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54. Hotel Trail (02/22/98)

Hikers (3): Mary, Russ, Steve
Distance: 8 miles
Rating: 2 difficulty, 8 beauty
Park info: Grant Ranch County Park in the East San Jose foothills

Write-up by Mary

Although advertised as "the lamest hike of all time", the last couple of miles were a bit strenuous at best, for me. Hats off and sincere thanks to the two gentlemen that squelched their testosteronal urges to bolt and hung back with a slow pace setter; making this hike, originally rated in duration at 2.5 (underestimated I might add!) to over 4 hours.

The hike had an intentionally later start time with the hope that it might attract more participants and also due to the fact that the organizer (Steve) had a "hot" Mardi Gras party to attend the night before (where I hear that baubles could be traded for a lady's favors!).

The Hotel Trail started off on a fire road descending into beautiful green rolling hills and continued on 3.3 miles to Eagle Lake. Outside of the exciting conversation, creek jumping was a highlight, where I might add that all of us made it across with minimal casualty, unlike other hikers and bikers!

From Eagle Lake, we turned from the Hotel Trail onto a 3 mile loop. With about a third of the loop completed, Steve spied a narrow trail off the fire road. In the spirit of adventure, he bid us more conservative hikers adieu, and went off trail blazing to have a disconcerting confrontation with a very large wild boar (from what I hear, this boar was much less aggressive than the ones Peter encountered at Henry Coe). According to Steve, Russ and I directed that bovine along his path. And in truth, we did startle the boar, but had no control of the path that he took!

Russ and I never did hook up with Steve after that, until we got to the car. We completed the loop and continued back up the Hotel Trail, enjoying our walk and conversation while practicing our tracking skills in identifying the foot prints of wild animals such as boar, cat, biker, and Steve (who had completed the hike, and waited patiently 25 minutes for our arrival)!

The weather was perfect, surprisingly devoid of rain, with periods of bright sunshine through clear blue skies. The winter beauty of those green rolling hills, large old oaks with mistletoe, docile feral mammals, and rushing creeks would be hard to parallel.

Steve's 20th leaf

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