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568. Del Valle Loop (06/09/07)

Hikers (23): Carissa, Chester, David, Diane, Harvey, Helen, Jinglan, Kandice, Lily, Marilyn, Nani, Paul, Ramesh, Rick A, Ross, Sandy, Sarah, Scott, Simone, Steve, Tim R, Walter, Wennie
Distance: 13 miles
Rating: 2 difficulty, 8 beauty
Park info: Del Valle Regional Park south of Livermore

Write-up by Steve

Much planning was done for the 6/9 hike, and it pretty much worked out as described in the hike notice.

1-2-3 INCH!

The hike started with a bang, heading steeply up Sailor Camp trail. For the first time, INCH took a left at the sign-in post: normally we sign-in and proceed to Murietta Falls or all the way to Mission Peak at the end of the Ohlone Trail. Still, the route we took had lots of pain at the beginning, giving some faint worry that it might turn out to be much harder than advertised.

Luckily, once everyone navigated through the Punta Vaca area and over the next few steep hills, it calmed down substantially. Over the course of 13 miles, the difficulty sort of averaged down to a two, although most agreed that it was harder than a level-3 Mission Peak visit--such is the mystery of the INCH rating system.

Scott and Wennie earned a Black Leaf of Shame for coming late and then cutting the hike almost in half. Nani was dangerously close, but he looked to be in legitimate pain when we caught him returning across the bridge.

Two gates and a barbed wire fence were crossed. . .guess Del Valle didn't really intend for people to do this loop. Probably should have gotten the hint by the fact that 1/3 of the hike had trails with no names. We left a dozens fine arrows, including one rock masterpiece by Walter which we reckon can be seen from space. We found that Jinglan short cut a little bit, but made up for it by successfully navigating the entire East Coast trail where most of us missed the end of it and walked down the road a lot farther than necessary.

Sue (w/Aspen), Sabine, and Sandy did the INCH cheer, but immediately turned around for a less aggressive hike. At the end, we found Sabine and Sandy lying on the beach with tons of other people--the place was packed. In a bit of surprise INCH gossip immediately after the hike, rarely seen Jinglan and gimpy Nani slept together before returning to the carpool.

Kandice's 1st leaf
Simone's 1st leaf
Steve's 440th leaf

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