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60. Purisima Creek Trail (04/04/98)

Hikers (3): Peter, Russ, Steve
Distance: 13 miles
Rating: 3 difficulty, 8 beauty
Park info: Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve near Woodside

Write-up by Russ

This was INCH hike #60. It was such a big occasion that The Man cancelled his vacation plans to Southern California to attend this hike. This hike had everything: The three founders, rain and mud. What more could anyone ask for?

1, 2, 3, ...INCH!

And away we went. For about two minutes before we realized that we started off from the wrong entrance. Back to the car. Another ten minutes of driving around and searching for the right entrance and we were on our way again.

1, 2, 3, ...INCH!

In the beginning, it was a pleasant hike. A light mist was falling and there was a gentle downhill. The hiking bible did promise that this part of the hike was suitable for people with wheelchairs and people recovering from ill health. They were sure right about that. We did note that it did start to be a long and steeper downhill after a point and that we would have to come back this way ten miles later.

The first 5 or 6 miles was relatively uneventful. The three founders hiked as one admiring the redwoods, the banana slugs and the running stream. Those banana slugs are ugly buggers. We did run into a few people on bikes and other crazies out there on a rainy day. Hard to believe that anyone would want to hike in that weather.

Now came the hard part. The hiking bible described this part as 600-foot climb in a little over a quarter mile. That is non-trivial, especially when the trail has become a quagmire. This would seperate the men from the boys. Esteban took the early lead. I think this is mostly because of his superior shoes helping him navigate the quagmire. I trailed behind him, followed by Peter. The rain was definitely picking up at this point.

Esteban had built a pretty good lead on the rest of us, but when I turned a corner, there he was. For a brief moment, I couldn't figure out why Esteban had stopped. Ahhh...I see why. He ran into some hikers. These women seemed to be lost and Esteban was kind enough to render aid. We pointed out to them that they had a way to go and they said they had been hiking for hours already. Once they got what they needed, they left in opposite direction a hurry, while we trudged our way up the hill again.

After what seemed an eternity, we finally decided to have lunch. During lunch, who happened to stop by our way, but the two women hikers we met on the way up. They had given up going all the way down to the stream and were going back to their car. We smoothly engaged them in conversation and told them about the wonders of the INCH. And now they are on the offical INCH mailing list. This is the first time that the INCH has actually recruited people while on a hike. Usually they are running off in the other direction before we can get them interested in the INCH.

Enough of that eating and time for more hiking. The walk back to the car was again scenic but uneventful, until we reached a recent mud slide. At this point, we had to scramble over a patch of soft mud. Both Esteban and I made it past this point relatively unscathed. The Man was a different story. He managed to get himself ankle deep in mud and because he reached down to balance himself, his hands were coated with mud as well. Quite amusing for Esteban and me.

The last obstacle was the climb back up to the car. It wasn't particularly steep, but dragged over a couple of miles. It seemed to last for quite a while. Esteban made it back first, I trailed him by 5 minutes and The Man was behind about 20 minutes. The Man was further slowed down by the need to make a few pit stops along the way.

Now it was time to celebrate by eating a ton of shortbread cookies.



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