Location: Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
Entrance fee required
NOTE: AS OF 6/06 THIS SERIES IS CLOSED FOR MAINTAINENCE, scheduled to re-open June 2006.
It is a good idea to pick up a trail map as well, but not necessary.
Once you have entered the park drive to the end of the road, following the signs for group camping, horsetrailers and Ferguson Observatory. Typically you will have to park at the Horse corral and barn, as the gate to the Observatory is locked.
This series can be combined with the PlanetWalk Series of boxes as a loophike. You begin heading east on the Meadow trail (as if you were following the PlanetWalk) then head onto the Gray Pine Trail. You can then follow the Gray Pines trail to the junction with Brushy Peaks and follow the Planet walk backwards from Pluto. Hint: Doing the loop in this order will snare you an extra prize. Approx. 6.6 miles roundtrip. NOTE: In order not to miss Pluto you must always take the uphill fork once on Brushy Peak Trail....there are two side paths that skirt two small peaks and if you go that way you will miss the box. If you just want to go out and back on Gray Pines trail it is 5 miles roundtrip.
Whomever coined the phrase "Don't judge a book by its cover" never heard of chick lit or the wonderful movie "Sideways". You don't have to see this movie to find the letterboxes, but it would be easier and more enjoyable if you did. At least watch the trailer. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0375063/trailers
Here it is, one year after Jack's wedding to Christina. He has gone into business with her father selling commercial real estate and has done extremely well. Now Miles and Maya are engaged and Jack is treating them to a week in wine country so they can help celebrate his and Christina's first anniversary as well as the impending marriage.
Jack is still not the oenophile that Miles is, but he tries his best. While the girls are having a day of spa treatments, and Miles is having lunch with a local small publisher who is interested in his book, Jack heads off to a wine shop where he picks out 6 bottles.....all chosen on the basis of their label art! You will notice he leaned pretty heavy on the cabs, but that is what you get when you select on looks alone. He then hides them at Sugarloaf Ridge and packs a lunch of cheese and fruit. And so our 4 friends set off.....
Box #1 Bonny Doon 2002 Cigare (Grenache/Carignane/Syrah/Mouvedre)
Take the Gray Pine spur from the Meadow Trail. Almost right away you will ford a creek...dry in summer and definitely wet in the winter, particularily after a rain. Use caution, since there is no bridge.
Miles refuses to drink which varietal in the first movie?
A) Cabernet Cross the second creek and check the knot in the large live oak just beyond.
B) Chardonnay Once you climb the slight rise away from the creek and enter flat terrain you will see a mossy, dead oak tree trunk on the left of the trail. Look inside the cavity.
C) Merlot Just to the left of the trail, before crossing the second creek, check the dead tree near the live bay.
After finding the bottle, our friends quaff some red wine with feta and grapes.
Box #2 Smoking Loon Syrah
At the start of the film, what is Miles doing as he drives to LA?
A) The New York Times Sunday Crossword. Climb uphill. Stop at the Sumo wrestler rock, on the left. Climb the 45" crack to the topknot rock and look under/behind it.
B) Shaving. At the next creek crossing (this time it runs thru a culvert under the trail) check the downstream side of rock wall under a large serpentine boulder.
C) Eating oreos and drinking a gallon of milk. At the switchback after culvert walk off the trail to the left and check boulders at foot of oak.
The crew pauses here to sip more red with aged parmigiano-reggiano, and nibble sopressa sausage and sourdough bread.
Box #3 Kenwood 1989 Cabernet Sauvignon
The Name of Miles' book is:
A) "The Great Pretender" Continue uphill until you reach a large clump of madrone (8 or so trunks...madrones have glossy green leaves and smooth,yellowish-red trunks)growing on the left. Look among the roots.
B) "The Day After Yesterday" Just before the switchback that takes you under the power lines, walk to the left of the downed oak. Zizag past 3 oaks bearing right and look behind the 3rd tree under some bark.
C) "The Obedient English Teacher" Just as you walk under the power lines look to the left at a large manzanita. Look here.
Our friends enjoy this red with some pear, English Stilton, and Carr's whole wheat crackers.
Box#4 Imagery Estates 1999 Pinot Gris
Continue up the rocky road until you see an underused, unmarked side trail (old road?)on the left.
Jack meet his intended working as:
A)flight attendant. Continue beyond this spur about 50 feet until you see the first Gray Pine, look on the north side.
B)massage therapist at the club. Take 20 paces down the trail and check in the manzanita on the left.
c)waitress at sushi restaurant. Take 35 paces down the trail and check behind the peace sign oak on the right under the duff.
Our friends sip pinot gris with melon and prosciutto.
Box #5 Kenwood Vineyards 1994 Cab (The infamous Naked Lady label that got turned down by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in 1974...remember Jack picked these out.)
As you round the trail to start walking parallel with the power lines.....
Alexander Payne, is from my hometown of Omaha, NE and set his first 3 movies there. His movies do not include:
A) Election. You will see a redwood on the right. Check the base.
B) Omaha (The Movie). Climb another small rise and see 3 gray pines on the right. Check the base of the 3rd, under pinecones.
C) Citizen Ruth. Climb another small rise and see 3 graypines on the right. Check the base of the 1st, under pinecones.
Our friends save the cab and have some water with smoked gouda and apples.
Box #6 Los Olivos Prosperity Red
The grape that Miles most closely identifies with is:
A)Viognier Where the trail branches, follow Gray Pine approx 70 yards and check the hollow log on the right.
B) Malbec Where the trail branches, check behind the trial marker post under some bark and rockpile.
C) Pinot Noir Where the trail branches, follow Brushy Peaks uphill to red fencepost,look over to left at siamese twin graypines. Check under pinecones.
D) Sangiovese Where the trail branches, follow Gray Pine approx 25 paces, check the cleavage between 2 large boulders.
Here Jack makes a toast to Miles and Maya for a prosperous and happy marriage. The two couples have this red with dark Scharffenberger chocolate and admire the view to the west and take a nap before heading back down for a long soak at the Kenwood Inn's hottub.
Congratulations Miles and Maya!
Please rehide well.