Mount Carmel Loop via Skinner Ridge Trail
based on 4 tracks & routes Los Padres National Forest #10 hike out of 473 in
3 hrs 52 min
This is a difficult out and back trail to Mount Carmel in Los Padres National Forest.
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Bottchers Gap to Mt Carmel
Had a nice visit with Ron & Deborah in Big Sur, then the next morning headed out to Bottchers Gap trailhead and started up the Skinner Ridge Trail, headed for Devil's Peak. Getting out of the car at Bottchers, a super loud hum/buzz filled the air. Could almost feel it. Turned out to be a zillion bees in a tree that was in full bloom with small white blossoms. Watched for a few minutes to make sure the bees were fully occupied with the flowers, then set out. The first half hour passed many of these trees, all filled with bees, but none seemed to take any notice of me. The top of Devil's Peak is anticlimactic; there are better views on the way there. Passed several groups of backpackers coming out from Pat Springs Campground. It must have been crowded there on Sat night. Headed north on a faint trail toward Mt Carmel. The trail passed through an oak tree graveyard. Some were lying dead, some still standing, dead. Then the trail passed for about half a mile through dense scrub and trees that brushed my arms on both sides. Reached the summit, where the chaparral was so high that I climbed on a big rock to see the 360° view. Could see all of Monterey Bay up the coast, and inland to roads and towns I am not familiar with. it was 4.5 miles to the top of Mt Carmel. Headed back to the car the same way.It was a beautiful day and an excellent hike.