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454. Huddart Park & Phleger Estate (07/23/05)

Hikers (42): Amit, Andrew, Angela L, Bruce, Carissa, Carol W, Chester, Dave W, Dinesh, Edita, Elaine, Emmanuelle, Eugene, Gwynneth, Hima, Hoy, Janice, Jennifer, Jinglan, John L, Judy, Padraig, Patrick, Patrick D, Paul, Peter, Raja, Rich, Ross, Russ, Sabine, Schunder, Scott, Sharon A, Sparky, Steve, Sue, Taylor, Tom D, Wennie, Xun, Yipeng
Distance: 8 miles
Rating: 2 difficulty, 8 beauty
Park info: Huddart County Park in Woodside

Write-up by Steve

The short summary of the hike would go something like this: record turn-out, three black leaves, and one person kicked off the mailing list. But the whole story isn't too much longer than that.

It was clear that the hike was going to be a big one: 31 people had signed up on the web page. Things quickly got out of a hand when twelve additional people dropped in, including representatives from Chester and Carissa's family. That's right, we had the famous Wu-Wang Clan, known for their far-East-Coast rap. On the opposite extreme, someone named Jaya was a third-time no-show. She became the first person kicked off the mailing list for signing up for hikes.

I had made "only" twenty maps, so requested that everyone make sure they really needed one. So successful was my pleading that I ended up with three extras. D'oh. Still, seventeen maps should be more than enough to get everyone through the two parks, right?

1-2-3 INCH!

It was impossible for everyone to "get skin" in the INCH circle, but we did the best we could. The hike proceeded in an orderly fashion into Phleger Estate. By then the group had spread out quite a bit. Myself and others drew/built arrows along the route through Phleger, and I managed to catch up to the front of the line to direct people down the correct trail into Huddart. From there I waited a very long time for everyone to trickle in. The last group informed me that several people had gone the wrong way in Phelger (taking the Mt. Redondo Trial back toward Raymundo). Hard to believe, since Phleger has enormous (and cool-looking) signs hanging at every junction (unlike Huddart), not to mention our hand-crafted arrows. Long story short, Sharon A and Wu-Wang-associates Carol W and Angela L continued on the Mt. Redondo Trail, refusing to back-track, and earned Black Leaves of Shame.

When it was determined that no one else was coming, the last group (Judy, Jinglan, Patrick H, Jennifer C, her friend Tom D, and myself) headed down the trail. We came to a junction that was clearly marked with an arrow, but I didn't believe it, and continued down the trail. It eventually ended, so turned around and headed back to the arrow. Judy went the whole way, but the rest of the group went perhaps 100 yards past the arrow before seeing us returning. Already they were lamenting about the "extra distance", portending of things to come.

From there, things went steeply downhill (literally and figuratively). It became clear that we weren't in the right area, causing parts of the crew to get concerned (grueling level-2 hike that it was). When we reached an unexpected camp (Toyan), I finally figure it out--we had somehow missed the Chinquapin Trail and ended up on Richard's Road Trial. Despite knowing exactly where we were, showing it on the map, pointing out that we had actually made the hike shorter, and noting the marked trailhead, I still had a tough time convincing Jinglan to continue down the trail (she wanted to take the paved road). Patrick H didn't help much when he assured me that we had already hiked longer than promised (not true!). When I let fly a motivational expletive toward Jinglan, I received an upbraiding from Jennifer C. Sheesh--this job sucks!

Toyon Camp was a mere mile or so from the parking area, and most of it was nicely shaded. In fact, Huddart and Phlegar delivered as usual--nice scenery, easy hiking, and cool temperatures in the shade. Fifty yards from the end of the trail, Jinglan hiked off-trail into a picnic area, bent on hiking the least possible distance. We reached the end before her, where we discovered that almost everyone had taken the wrong route. How did that happen? Because the trail I directed everyone down in Huddart was the wrong one. Whoops! Must have been the crushing pressure of 42 hikers.

With much relief, the largest hike in INCH's nine-year history was over, and everyone survived. We lounged about for a while, eating various tasty snacks people had brought. A good end to a short, easy, and not-without-drama hike. Note to self--no more easy hikes!

Milestones:
Angela L's 1st leaf
Carol W's 1st leaf
Dave W's 1st leaf
John L's 1st leaf
Patrick D's 1st leaf
Raja's 1st leaf
Schunder's 1st leaf
Tom D's 1st leaf
Xun's 1st leaf



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