Journey: 52 Hikes and more

Archive for the month “October, 2010”

Hike 43 – With Clare and Bear, May 2, 2010

This was probably going to be my last hike for this project in the East Bay hills.  With rising temperatures and the hills turning brown, soon I might not enjoy hiking here.  That thought brought a temporary cloud of gloom.

I was however getting tired of seeing familiar landscapes and that had left me uninspired to take too many photographs.  The ones I was taking were similar to ones I had taken before.  A change would be good.

The good news was that soon I’d be hiking along the ocean, bay or in the city.  Besides, I only had nine more hikes to go for this project and then I could move on to other things.  My heart skipped like a pebble on a pond.

On most days, I would not bother with a short 5.7 mile hike.  But today was different because I was going to complete the Diablo Trail.  Excitedly, I pulled up at the trailhead for the Highland Trail in Morgan Territory Regional Preserve along the Morgan Territory road.  The time was shortly after 7:30 AM and the temperature was 46 degrees.

I figured it would take about two hours to complete this.  Total climb would be around 700 feet.  With such an early start, I would be home in no time and have the rest of the day to fritter away.  The first mile of the hike had some climbing to it but beyond that everything was going to be easy.

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Hike 42 – Conquering My Everest, May 1, 2010

This hike is going to be brutal.  I know it but I have to do it.  I’m doing everything I can too not feel too anxious.

The last time I was here on a hot summer afternoon, I had to give up and complete it a different time.  Today, I had to conquer this hill.  This time I had two strong allies on my side: experience, and better planning.

My goal was a modest 11.2 mile hike with about 1,850 feet of total climb.  The section I struggled with two years ago was a 1,000 foot climb in just over a mile.  It was a hot summer afternoon and I almost made it to the top before concluding it was best to turn around and live another day.  I completed the section from the opposite direction later.

At 7:10 AM, I pulled into the Round Valley Regional Preserve parking lot.  The temperature this early was a cool 56 degrees.  It looked like an awesome day to hike.  Conditions were windy and a little cold but those would only help me in my hike.  Out here, I’ll gladly take windy and cold over hot and stuffy conditions.

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Hike 41 – Roller Coaster Hike, April 25, 2010

Early in the morning, I drove in a semi-awake state to Danville.  Through my narrowed eyes, I noted some wild turkeys along the road.  Adrenalin socked my body awake.  I hoped these turkeys weren’t plotting a fatal attack.  They might be po’d at me for savoring their kith and kin.  They could have picked up hunting and stalking techniques from mountain lions that roam the hills and backyards of Danville and I may be their next target.  Thankfully, rational thoughts prevailed; I was not intercepted by wild turkeys.

Around 7:15 AM, I quietly walked up a private road at the end of a Danville cul-de-sac.  A sign had made it clear that if I did not behave, my fellow hikers could lose their access.  Many sections of the West are still open to the public because of the generosity of these landowners.  I respect their privacy and magnanimity, so I put on my responsible and honorable citizen’s act and walked with delicate and deliberate steps.  My shoulders dropped under the pressure.

My goal was to link my two previous hikes and cover section two of six of the Diablo Trail.  This would connect Emmons Canyon to Black Hawk Ridge.  Total distance including access to the trail and back would be about 12.5 miles with about 2,400 feet of climbing.

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Hike 40 – The Memory-less Hike, April 24, 2010

“Who is the Jackass now, Mr. 52 Hikes?”  The trail was mocking me.

Have you ever noticed how some names leave you scratching your head, “Huh?  What kind of a knucklehead came up with that name?”  I can assure you that you won’t be doing that on the Jackass Canyon Trail because only a jackass would venture out on this unmarked, barely visible, overgrown and wet trail.

My legs, body and arms felt like they were being sliced by a thousand bitter blades.  Would this improve my aerodynamic properties and help me glide through these trails faster?

The trousers were wet from the waist down, adding to the burden of the challenge.  And I was hiking with my arms up in the air.  A hostage of the thistle, wild on this untamed trail.  The uncertainty wore down my determination.  I was unsure if this was the actual trail.

Thankfully I soon saw a Mt. Diablo State Park boundary marker next to the trail.  There could only be one reason for the sign to be here.  I was on the right trail and that realization brought a smile to my face.

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