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388. Mission Peak (04/24/04)

Hikers (24): Alan W, Alexandre, Blinky, Brin, Cal, Carissa, Cristina, David, Eugene, George, Gwynneth, Janice, Jinglan, Judy, Kevin T, Less, Nancy, Oliver, Padraig, Ross, Rus R, Tammy, Taylor, Tim
Distance: 6 miles
Rating: 3 difficulty, 8 beauty
Park info: Mission Peak Regional Preserve in Fremont

Write-up by Cal

Peter's note: I missed this hike, but I knew Cal had been planning an extended trail to supplement the Mission Peak hike. From what Taylor told me after the hike, the Mission Peak portion of the hike was unadventurous -- the usual trail, without anything special to report, except for some significant milestones (see below). But when Cal called me at 3pm that day, huffing and puffing, to tell me it was another INCH classic, I knew something must have happened. Here is Cal's tale ...

1, 2, 3, ... INCH!

George and I had discussed doing the "Baloney" (bi-Ohlone or ½ the Ohlone) Hike to see what the trail looked like and to get in some additional hiking. The Mission Peak hike this weekend was a perfect chance to do this, even though it was from the finish end of Ohlone. George and I talked about hiking to Marker 11, which is the lowest point on the trail (not considering the beginning and ending points) and would let us experience the "climb-out". When we got to Mission Peak, David, Tim, Beth, and Nancy decided to join George and myself for this extended hike. Technically it was not the true Baloney Hike as George pointed out, but a two times bi-baloney hike since we were only doing ¼ of the Ohlone ... can you follow that?!

After a little problem finding the trail and going around a herd of cows that blocked the trail, we headed to Marker 11 (which is 7.73 miles from the Stanford Ave parking lot or 15.46 mi round trip + Mission Peak = 16 miles, with 3500-4000' climbing). The weather was perfect with a nice cool breeze. The trail was mostly downhill with portions of steep downhill but not anything like Sizer. Just before reaching Marker 11 the downhill turned steep and Beth knowing she needed to get back, stopped and started her return. When we reached Marker 11 (which is the road near Sunol Park) George did some scouting to see where the trail went and how far we were from camp water.

After resting for a little while, we started climbing back up. We had completed the steep climb from Marker 11. Nancy was walking with Tim and I was behind them with George quickly catching up after he did some foot repair. Tim had stopped walking (he told Nancy he just wanted to rest) and as I approached him, I asked how he was doing. He said he wasn’t sure but said he was low on water and asked if we had any extra. By now, George had caught up, but Nancy, Beth and Dave were ahead and out of sight. George, who was carrying the San Jose water supply with him for training weight, filled up Tim's bottle.

As we started walking, Tim complained of chest pains, so we stopped immediately. George gave him an aspirin, I gave him some electrolyte capsules, and he ate some trail mix, drank more water and rested. After about 10 minutes we started hiking again and after about 100 feet, Tim said the pain in his chest had returned and was bad, he felt light headed (dizzy) and had pressure on his chest. We walked a little further into the shade and Tim sat down. After a little discussion, it was decided that we needed to contact help to see if a Ranger could drive him out. We were about 2 miles from Mission Peak and 5 miles from the parking lot ... much more hiking to do. I'm sure you are thinking what we all thought at the time. But Tim told us he had a problem recently with some chest pain and went to the doctor where it was attributed to something not serious.

I managed to contact the Regional Park Fire and Police on my cell phone (Blinky, ready to admit cell phones are awesome?), and they called in the troops. Tim actually spoke with them over the phone, and they said they were sending a helicopter. Tim told the person on the phone it wasn't necessary, but they said the copter is just for spotting, and they would send a truck. Oh, okay, perhaps a ride down in a ranger pickup would fit the bill.

By this time Beth, David, and Nancy had contacted us by walkie-talkie (walkie-talkies rule!) and came back to find us. Thanks, because having the whole group there made a difference. Meanwhile, we practiced our waving signals and George took out his knife to reflect the sunlight in case we needed to signal them. Apparently the directions were OK because the chopper which arrived 15-20 minutes later (it had to refuel after a rescue earlier in the day) found us dead on. It circled and via a loud speaker told us the rescue vehicles were on their way.

Thirty minutes later, the fire engine, ambulance, fire chief pickup, a 4-wheel ranger truck, and a couple of cop cars show up. On the Ohlone Trail !!!!! After they got Tim "packaged and loaded" (EMT speak) their biggest problem was figuring out where to turn around - D'oh!!

The remaining group headed back on the trail. The long hike out wasn’t too bad but how would it feel after hiking 20 miles?!!! By this time the temperature started to climb and it was HOT. George and David moved out and Blinky busted a move on the hike out as she had an appointment. In a show of the great INCH organizational skills, Beth was going to take George’s car to her house, George would drive Tim's car to the hospital, David would follow George and give me a ride home.

Nancy and I hiked the rest of the way together occasionally jogging down the hill to help with slipping on the loose gravel and to GET THIS HIKE OVER and out of the hot sun. When we reached the parking lot Peter called again to see if there was any further news on Tim but the ambulance hadn’t passed us (it must have taken a different route). George, David, and Beth were there getting ready to leave. I stopped and said hi (that was about all I could muster) and headed for my car which was parked another half mile down the road. The real Ohlone could be a killer.

Epilog: Tim spent a few hours in the emergency room and they kept him in the hospital overnight for observation. His EKG was fine, but Tim was smart to get checked out, as his family has some unfortunate history in this regard. George reported that Tim was sitting up and looked fine, except for all the tubes and wires. George and David scrammed out of there when they wheeled in the portable X-ray machine. He was released from hospital the next day. Hope to see him on another hike soon!

Cal's 80th leaf
Cristina's 10th leaf
Tammy's 10th leaf
Taylor's 180th leaf

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