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716. Flag Hill Trail (03/06/10)

Hikers (23): Aspen, David, Diane, Diego, Ernesto, Gavin, Hans, Helen, Janice, Jeff, Karl, Kelly X, Melissa, Mike, Moe, Padraig, Paul, Sabine, Sandy, Sarah, Steve, Sue, Walter
Distance: 8 miles
Rating: 2 difficulty, 8 beauty
Park info: Sunol Regional Wilderness near Sunol

Write-up by Steve -- Pictures by Karl and Paul

The original hike notice claimed it would rain, but the chance of rain dropped from 70% to 20% by the time the hike started. 24 people showed up for a dry and eventually sunny hike. It was not even that muddy. Yes, the sun always shines on INCH.

1-2-3 INCH!

It was a short and sweet hike. Started out taking a slight detour to Shady Glen Trail, which added a whopping 0.1 miles of oak-covered single track before linking up with the normal Flag Hill route. Just before the peak I saw Jeff and Gavin sitting in the middle of the trail--we had not seen them at the beginning of the hike, although saw a truck that looked like theirs. Jeff waited for me to ask him why he was in the middle of the trail before pulling out a beer to celebrate my birthday. Awesome! Good start to a hike. We were to the top in no time, with everyone visiting the neglected summit point.


Flag Hill Trail is steep

We waited for the last few people to get to the top (plus I had to finish the beer!), including Sue and Aspen. We still couldn't see newbie Rita by the time Sue got to the top, and Sue mentioned Rita was taking it slow, and might turn around. That's all we needed to know to keep on trucking.


Chillin' at the real summit of Flag Hill


Sarah got her first forest

The air was quite cool, so the hike just zipped on by. A little mud here, a few cows there, and we were heading down the final ridge before the end of the hike. We ran into Moe, who had gotten stuck behind a pack of bikers and missed the start of the hike. He was doing the hike in the opposite direction, so Mike gave him the highlighted map to make sure Moe wouldn't miss any hills.


Cows and Calaveras Reservoir

From there we went down to Little Yosemite and hiked down the short trail to the big blueschist boulder for a while. Once we had filled up every spot on the rock and surrounding area with INCHers, we headed back to the parking lot to complete the ~8.4 mile hike.


Schisty view of Little Yosemite

Food was plentiful in the picnic area: beer, brownies, and chips. It was a mix of our normal post-hike food and some birthday celebration for the March babies attending (Padraig, Helen, and me--it was precisely my birthday). Much fun--even got to blow out a candle to celebrate the big 4-0. Thanks!


Post-hike festivities

Epilogue: Karl brought over a note from Rita. She said she cut the hike short based on the brisk INCH pace. See you next time! In related news, there was a message at the top of Flag Hill: "Steve INCH 80lb. Tom was here." This was from a person who had recently asked to join the list. Because the list is currently closed, we could not add him. Great spirit, but no leaf!

Milestones:
Hans's 20th leaf
Padraig's 130th leaf
Sarah's 1st forest



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