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301. Monument Peak (01/18/03)

Hikers (19): Alana, CJ, Cynthia, Eugene, Janice, Jason, Jayne, Kyle, Matthew, Mozhdeh, Padraig, Peter, Rob P, Russ, Sergei, Steve, Sue, Taylor, Tom X
Distance: 8 miles
Rating: 3 difficulty, 9 beauty
Park info: Ed R. Levin County Park in the Milpitas foothills

Write-up by Steve

The major goal of this hike was to make sure we actually hiked to Monument Peak. With all the tower construction up there, not to mention severe lack of signage and many new roads, we hadn't successfully found the peak since 12/98. But I had a few tricks up my sleeve.

The new route caused a little bit of a problem, so I asked one of the rangers where the trailhead was. This was apparently such a major event that Sue G took pictures. I never figured out if it was rare that I would ask directions, or if it was just that guys don't ask directions, but it appeared to be a big hoot for all the ladies in the crowd!

There was a pretty big turn out on this hike, with five first-time hikers. Some of the newbies were shooting up the hills (e.g. Padraig), some had no problem with the pace (e.g. Tom), and others were dragging the whole time (and some of that crowd wasn't even new).

The new route had some kinks, but we managed to pick the correct paths the whole way up. Due to a massive branching of trails near the top, however, we needed to wait for everyone to catch up. This took forever! Peter started getting antsy, and set off on his own to find the peak. I tried to point him on the right way (based on the GPS and topo map), but he wasn't having any of that. That was no problem, as he had plenty of time to meander anyway.

After investigating the first peak, we watched him move over to the second one (where the GPS pointed) and then declare it correct. In fact, it even had the USGS marker! Good job--the peak was unambiguously identified, and we all headed over there soon after. The peak, in fact, used to have a tower, but it had been completely removed (the concrete base was all that remained).

This is sort of interesting since in 1997-8 we had no problem finding this peak, thanks to the identifying tower, but from 2000 on, we could never officially find it. Mystery solved--the tower was removed. That ol' tower won me $20 once, when Peter and Russ dared me to climb to the top. Those were the days!

Once we had all enjoyed our lunches (which also took a long while), we herded together and took a different route back, where we got to watch some paragliders flying around. All and all, a good hike.

Remember: Monument Peak is the one without a tower.

Milestones:
CJ's 1st leaf
Kyle's 1st leaf
Padraig's 1st leaf
Rob P's 1st leaf
Russ's 240th leaf
Tom X's 1st leaf



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