finally made it to the top and it was definitely 2 miles to the top, not 1.6 miles like AllTrails would allow you to assume.
I don’t remember the cute bench being there to greet you. It literally was the cutest thing ever.
As we go to the top, we chatted with two people who were just relaxing at the top. Everyone was trying to figure out what was going on down below. As we reached the top a helicopter was there, flying around that side of the peak.
Since Lil hasn’t been to the ‘peak’ we had to get to rock climbing ourselves. The hike ends, but it doesn’t really end until you go to the top of the rocks in the same vicinity. You can climb other rocks, but those are a little tricky to get too. These were tricky enough. We did it and Lil got to see it all and we got our sissy pic together.
We also got to see a person get life-flight-ed out. We hope they are okay and I definitely said a couple of prayers for them on the peak and when we got back. Such a scary situation, one of the scariest I’ve experienced on a hike so far.
After we hung out for a bit, took all the pics, we headed back down. Why is getting down from rocks so scary? I’m much more scared in my older age 😉 We made it down safely and were happy, and thirsty, even though we brought one small bottle of water each.
A little over four miles, and a little longer than expected via AllTrails. We had a blast and then went in search of a refreshing beverage. And of course, that means coffee.
Apparently SLO is now a mini coffee haven and there are so many different options, versus when I lived here. So we wanted to try another new one. The first one we went too was closed so we walked a couple of blocks and headed to KIN Coffee Bar.
Okay, they need to make the door more noticeable. Thanks to a patron who made the same mistake as us, he laughingly told us where the door was. This place is so millennial, in the most polite way. It has tons of plants and is really cute, yet small inside. I wanted an iced coffee, but I saw the Lavandula (lavender syrup, milk, and espresso) and I knew I had to try it. Lil got the craziest tea with charcoal. Tasted okay, looked interesting.
On our way back to the car, we sauntered bast Bubble Gum alley and I told shell it was where one goes to catch COVID. I know, in poor taste, too soon! But the fact that someone left a mask on the wall was really funny.
If you ever decide to hike in SLO, I’m pretty sure everyone will tell you this is one of the top hikes, by far. And apparently there is a challenge that includes hiking three other peaks in one day and you get a free tri-tip sandwich (not from Firestone). That sounds fun for a future endeavor and starting WAY earlier. This is a great hike to get a quick workout that ends with a beautiful view of my favorite city!
The perfect way to see one of my fave cities!