Journey: 52 Hikes and more

Archive for the tag “Morgan Territory”

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 37 – The Wind Battered Diablo Trail, April 10, 2010

Ever tried reasoning with the wind?  Here’s a tip: don’t, because you can’t.

That is exactly what I was trying to do on the trail and it was not working.  The meteorologists had called it wrong again.  According to them, we would have winds of 12-13 miles in the morning, 20-30 miles in the afternoon, while some areas along the coast might get up to 60 mph winds later in the day.  These were more like 80 mile winds on steroids smacking me around effortlessly.  Thankfully I was not hiking along a cliff otherwise the results could be disastrous.

Meanwhile, I was not the only one struggling.  Birds were having a tough time controlling their flight too.  Two swallows narrowly missed crashing into my head.  This would make quite an interesting story for the emergency room crew.  I can picture them in a break-room, “Remember the time this guy was wheeled into the hospital with two swallows impaled in his forehead?”  If I didn’t know better, I’d accuse the swallows of drunk flying.

Meanwhile, snot was doing a salmon run up one nostril and sliding across and taking off for ports unknown along the other cheek.  I had wisely tied the hat down but my clothes were flapping like renegade flags and the straps on my daypack were beating together like thunder.  I called my logistical support team, my wife at home, to check on the weather for me.  She reported that the forecast had not changed.

About an hour earlier, at 7:30 AM I began my hike in Morgan Territory Regional Preserve. The temperature at the trailhead was 48 degrees but I hoped to warm up quickly as the trail climbed.  Based on the forecast, the morning would be cold but bearable, but conditions would get worse as the day progressed.  A quick early hike seemed plausible.

Unfortunately, the higher I climbed, the colder and windier it got.  Within minutes my eyes and nose started running and did not stop until I was safely back inside the car a few hours later.  The plan was to hike a total of 11 miles along the Diablo Trail.  This was going to be section 4 of 6 of the 30-odd mile long Diablo Trail.  I would begin on the Diablo Ridge Trail along Morgan Territory Road and head out 5.5 miles towards Old Finley Road and turn back at the intersection of Black Hills and Sulphur Spring trails.

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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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