Journey: 52 Hikes and more

Archive for the month “November, 2009”

Hike 11 – Flexing the Muscles in Briones, November 1, 2009

At 10 AM on Sunday, November 1, 2009, Lt. Cracker and I got together for a hike again.  He’d accompanied me on an earlier hike.  I had not hiked during the entire month of October and needed to flex some muscles.  I was also desperately falling behind in achieving my goal to hike 52 times within a year and needed to get back on track again.

It was the perfect day to be out on the trail; clear, sunny, 64 degrees with a light breeze blowing.  Since we planned to get our rusty systems working again, neither of us wanted to tackle anything strenuous or discouraging.  We decided to pick the route and figure out how far we’d hike once we got to the trailhead.  We parked along Springhill Road in Lafayette by Briones Regional Park and agreed to limit the hike to less than five miles.  A loop, if possible, would be ideal.

Mt. Diablo in the distance

Mt. Diablo in the distance

For those of you curious to know how Lt. Cracker got his name, the story goes like this.  Many years ago, we worked at the same firm, and one day our conversation at work drifted towards starting a donut club.  I told everyone in the room that I’d join only if it was a “true” donut club, as in one where members brought donuts only, not bagels or muffins.

I told them about my refusal to join the donut club at my previous office because nobody brought donuts.  People were bringing in healthier options to the donut club.  Since I was the only holdout, someone gave me the name “General Donut,” leader of the donut revolution.

A colleague, listening in on our conversation jumped in and suggested that if I was General Donut, then Graham had to be Lt. Cracker.  So that’s how Lt. Cracker got his name.

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Hike 10 – Golden Gate Overdose, September 27, 2009

Early on a Sunday morning, I got in the car with the aim of steering it towards San Francisco.  I was planning to go on an “urban hike.”  A few weeks back I wanted to do this but rain had washed the day off.  But today looked perfect for it.

The beginning

The beginning

Digging through the CD collection in the car looking for music to accompany me for the drive over, I rediscovered a gem: Mark Knopfler’s excellent album “Sailing To Philadelphia.”  I think this album is one of his best, even though it is about 10 years old now.

I admit to breaking speed limits in many states while listening to Mr. Knopfler’s “Speedway At Nazareth” on our cross-country drive in 2000.  This song always kicks my pulse and the speedometer on high.  The album sounds amazing driving through the prairie roads of Kansas or the open desert roads of Nevada.  But it works for me on the streets of San Francisco too.

The morning drive was uneventful until I got to the Golden Gate Park.  I was hoping to cut through the park on my way towards the Sutro Baths parking lot.  Unfortunately the road was closed due to the “Now And Zen” music festival hosted by a local radio station.  However there were no signs saying the road was closed and I almost ran into the barricades before safely stopping.

Along the trail

Along the trail

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