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609. Briones Crest Trail (03/16/08)

Hikers (30): Alan B, Bharati, Clive, Daniel C, David, Devin, Diane, Eric F, Eugene, Eugene M, George, James S, Janice, Jeff, Jennifer H, Julie, Ken, Kim M, Linda L, Nancy B, Nani, Paul, Ross, Ryan, Sabine, Sarah, Sparky, Stacy, Steve, Suzie
Distance: 14 miles
Rating: 3 difficulty, 8 beauty
Park info: Briones Regional Park north of Lafayette

Write-up by Steve

The route was selected to have maximum altitude gain, but we could still only eke out a little under 4k, and very little of it was on steep hills. What we did get was plenty of green with some sparse wildflower displays (see George's pics). Janice was excited (to the point of running) to see large patches of trillium along the Bear Creek at the very end of the hike.

The hike went off without a hitch for the majority of people, although the trails were occasionally ambiguous (as with previous visits). We had a lunch stop six miles into the hike at the Alhambra Creek picnic area. By the end of long break, we were only missing 5 people--83% retention, far in excess of our 25% minimum. Missing were Eugene, Julie, Daniel, James, and Suzie. The first three were immediately (and unanimously) assumed to have short-cut. James S had come in late and unscathed on his first hike, so we weren't too worried. Suzie was a wildcard, because she was new. Only one thing to do--keep hiking.

In the end, no one got lost, but a few slackers {the same ones missing at lunch} skipped Russell peak at the end. I'd almost black leaf them, except that they came in so late that it was probably in our best interest that they didn't do it. In fact, the whole hike was amazingly spread out at the end--we had two separate post-hike snacking sessions. This hike was a little better than remembered, so maybe we will wait less than seven years before doing it again.

Daniel C's 1st leaf
Devin's 1st leaf
Diane's 50th leaf
Jennifer H's 1st leaf
Nancy B's 1st leaf
Ryan's 1st leaf
Suzie's 1st leaf

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