Journey: 52 Hikes and more

Archive for the month “January, 2010”

Hike 20 – Windmills in the Fog, December 20, 2009

As noted in my previous post, I had to keep my hike short because of the short hours of daylight and a sick wife at home.  Also, the weather was not supposed to be the greatest but there was a brief window open, so at least I could go on a short hike.

My hike almost did not happen.  Driving on Marsh Creek Road towards Vasco Road, I almost had a head-on collision with another car.  For some reason, on this narrow, winding road, the driver of the car preferred to drive on my side of the road instead of his own.  Luckily, he was awake, and thankfully, he corrected his mistake in time and we both survived a potential mess.

What was bad now was that sections of the drive were covered by dense fog.  I feared that there might be no sun throughout the hike and consequently would not get any pictures at all.  Then, as I approached Livermore, things seemed to clear up a bit.  I allowed myself some hope that the sun might come out after all.

The forecasters had predicted otherwise, with increasing cloudiness as the morning progressed.  But I’m an optimist, no matter what the weather forecasters say.  They may have advanced scientific degrees, sophisticated satellite images, state-of-the-art computing horsepower, and avant-garde mathematical models, but none of them can beat hope.

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Hike 19 – Kind of Blue, Kind of Grey, December 19, 2009

Hiking in winter in the Bay Area can be challenging.  The hours of available daylight are short and often there is heavy fog or rain.  Sometimes the trails are muddy, waterlogged or impassable from recent rains.

All week long I had paid attention to the weather forecast and it appeared that this was going to be the better day for a hike this weekend.  The weather would be good for a few hours only, so I had to do what I could with this limited opening.  In addition, my wife was down with a cold so I did not want to spend too much time on the trail, away from home.  My goal was to do a hike along the Bob Walker Ridge in Morgan Territory Preserve.

I left home under distressing conditions.  There was heavy fog everywhere with visibility down to about 100 ft on sections of the road.  The drive along Morgan Territory Preserve Road can be dangerous under these conditions since a section of it is a winding single-lane track.  Traffic has to come to a near stop to let vehicles pass from the other side.  Thankfully I did not encounter any traffic from the opposite side on that section.

The sun finally came out about two miles before I got to the trailhead.  I had been climbing steadily and the trailhead elevation was just above 2,000 ft.  Shortly after 8:15 AM I pulled into the parking lot.  The temperature was 46 degrees and the sun was out.  Yippee!

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Hike 18 – The Ridges of Las Trampas, December 6, 2009

Lately I’ve been obsessing about an old song by Kris Kristofferson called “Sunday Morning Going Down”. It has been covered by many musicians and I really like Phosphorescent’s version of it. You can listen to it here:

The lyrics are amazing and I wish I could write half as well as Mr. Kristofferson.

Well I woke up Sunday morning
With no way to hold my head that didn’t hurt
And the beer I had for breakfast wasn’t bad
So I had one more for dessert
Then I fumbled through my closet for my clothes
And found my cleanest dirty shirt
And I shaved my face and combed my hair
And stumbled down the stairs to meet the day…

I woke up early Sunday morning and logged on to the computer. Yes, I wanted to get an early start on my hike, but I also needed my morning dose of the Internet. An hour later I reluctantly shut the computer down and thought about the hike. Until a few days ago, I had no plans of hiking this weekend, but the weather forecast had changed and this was going to be the best opportunity I would have for a while. After that, either the weather would turn unkind or I had other commitments. Already behind on my trekking goals, I did not want to fall further behind.

So somewhat reluctantly I got out of bed, shaved, showered and put my hiking clothes on. At 8:20 AM, I pulled into the Las Trampas Staging Area parking lot. The temperature was 42 degrees and the speed limit in the last section of the road was 15 mph. I was glad it wasn’t the other way around. Still, 42 is cold enough for me. I would gladly take 50 degrees any day.

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