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66. Briones Crest Trail (05/16/98)

Hikers (13): Amy, Beth, Cap'n Dave, Diane G, Eugene, Jamie, Jenna, May, Nanda, Peter, Pistol Pete, Russ, Steve
Distance: 8 miles
Rating: 3 difficulty, 9 beauty
Park info: Briones Regional Park north of Lafayette

Write-up by Beth

Ahh, a nice relaxing short hike on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. Such we all thought. But what fools we were! There's no such thing when you're a member of INCH. And there was no bus to bail us out this time ...

The day began at our 1:30 meeting in the Intel parking lot. Thirteen (rather ominous, no?) people showed up including FIVE newcomers. Welcome to Amy, Diane, Jenna, May, and Pistol Pete! Kudos to Amy for showing up without knowing a soul. And we're a scary bunch to join without warning! Then the ol' regulars Eugene, Cap'n Dave, Nanda, Jamie, Rusty, Esteban, Schmoopie and I were there too. We split up into 3 cars and off we went!

1, 2, 3, ... INCH!

We began the hike as a group on nice even ground. Then as the incline began, the usuals went ahead. I of course have no memory of the details because I was too busy looking out for trail fashion. (I'd like to take this moment to point out that my co-detective on the Fashion Police squad, Taylor, could not make this hike. I missed her dearly. There was fashion to be criticized.)

The trail actually got pretty steep for a bit and the hikers all spread out. Rusty commented that this was a decent amount of climbing for such a "wimpy short hike" (Okay, those are my words. I don't actually remember his exact words). Esteban, Amy, and Jamie were in the lead, while I was bringing up the rear with Cap'n Dave, Pistol Pete, and Jenna. After most of the incline leveled out, we found ourselves walking along the hills with a beautiful view of the bay and some town in the East Bay. It was lovely.



The Gang at Briones Crest -- say cheese!
Back row: Cap'n Dave, Jamie, and Nanda
Middle row: Muffy, Diane, Rusty, Pistol Pete, and Amy
Front row: Jenna, Eugene, May, and Esteban


We arrived at the highest peak and stopped, assuming this was the middle of the hike. With the whole group together, and while everyone munched on their snacks, Peter felt it was Newbie Initiation Time. Oh brother, were they in for a treat! THIS I captured on film but it's not clean enough for the website. Well, Peter was clean enough, but I don't think the web police would appreciate his cleanliness. If you want a copy of this picture, please email me.



The view from the top


Anyhow, after we snacked and felt rested we decided it was time to take off back to the cars...HAH! Esty, Jamie, and Amy went on ahead. The rest of the group followed a few minutes later. After some discussion, my group decided that we would take a different path to add about a mile or so to the hike. We hiked for a bit while the trail became more and more overgrown. Finally the trail just ended in what was basically wilderness. OKAY (this is where I could make a remark about Peter's guiding skills...), so we turned around and went back UP the steep hill for about 3/4 of a mile until we were back on a real trail.

We hiked a good bit more, everyone feeling confident that we were back on track. Confident that is until all of a sudden we're surrounded by houses and barking dogs. OOPS, this isn't on the map. Anywhere. Pistol Pete decided to take charge and walk up to one of the houses. And thank goodness he did! Linda the Trail Boss came out of her house and led us back to the trail. She was buff and out-hiked us all! The hill she led us up was far steeper than any of the others. And while several of us were near death, Boss Linda just kept on hikin'.



Boss Linda leading the way, along with her dog, Holly
(her other dog, Luke, was somewhere in the bushes)


After Boss Linda set us free and we were back on track, who did we come across? Nanda and May! Maybe the others knew they weren't with us, but I hadn't noticed! Sorry guys, nothing personal! They had gotten so far behind that they hadn't even followed us. So we all walked the mile back to the cars together thinking that Esty, Jamie and Amy would be waiting for us.

But the threesome wasn't there! All the cars were there so we knew they didn't just leave without us. Hmmmm, where could Esty and TWO women be? Is it possible his dream came true? We'll never know because twenty minutes later they appeared, CLAIMING that they too had gotten lost. The story is that they hiked pretty much the entire park, lost just as we were. Everyone did seem tired, yet they were also in very good spirits...

I think the moral of this hike is NOT that Peter's a terrible guide, but that the MAP SUCKED! It was a beautiful hike though and I would do it again. If Boss Linda came with us that is!

Milestones:
Amy's 1st leaf
Diane G's 1st leaf
Jenna's 1st leaf
May's 1st leaf
Pistol Pete's 1st leaf



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