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294. Arastradero Loop (11/23/02)

Hikers (17): Alana, Cal, Elaine, Greg, Guillermo, Hoy, Janice, Jason, Jean, Jinglan, Jodie, Judy X, Karin, Patrick, Peter, Russ, Steve
Distance: 6 miles
Rating: 2 difficulty, 8 beauty
Park info: Arastradero Preserve near Palo Alto

Write-up by Steve

I had a secret plan for this hike. I was going to sneak into the well-maintained, yet off-limits, Foothill Preserve. While the City of Palo Alto is kind enough to share Arastradero Preserve with the free world, they keep Foothills all for themselves. What could be less conspicuous than 17 people sneaking into the park?

1-2-3 INCH!

We started up the Arastradero Creek Trail, which was easy going and shaded. We took the only "steep" section (Woodrat Trail) up to meet Meadowlark. Any normal hiker would have stayed on Meadowlark, but we proceeded onto the Bowl Loop trail in the back of the park. This trail is mostly for mountain bikers, but appeared to give access to the secret back entrance to Foothill! After three quarters of a mile, we found ourselves near a giant depression in the ground, complete with a few dirt ramps around it. This was clearly "The Bowl" that gives the trail its name. Unfortunately, this also meant that, if there were a back entrance, we had missed it. "Oh, unfair gods who deny me what is not mine!"

But, no big deal--it was still a nice little hike, and we went on to hike the rest of the park, including the Red Fern trail on the opposite side. At the end, we were all happy and not tired (except maybe Jinglan). This is a nice park, but probably only 10% as super-cool as the well-kept Foothill! Someday. . .

Alana's 1st leaf
Elaine's 1st leaf
Greg's 1st leaf
Janice's 20th leaf
Jinglan's 20th leaf
Judy X's 1st leaf

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