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8. Monument Peak (07/13/96)

Hikers (4): Nanda, Peter, Steve, Taylor
Distance: 8 miles
Rating: 3 difficulty, 8 beauty
Park info: Ed R. Levin County Park in the Milpitas foothills

Write-up by Peter

Rusty was out of town for the second weekend in a row, so he missed out on another hot, dry hike. Maybe he's smarter than he looks.

Nanda came along for his first INCH hike wearing a jaunty Indiana Jones hat. Very stylish!

We got lunch at a Subway store in Milpitas and headed out to Levin Park. The hills looked brown and dry as a bone. We slapped on the sunscreen and hit the trail.

We started along a horse/hiking trail. After about a mile the Marlboro Man came riding up to us to tell us city slickers that "there's mountain lions in them hills". We thanked him for his concern, but pressed on anyway. As it turned out, Taylor was more concerned about the Killer Cows whose pasture we had to pass through. Mooooooooo!

After escaping the bovine terror, we continued up the steep grade. The heat was starting to make its presence felt. There were a couple of shady thickets along the side of the road, but they looked like prime mountain lion turf, so we stayed on the path.

The trail climbed higher ... Nanda had underestimated the magnitude of the hike and was starting to fade. The trail eventually leveled off a bit and he just sat down in the dirt to recover. No trees for miles. We could see some hang-gliders a little further up. They were having a great time jumping off the side of the mountain and gliding down into the valley below. Gotta try that one of these days.

After eating dust for another mile and a half, we arrived at the transmitter at the top. The buzzing of the wires sounded pretty ominous, so we decided to go back down a little to have lunch (radiated food just has that funny taste to it!).

We decided to take a different route back and ended up getting lost, but we knew we just had to keep going downwards and we'd eventually end up in the right place. We stopped at a house down in the valley to ask for directions but the teenage girl sitting in the front yard was pretty clueless. She didn't even know where Monument Peak was, even though it towered over the house!

After trekking through a field with more than its fair share of fertilizer, we ended up on a golf course, and then followed it around and back to the starting point. That cold Snapple tasted great!

The hiking bible seems to have a large range of Level 3 hikes ... some are much more challenging than others. This one was probably a 3.5. Just ask Nanda -- he hasn't been back to hike with us again!

Nanda's 1st leaf

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