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1106. Russ's Semi Super Hike (10/29/17)

Hikers (29): Baltazar, Brad, Cecilia, Chinyet, Chris P, Dan, George Re, HaJo, Hima, Hong, Iris, Jackie, Jeff V, Jim, Kathryn, Manfred, Nagendra, Qi, Ramesh, Robin, Russ, Russell, Sabine, Sarah, Shuli, Sophie, Steve, Vicki, Yipeng
Distance: 12 miles
Rating: 2 difficulty, 9 beauty

Russ owes a writeup! -- Pictures by Steve

Backup story

Russ scheduled a hike that was just short enough to make me [Steve] look around for something that could be added to it. For ten years I'd been eyeing a route that involved heading up a creek to a road (Old Page Mill Road) that had not been open in decades. The hike would be twice as long as the listed hike. Sunset was 6:15, so had to get the first part over with as quickly as possible because the middle section would definitely be slow going. Despite my effort to be "fast", Chinyet and Brad were on my tail all the way to the top of Grizzly Flat. In fact Chinyet jogged by right at the end.

While crossing Skyline Blvd, I realized I'd lost my map, which had a crucial page highlighting the off-trail portion of the hike. Luckily, Brad appeared a few minutes later and had picked it up. At this point, we had all averaged 4 mph. So while I had an agenda, Brad and Chinyet were just trucking for no good reason. That was the last I saw of INCH, because I headed down, down, down to Peter's Creek Loop in Portola Redwood State Park.

Old half-truck a bit outside Portola. . .

Finally made it to a location where I could get back on an old road. . .

Long story short, it was a harrowing experience. At one point, I was dangling over a landslide, holding on to the bottom of a medium-sized tree, telling myself that panicking would only waste the energy I'd need to extract myself out of the situation. It definitely made my Top 10 Stupid Adventures list.

When I got back--one minute before sunset--I had scores of cuts from the thorny foliage, landslide bypasses, and blowdown climb-overs. While I was cleaning up, a Lyft dropped off a young couple with a sizable pile of supplies. They later walked up and asked if I knew the way to the campground. It took a while (due to my depleted state) to realize they were hiking over to the camp near Black Mountain. Not sure if they made it before dark. . .But it did reinforce the idea that Uber/Lyft/taxi is a good alternative to shuttling for non-loop hikes. Hmmmm, so many ideas.

Alpine Lake (and the Nature Center) in nice lighting

Baltazar's 10th leaf
Dan's 60th leaf
HaJo's 1st leaf
Manfred's 10th leaf

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