723. Steve's SuperDuper Hike (04/24/10)
Hikers (13): Chinyet, David, Diane, George, Jeff, John, Paul R, Robert, Ross, Sabine, Steve, Susan, Tiffany
Distance: 33 miles
Rating: 5 difficulty, 9 beauty
Write-up by Steve -- Pictures by Everyone
Longer days mean longer hikes, so decided to make a new 30+ mile hike that would visit some new locations. To mix it up a bit, I added four locations along the way that required pictures.
The route went from Pearson-Arastradero Preserve, through the posh Foothills Park, into Los Trancos OSP, briefly into Monte Bello OSP, through most of Coal Creek OSP, into Russian Ridge OSP, down to the top of Skyline OSP, back into Monte Bello OSP, up to a tiny bit into Rancho San Antonio OSP to tag Black Mountain, then across Monte Bello to a small piece of Hidden Villa, into a block of Palo Alto land (Adobe Creek), and then back into Los Trancos, to Foothills, to Arastradero, and to the cars. Got it?
Well, it was a long hike, and lots of things happened, but here's the summary in pictures::
Location #1 | Location #2 | Location #3 | Location #4
There was not much drama on the hike and, despite all the junctions, no one got hopelessly lost. I climbed over gate CC01 instead of taking Alpine Rd near Coal Creek. It looks like they connect later on the map, but they do not. After coming back down, I saw the obvious street sign saying "Alpine Road". D'oh. Later, as I was making an arrow for the turn up to Crazy Pete's Road, Ross and Eric L came up. . .from the other direction. They had missed the turn I was marking. Soon we were all at the second picture spot (gate CC04).
Ross hung back at the gate while Eric L and I headed up the road. We crossed Skyline Blvd and picked up the use trail just across the street. We then headed up along the power lines until we hit the main trail in Russian Ridge. I looked back down and did not see Ross anywhere. Turns out he missed the use trail and walked up the road a while before turning around and finding the trail. I was thinking, "Hope everyone figures this out. . .".
From there, it was a side trip to Borel Peak, and then through the secret tunnel until Alpine. Here I lost Eric, who made a pit stop. I refilled my water at the Nature Center in Long Ridge and was on my way. Crossed Skyline back into Monte Bello where we would take a new (to INCH) route up to Black Mountain. There were lots of junctions around this nicely shaded area in the south-end of Monte Bello so left lots of arrows.
I was looking forward to Indian Creek Trail, which I expected to be another shaded riparian route all the way up Black Mountain. This was not to be the case, and the steep exposed slope was hot and taxing. Luckily, the hike had been pretty easy so far, so it wasn't as bad as it could have been. Near the top, Ross zipped by as though the ground were level.
We headed over to Black Mountain and took each other's pictures. We headed back down Montebello Road and took the Adobe Creek Trail, which heads into Hidden Villa and then a small parcel owned by the City of Palo Alto. I had asked people to take a picture at the Hidden Villa border, mostly to make sure no one missed the Adobe Trail turn. Well, turns out there was no border sign for Hidden Villa, but almost everyone took a picture of a lonely trail sign and/or a nearby tower that were, indeed, in Hidden Villa. Another surprise was running in to people on this trail--it seems an unlikely trail for people to visit, but it was also nicely shaded and had Adobe Creek running through it. Looked like people were collecting plants of some sort.
From there, we had to cross Page Mill Road and drop down onto Page Mill Trail. You would think there would be an official connector trail here--or at least a good use trail--but nothing stuck out. We headed up Page Mill Trail, completed the Los Trancos Loop in Foothills Park, and headed toward Arastradero. Near the end of the Los Trancos Trail, Diane came running down the hill to catch Ross and me. A bit later, I stopped at the fancy Interpretive Center and got some water before heading into Arastradero. I could see Diane and Ross in the distance, but couldn't close the gap. Later I realized I was seriously dragging and sat down on the trail to choke down a Clif Bar. After that, things improved and I finished the hike to find Ross and Diane already settled.
Everyone made it back in one piece. In fact, just before 6pm, five hikers came in as a conga line. I never heard the story of why they did that. Later still, Tiffany and Robert came running in to see who'd get there first. That's how you know a 33 mile hike with 6k+ ft of elevation gain just wasn't hard enough.
Diane's 160th leaf
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