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588. Steve's Superhike (10/27/07)

Hikers (16): Diane, Gladys, Hima, Iyad, Janice, Jeff, Paul, Ramesh, Ross, Russ, Sarah, Scott, Stacy, Steve, Steve A, Wennie
Distance: 22 miles
Rating: 5 difficulty, 8 beauty

Write-up by Steve -- Pictures by Janice

It was a nice day for a hike, and things pretty much went off without a hitch. Steve An started early, and left notes at strategic points to prove he did the hike--that's the spirit! Stef also showed up to give INCH a try. She turned back early to go pet sitting (or something like that), so remains among the leafless masses.

1, 2, 3. . .INCH!

Black Mountain shows up four miles into the 22 mile hike, so it wasn't too long until we were there for the all-important picture. Since the peak was not windy for a change, waiting was pleasant, although Sarah was already getting antsy.

Black Mountain via the easy route leads to cheers all around

The route to Table Mountain is downhill for the first half, so it was a tight and chatty pack to the Table Mountain junction. By the time Ross and I were at the flat top, the group had spread out a bit. I went off to do a geocache, and when I came back (making a loop around the peak), I ran into Hima and Diane M who were coming down from the "peak". They said no one was there, so they didn't wait. How could this be? Surely Ross was still there? Well, long story short, Ross, Iyad, Sarah, and Paul also did a loop around the peak {which is a slight extension to the hike} and went right on by while I was in the woods logging the cache. They just kept on going, figuring I had left as well. The rest of us met up at Table Mtn. Peak and had lunch.

Most of the group prior to leaving Table Mtn.

The steep parts of the hike occurs between Table Mountain and the crossing of Skyline Blvd; all the tricky parts of the route occur between the crossing and the Nature Center. I left arrows at all the potentially confusing junctions, but that only works if people are looking for them. Managed to slowly catch those who skipped the lunch spot, with Ross being the last one near Horseshoe Lake. They all had the same story stated above, so was happy to hear it at least was not a mutiny. One problem, though--Iyad, who was last seen between Paul and Sarah, was missing. Secondary complication was that he was a carpool driver.

We waited at the Nature Center for a while. Sarah started getting antsy again, and eventually took her leave. Diane M, Ramesh, and Iyad showed up later, coming from the Russian Ridge direction. They had followed the signs to Russian Ridge (rather than the Skyline Ridge Trail), but had luckily run into Sarah who turned them around. Good deal. We continued waiting, and still no one was showing up. After Ramesh went on an unsuccessful trip to dispose of his copious banana peels, we all visited the Nature Center to see Snickers the gopher snake. On the way out, the rest of the group appeared from the forest. Hooray!

Actually, everyone wasn't there--we were missing Gladys. Apparently she had said she might cut over early in order to get back to her car by 6pm. That was enough of an possibility to let us continue on to Borel Peak.

Raise your hands if you love random traditions!

From there, it's a quick few miles to the end via Coal Creek OSP. Actually, I'm starting to believe the last bit is half a mile longer than written, but close enough. Some nut-job was out collecting acorns on the trail back, and happened to be wearing an outfit similar to Ramesh. So I said, "What the hell are you doing?" and the innocent guy stood up and gave me a perplexed look. Whoops. "Sorry, thought you were someone else!"

At the end of the hike, Jeff kindly shared some chips and dip while we tried to figure out if any of the remaining cars belonged to Gladys. The mystery was solved when she came around, having done the whole hike with a bit of a detour while crossing Skyline near the middle. INCH's "getting lost" was well represented on this outing.

Praying Jeff doesn't squish him

All of Janice's pictures.

Ross's 150th leaf
Stacy's 20th leaf

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