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185. Alviso Slough (10/14/00)

Hikers (7): Cynthia, Eugene, Janet, Lixin, Liz, Steve, Tracy
Distance: 8 miles
Rating: 1 difficulty, 6 beauty
Park info: South Bay marshlands near Alviso

Write-up by Steve

Ah, I remember this hike as though it were yesterday, even though I'm writing it up slightly more than four years afterward.

I live near HWY 237 and Zanker Av., which sports a sign for "Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge" (DESFBNWR). For years I saw this sign and wondered about the mysterious place with the incredibly long name. I finally looked it up on-line and found that it didn't contain any reasonable hikes. However, I did find a long trail starting at the Alviso Marina which skirted the edge of DESFBNWR. As a side bonus, Peter and Russ were both out of town, so we'd all get a cheap leaf in their absence.

1, 2, 3. . .INCH!

Although I was a bit worried about getting lost on the hike, it turns out that the trail is easy to follow. Having done this hike many times since, the directions can be stated as "Keep turning right, but don't cross any railroad tracks". Following those directions results in an eight mile counter-clockwise loop around the slough. The entire trail is atop a 12-foot wide dirt bulwark, and makes for easy hiking (and even easier biking). On a good day, you can see stacks of salt in the distance. On any day, you'll see plenty of birds.

Cynthia's friends Tracy and Liz were on their first hike (never to return again). Lixin from Berkeley was also out for his first hike. Janet Wang (who would later marry another of our hikers and move to Arizona) and Eugene rounded out the group.

Tracy and Liz were dragging, but eventually we completed the hike without incident. I'm sure there were lots of birds and possibly some funny Alviso/Milpitas odors. . .but either way, this hike became infamous as the benchmark for Level One hikes.

Lixin's 1st leaf
Liz's 1st leaf
Tracy's 1st leaf

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