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491. Alviso Slough (02/18/06)

Hikers (16): Clara, Edita, Eugene, Jinglan, Joy, Ken, Nina, Padraig, Paul, Rachel, Sabine, Scott, Sparky, Steve, Sue, Walter
Distance: 8 miles
Rating: 1 difficulty, 8 beauty
Park info: South Bay marshlands near Alviso

Write-up by Sue

This hike was all about our most impressive streaker, Paul. No, no, not the kind of streaker you see at European soccer matches. The INCH variety of streaker. With this hike, Paul tied Peter's 8-year-old record streak of 45 consecutive hikes. We'll have to wait one more week to see if Paul breaks the record!

1, 2, 3, ... INCH!

Have you ever been to Alviso? It is like traveling back through a time warp. Luckily for the us, some of the parking lot and pathways had been upgraded since our last visit. We quickly reached the end of the nice pathway to find the mud. Did it rain that much, or is the water seeping up through the levee? Last time we were here, they were dredging the channel and building up the levee. Perhaps the levee is sinking back into the bay. . .or maybe it just rained more than I remembered.

The hike was pretty easy going: 2.25 hours of talking, walking and sightseeing. We saw the usual birds, including several egrets and seagulls on the pathway. The stranded, broken boats were still there. The only major change to the scenery was the majestic snow covered hills behind Mission Peak. It almost looked like Tahoe!

As we straggled into the parking lot, several of us tried to convince Steve that we should go to the Mexican restaurant instead of the traditional Vahl's. Steve quickly squashed the mutiny. Tradition is tradition and we headed off to Vahl's for lunch. Will Vahl's be the same without Amelia Vahl, the owner who had passed away since our last visit?

Our waiter was young and good-looking male, rather than the normal 70+ waitresses. Sparky liked him so much she kept calling him back over. Nina wasn't impressed by the old, cold restrooms nor the old, minimal menu. She left before we even ordered drinks! Unclear how to read the menu, we all just ordered off the special lunch menu and split our orders into 3 Turkeys, 2 Chicken and 2 Old Fashion Spaghetti & Meatballs. No one tried the meatloaf (this time). When we found out that dessert was included with lunch, including red jello, we had to apologize to Steve for the attempted lunch mutiny. Vahl's still rules as the post-slough hike lunch spot.

Clara's 1st leaf
Joy's 1st leaf
Ken's 10th leaf

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