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24. Mission Peak (02/08/97)

Hikers (5): Gina, Nanda, Peter, Russ, Taylor
Distance: 6 miles
Rating: 4 difficulty, 8 beauty
Park info: Mission Peak Regional Preserve in Fremont

Write-up by Peter

We needed something short but still worthwhile, so we decided to return to Mission Peak (see Hike #4). As with Murietta Falls last week, we figured it would be much easier to do this hike in February than in the heat of summer, so we took minimal liquids and didn't even bother taking lunch.

The usual Three Old-Timers met at the Intel parking lot, and it looked like it was going to be a small turnout, but just as we were about to head out, we were pleasantly surprised to see that after weeks of weasely excuses, Nanda finally showed up for a hike. Not only that, but when we reached the trailhead, Gina showed up too!

There had been a threat of rain the previous day, but this morning the sun was peeking out from between the clouds and it was a perfect day for a hike. Unlike the summer when the hills were brown and dusty and the air was hazy and buggy, the fields were covered with a beautiful green carpet and the air was crisp and clean.

1, 2, 3, ... HIKE!

Rusty and I wanted to go all the way to the peak without stopping, so we took the early lead and just kept going. Nanda, Gina, and Taylor stuck together and were close behind most of the way. We did make a couple of mini-stops to put some arrows down for them, but they didn't even see them -- dang!

It took exactly one hour for Rusty and myself to get to the top. I finally got to do what I had always wanted to do on a hike -- have a beer at the peak. That Sam Adams tasted good!

The view from the top was partially obscured by the mist rolling in below our feet. By the time the rest of the gang showed up about 15 minutes later, the mist had enveloped us and blocked out the view completely. It was also pretty chilly, but we had been prepared for this and broke out the sweatshirts.

We didn't stick around for long and headed straight back down. The smart ones shortcut through the switchbacks, but the diehards (Rusty) stuck to the trail all the way. After all, The Man could not shortcut on the hike where he was to earn his 20th I.N.C.H. leaf -- the legendary Doubletree!

When we got back, Rusty and I celebrated with a big lunch at Chattanooga, followed by a nice nap (not together!!!), and then an evening of fine entertainment: Star Wars. May the hike be with you!

Russ's 20th leaf

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