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624. Las Trampas and Eagle Peaks (06/28/08)

Hikers (13): Arlene, Carissa, David, Diane, Gavin, Harvey, Jeff, Nani, Paul, Peter, Ross, Sabine, Steve
Distance: 10 miles
Rating: 3 difficulty, 8 beauty
Park info: Las Trampas Regional Wilderness near San Ramon

Write-up by Peter

This was to be my last hike before going in for knee surgery to repair a couple of meniscus tears and a cyst in my left knee. I had mulled over the idea of doing Mississippi Lake for a few days, but sanity prevailed and I concluded that it would be pushing my luck, so I settled for another old favorite, Las Trampas -- site of the bull chase and helicopter rescue incidents which occurred on the same weekend six years ago. To mix things up a little, I decided to take a combination of the trails suggested by Nani and Steve. Of course, I had not made any maps, and I had originally told people we were going to take the "regular" route, so this resulted in mass confusion at the start of the hike.

1, 2, 3 ... INCH!

Our first destination was Eagle Peak. We headed out on the fire road, then veered off onto the Vail Peak Trail (new for me), past Vail Peak, and then down the gulley and up towards Eagle Peak. I was in the rear, going pretty slowly, as I was favoring my bad leg. When I got up to the bench at Eagle Peak, I saw everyone was there except Jeff and Gavin, so I figured they must have missed the turnoff to the gulley and had kept going straight. No big deal -- I was sure they would find their way.

Now it was time to induct our newest member into the prestigious INCH 151 Club -- welcome, Dave!! By coincidence, Eagle Peak was also his first INCH hike. All the other 151 Club members in attendance chose to partake of a shot of 151 which I had lugged up the hill, and some future members also got a sip (much to Steve's chagrin). By the way, I learned that if you spend a couple more bucks and get the good stuff, it's not nearly as brutal and, is actually quite pleasant. In a way, that defeats the purpose, but what the heck ...

After the elaborate cermony, we headed back down Eagle Peak the same way we had come up (new for me), and then over to Las Trampas Peak. Steve and I chose to celebrate this great accomplishment by a second shot of 151, but there were no other takers. My strategy to get everyone drunk so I could keep with them did not seem to be working, but at least I was feeling no pain.

After heading back down from Las Trampas Peak, we took Nani's suggestion to take the Madrone Trail (new for me). But first, I did a quick side trip to another unnamed, but marked, peak. Nice view! Of course, by the time I made it back down, everyone was long gone, so I ended up walking the Madrone Trail by myself. It was a nice trail and it was good to do something new for my last hike. A couple of miles along the trail, I took a short break on some comfy moss-covered boulders under some shady trees while enjoying a tasty snack and giving my leg a chance to rest. Seeing as I would not be hiking for a few months, I was in no hurry to finish. Just a couple of minutes later, caching Steve came waltzing along. Funny how the guys doing the most shots were trailing everyone else. Coincidence?

The trail continued on, and hooked up with the Virgil Williams trail before too long. Finally, I knew where I was. From here, it was about a mile to the good old Amigo Trail, my old friend! I huffed and puffed my way up the trail. Boy, it's a lot harder doing this on one leg. Up at the top, I decided to keep my streak of doing new trails alive by taking the Summit Trail, rather than my usual Sulphur Springs route. I could see Paul up ahead, so at least I was making respectable time.

I caught up with Paul near the summit and we walked together back down the other side and picked up the Trapline Trail, as suggested by Steve (new for me). Good choice! This was also a beautiful shaded trail, and was a nice change from my usual Chamise route around the top of the canyon, which was now baking under the hot midday sun. Near the end of the trail, we caught up with David, Jeff, and Gavin, and we then it was a quick trip back down the other side to the parking lot.

Well ...... that's all folks! I'll be stuck on leaf #386 for a while (good Intel employee), but will (hopefully) be back on trail in a couple of months. My goal is to be back in mid-September, and if I can do a couple of hikes a month after that, I will be on track for #400 at Mt. Sizer in mid-April.

Arlene's 10th leaf
David's 151st leaf (and shot)

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