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418. Mission Peak (10/23/04)

Hikers (12): Eugene, Janice, Less, Oliver, Padraig, Peter, Rich, Ross, Steve, Sue, Taylor, Trish C
Distance: 6 miles
Rating: 3 difficulty, 8 beauty
Park info: Mission Peak Regional Preserve in Fremont

Write-up by Steve

Since it was supposed to rain, Mission Peak was the obvious choice for the hike. This was INCH's 27th visit to our most-often-hiked location, and my first hike after returning from a two-month hike-filled sabbatical. Peter quipped "This is the best you could come up with after Kili?". He'd later discover that this ol' mountain still had something new for him.

Although it looked like it might rain, the parking lot was packed on this cool October morning. This caused many of us to park far down the street, but everyone was still ready to go at 10am.

1-2-3 INCH

To mix it up a little, I planned to take everyone around the back of Mission Peak instead of our normal route. We regrouped near the park residence with this in mind, but newbie Trish C, Padraig, and Eugene were nowhere to be found. Peter started hiking up the "new" trail, moaning about backaches from not moving. After a while, we all started on the path, motivated by the slight drizzle and figuring the other guys could take the normal (and faster) route to the top.

Not too far up the Grove Trail were several cows and a fairly young calf. Janice had brought Less the Dog, whose loping curiosity set one of the cows charging. . .toward us! This, in turn, sent Taylor running the opposite direction. Long story short, Janice called Less back, and everything was fine. Taylor, though, wasn't having any of it, and hiked up to the top via our normal route. Although it happened 305 hikes ago, she didn't want to become the second MP cow victim.

When Ross and I caught up to Peter on the last uphill section of the hike (and told him he had abandoned his new wife in her time of trauma), we learned that he had never hiked this route before. This was quite a surprise since The Man enjoys the backdoor routes. Even on his 20th visit with INCH, ol' Mission Peak still had something new to offer. As we summited, all the INCH veterans remembered to tag the Mission Peak marker. It brought tears to my eyes (or was that the rain?). Even Less gave it a paw with Janice's help.

Taylor came up the normal path, but hadn't seen our three missing people. Mission Peak has a reputation of eating new hikers, so we figured Padraig's friend Trish C. was the latest casualty, and the other two guys had gone back with her. As we headed down, I was already thinking about the impending black leaves when we saw Eugene and Padraig. Below them a fair distance, but still coming up, was Trish. Good job! We talked for a while until Trish caught up, and then the three of them went up to the summit.

Not too much to report for the path down (except that the drizzle stopped). Back in the parking lot, Oliver's crazy new ham-radio antenna was the highlight.

Taylor's 190th leaf
Trish C's 1st leaf

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