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776. Teague Hill Loop (05/07/11)

Hikers (28): Alan, Amy D, David, David A, David N, Diane, Doug W, Hans, Hima, Iris, Janice, Jeff, Karl, Kathryn, Linda L, Mike, Paul, Peter E, Ralph, Robert, Ross, Russ, Sarah, Shuli, Sophie, Sparky, Steve, Walter
Distance: 17 miles
Rating: 2 difficulty, 9 beauty
Park info: Teague Hill Open Space Preserve in Woodside

Write-up by Steve

For many moons, I've been eying Teague Hill. There are no official trails and the park is pretty difficult to access, so could never plan an INCH hike there. One day Walter mentioned that you can get there from Wunderlich. I looked around on-line and found a few GPS routes from people who had hiked in the park, as well as one that included the route from Wunderlich. Combined with an old Topo map with the trails roughly marked on it, I was able to put together a 17 mile hike.

Well, since I did not know what to expect, I guessed it would be a little harder than the standard Wunderlich loop that Russ loves. Still, that's only a two, so I listed it as "3", which was easy enough for a big turnout. Even someone with "a condition" turned out to hike a bit of it.

1-2-3 INCH!

What made the hike "different" was that everyone had to stay together since Teague Hill has no marked trails. I had made waypoints for where I thought all the junctions were, and that worked out well. Everyone stayed together for the route from Wunderlich into the interior of Teague Hill. While waiting for Hans, the caboose in our 29-person train at the time, people started getting antsy. Sabine and Diane (et al.) took off. Of course, this was ill advised since they had no idea what the route was, but that's just how some people are. Others followed lemming style.

Once Hans showed up, I sped up the trail to catch the wayward sheep. Of course several had already passed the junction we needed to take, including the aforementioned two. We were able to get everyone back except Sabine. That was no loss since she had planned to do a shorter version of the hike anyway (and suffered for her transgression by having to go cross-country to reach the peak).

From that point, a combination of narrow trails and the realization that people really could get lost, things went smoothly despite the increasingly longer wait times. Happily, we eventually all made it up to the Teague Hill and found the nondescript block marking the summit. After a short break to wait for Hans, we were off to the next tricky section of trail.

I waited at the next unclear junction under a powerline for a while. Half the group was missing. What the heck--it was less than 0.1 miles from the peak. Headed back and finally saw the group coming my way. Turned out Iris had run into a tree branch and everyone stood around and gawked. Lesson learned: big floppy hats obscure one's vision.

Eventually we were on Skyline Trail. I was jazzed because we'd never been on this section of trail, which connects Huddart Park to Wunderlich, going along the edge of El Corte de Madera OSP on the other side of Skyline Blvd. We were so close to the park, but you'd never know it. This section was much like all the parks in the area--shaded and full of second-growth redwoods.

We eventually hit Wunderlich and it was all downhill from there. We took a new route that went by Salamander Flat. It had a big pool with lots of information on. . .newts. Later learned that "newt" and "salamander" are used interchangeably for the same animal. Thanks Internet!

Back in the parking lot, there was plenty of partying for David's birthday. Happy B'day David! Songs were sung, beer was drunk, cake was cut, good times were had by all. The party continued for one more pitcher of beer over at The Alpine Inn for the carpool. Good end to a decent hike. Due to the complications of getting into Teague Hill, I'm not imagining this hike entering the normal rotation.

Milestones:
David A's 1st leaf
Hima's 190th leaf
Jeff's 130th leaf
Paul's 240th leaf
Peter E's 10th leaf
Ralph's 1st leaf
Steve's 620th leaf



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