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448. Fremont Older's Drunken Hike (06/04/05)

Hikers (29): Arlene T, Bo, Bobbie, Carissa, Chester, Davey, Diana, Edita, Eugene, Eva X, George, Glen, Jinglan, Julie, Linda, Lori, Margaret L, Nathan M, Paul, Quinie, Rebecca, Rich, Rick, Ross, Scott, Steve, Vern, Walter, Yipeng
Distance: 9 miles
Rating: 3 difficulty, 7 beauty
Park info: Fremont Older Open Space Preserve in Cupertino

Write-up by Steve

It was time to pick up my Spring wine shipment from Picchetti, so 28 of my closest friends and I headed up to get it.

1-2-3 INCH!

We started with 24 hikers, including a new group of hikers (Arlene, Vern, and Margaret L) from the Hayward Hiking Club. The hike went pretty smoothly, and we got to hike on some newly (as in hours ago) repaired trail. A fairly large group of volunteers was working on various sections, and we did our part by packing the dirt back into the trail. . .

At the Stevens Creek crossing, people took three different routes. Some went across a fallen log section, some went across rocks and shallow water, and a third hydrophobic group decided to head for the bridge crossing. This last route turned out to be a longer detour than expected (it's up the road a good quarter mile), resulting in that group being far behind everyone else.

Since I was in the bridge group, it was time to turn the motor on and try to catch up. I had promised a free wine tasting to the first two hikers, and figured it wouldn't be fair unless I was there when it happened. Luckily, one hiker on the single-track Zinfandel Trail was successfully holding up most of the fast hikers, allowing me to catch up and pass.

As we crossed into the Picchetti Ranch OSP, there was a prominent "No Dogs" sign. This was consistent with the web page and was relevant because Quinie had brought her dog. We had discussed this in e-mail before the hike, and Quinie had called the winery to verify it would be OK. They said it was fine if the dog was well behaved (which means it doesn't scare people or peacocks).

In the last 50 yards before the winery (which is now on a fireroad), I jogged past the final group to get into the tasting room first, followed by a Ross, who figured out why I was running. Walt was next, and Edita managed to bat her eyes at the guy working the table to get an additional tasting on my account. I considered it a successful venture while downing my seventh sample, a fine members-only 2003 Picchetti port, made sweeter by its exclusivity! (So apparently delicious was this port that just seeing it inspired Edita to become a member to obtain a tasting)

Oddly, less than half the group came in to sample. Why come on a winery hike and not try the wine? The answer lay at the exit, where the group had commandeered three picnic tables. They were enjoying the excellent weather and the even more excellent spread of communal food, including some tasty cheeses from long-lost Linda (previous hike: 2.25 years prior). In an ironic twist, this was the only time I can remember that we didn't buy a case of wine and drink a couple bottles outside (which would have gone well with the food). Could it be that INCH is becoming a dry hiking group? That would be contrary to some of our founding ideals!

There was some wine out there, though. A half-empty glass of wine was sitting on the table, left behind by Quinie, who had been booted from the park because of her dog! D'oh! Guess that explains the pile of peacock feathers and crying babies.

About twenty minutes into the tasting, Rick and his "+ 4" (Eva X, Rebecca, Davey, Nathan M) appeared. They had arrived very late to the trailhead, but Rick's nose for liquor (and a prior visit on this hike), led them to the winery without too much problem. That swelled our number to 29, tying the record for third largest turnout.

The trip back was uneventful, with the group getting pretty spread out. The Hayward Hikers, used to a slower pace, wisely anticipated this. At the winery, Vern asked for directions on the map so they could return at a slower pace (and possibly a different route). Everyone made it back to the lot, and, after checking for golfball dents, half of us were back off to the carpool location. Another successful Picchetti visit (my two-bottle shipment made it back intact and unopened!).

Arlene T's 1st leaf
Bo's 1st leaf
Davey's 1st leaf
Eva X's 1st leaf
Jinglan's 70th leaf
Lori's 1st leaf
Margaret L's 1st leaf
Nathan M's 1st leaf
Rebecca's 1st leaf
Vern's 1st leaf

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