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114. Mission Peak (04/03/99)

Hikers (2): Beth, Steve
Distance: 6 miles
Rating: 4 difficulty, 8 beauty
Park info: Mission Peak Regional Preserve in Fremont

Write-up by Steve

This was INCH's 12th trip to Mission Peak (via various routes), but unlike the previous ones, this was about vengeance. Russell's incident the prior week needed closure. The humans of the Bay Area needed to show the bovines that they'd have to hobble all of us to keep us out. Even after Russell's impassioned plea for everyone to join in our march on the cows, no one could make it, citing any number of excuses but always looking around shiftily for charging cows. Only Beth was woman enough to join me on the hike. It was us against them for the big Cowfrontation.

1, 2, 3, ... INCH!

Actually, the cheer was a little delayed. I didn't want to start the cheer until we reached the gate (after walking up the Ohlone-college eroding-hill drainage-ditch trail), and then forgot as I was walking through it. Fortunately, Beth remembered, lest we jinx the hike!

So we're off. Beth hadn't witnessed Russ's demise, so as we approached our first cow (smack dab in the middle of the trail, with a vertical incline on one side and a precipitous drop on the other), she walked right on by (as I whimpered and scurried behind her). The cow didn't make any moves, so I was starting to regain my "cows are passive" stance. Not too much later, we encountered a massive lone cow. I took the longest possible route to avoid it and hiked as nonchalantly as possible. Beth at least deviated from a straight line this time.

From there on, it was largely a cow-free hike and, as such, it was the same old Mission Peak. The Ohlone College passage, although advertised as easier, was about the same difficulty as the normal MP approach, maybe harder if you factor in cow avoidance.

We weren't completely out of the clear. On the way back, we saw a group of hikers coming up the trail with a cow coming down the side of the hill on an intersecting path. As the cow reached the trail (just behind the hikers), she mooed angrily (like the cows at Black Diamond Mines during our other major bovine experience), causing the hikers to screech and jog ahead a little. I immediately climbed up the side of the hill, and Beth wisely did the same. We walked above the cow and the hikers, finally rejoining the trail farther down. And that was it. Fear not the cows!

Unlike most Mission Peak hikes, this one was had meaning as we took back the park in the name of humans everywhere. However, least we boast too much, it is important to note that Russ had had the "mad" cow removed the prior week (no kidding), so perhaps our success was in part due to Russ's anti-cow lobbying effort.

Beth's 40th leaf

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