When we visited San Clemente in 2009 the Vistazul condominium complex was under construction. As part of the development the developer blazed a path with a stairway up the side of the mountain that borders our town on the east. One afternoon in 2009 I climbed up those stairs and got some pictures of San Clemente from the top of the mountain.
The steps were rough and partially washed out in spots, but the climb was not too taxing and, in truth, I only went to the top of the stairs to get my pictures when there was a little more mountain to climb to get to the very top.
Since we have been back and living in San Clemente, I have had the nagging thought that I should climb up those stairs and get some more pictures of the town I have learned to love. So… In a continuing effort to, “act my age” (that being the age that I think I am in defiance of the age the calendar seems to suggest that I am), I determined to climb up those stairs and go all the way to the top of the mountain for some pictures.
A lot of things can happen to a dirt trail on the side of a mountain in four years! I could not even find the bottom of the path as it was covered in briar bushes and several rainy seasons have washed out almost all semblance of stairs. Still, I persevered and sacrificed my arms to numerous scratches to fight my way up what remained of the path.
The trail is actually quite steep and the mountain is quite high and… a lot of things can happen to a man’s ability to climb in four years!
This is what the mountain looks like from the front of our house looking upward.
I think May had her doubts (and I harbored a few myself) that I could make it, so she had me bring my phone up to call her when I reached the top. Mary took these pictures
while I took this picture of Mary on the guest bedroom deck.
There you have it – photographic evidence that I actually reached the top.
Now some photos that made the climb well worth the effort. First looking south toward San Jacinto with Crucita further up the coast.
Then the roadway toward Bahia
Here is a view of the city of San Clemente.
The Vistazul complex that looked like this in 2009
Now looks like this:
The street that now has houses that belong to Jan and Lou and Mary looked like this in 2009:
Now looks like this (note: jan’s house is on the beach with the blue roof and Lou and Mary’s house is on the left now with a yellow roof):
The Norte fishing group from above:
Our beach access road from above:
Mary sitting reading on the deck waiting to see if the old man will make it home:
And Jackie’s house on the far north end of town (notice the blue roof):
I have also written about the new cross that was erected on the mountain by the town. I found out that the original cross was erected in 1962 when I saw this plaque at the base of the current cross.
The cross was the only thing standing taller than I was this afternoon in San Clemente as it reached up into the clear blue skies.
I sat for a while and looked at the ocean through our new binoculars to see if I could see any fishing boats or shrimp trawlers. As I scanned the water I saw two bright white spumes of water erupt into the air and sure enough several humpback whales broached the surface and bobbed along there for a few minutes before diving out of sight!
Being retired I had nothing pressing to do, so I sat a bit longer and waited to see if I could see more whales. I thought I saw several only to be disappointed. But, about fifteen minutes later I was rewarded again with the distinctive white spray as two more whales blew out spumes of water and crested on the surface for a minute or so. What a special surprise blessing that was!
One last view of San Clemente and I was on my way back down the mountain.
I have some degeneration in the cartilage of my knees, so the trek down was actually a bit more scary for me as I worried about my knees buckling. I tried a different route down and ended up at a hundred foot long spillway that I coasted down on my seat like a little boy! I came out by my friend Clavin’s house and had only about a three block walk to where I had left my bicycle.
A shower and a great meal later and I am ready to climb that mountain again…Or maybe I will just go to bed and wait another four years to see if they can fix that stairway. Yeah, I think that is what I will do!
Life is good in Ecuador!