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83. Mission Peak to Monument Peak (08/29/98)

Hikers (8): Changhong, Eugene, Jamie, Jane M, Peter, Russ, Steve, Taylor
Distance: 10 miles
Rating: 4 difficulty, 8 beauty
Park info: Mission Peak Regional Preserve in Fremont

Write-up by Peter

Yet another Mission Peak hike? We spiced things up a little and enhanced the usual hike by adding on a 4-mile trip from the top of Mission Peak over to the antennas of neighboring Monument Peak.

This hike also marked Changhong's long-awaited INCH debut. Welcome to Dr. Death! Little did he know what he was in for!

1, 2, 3, ... INCH!

The trip to the top was pretty much the same as all the other times we had been here. Lots of sweating, grunting, and panting (make up your own sex joke here). The front-runners made it to the top in just over an hour, and all the rest of the pack had made it in by the 1:20 mark. What a studly bunch!

We sat at the top and enjoyed the view. It was a nice, warm, late summer's day, just perfect for sitting there for hours.

Monument Peak beckoned. The antennas were about two miles away, and the trail looked to be petty flat. Piece of cake! Taylor, Jane, and Eugene had to get ready for some social engagement later in the day, so they did not accompany us and headed back down to the car. Not exactly the INCH spirit, but they had done the hardest part of the hike by far, so no Black Leaves were distributed.

The remaining five of us headed down the other side of the peak and over to the antennas. The trail was straightforward -- a hot, dusty, fire road all the way. We made it to Monument Peak in just about an hour. For some reason, Monument Peak always seems warmer than Mission Peak. Maybe it's the radiation from all the antennas. That would also explain why Rusty's hair had suddenly become curly!

As we sat there eating lunch, Esteban mulled over the idea of climbing the ladder to the top of one of the antennas. That thing looked pretty damn high (I got dizzy just looking up at it), but if the fool wanted to do it, more power to him. Rusty and I each put up 20 bucks as incentive, and off he went. I couldn't even bring myself to look up, but my sources tell me that he did in fact make it all the way. Good job!

Jamie said she'd be walking slower than the rest of us, so she started back early.

The rest of us set off a few minutes later. As we approached Mission Peak, we could see Jamie was already near the top. It was at this point that we decided to get creative (cue the robot from Lost in Space: Danger! Danger!). Instead of the usual route, we decided to take a side trail down.

It started out fine. We had bypassed the peak and were making good time going down the hill. Esteban was even serenading Rusty with Sade's Sweetest Taboo ...

                  You're giving me the sweetest taboo
                  That's why I'm so in love with you ...

I think the boys have spent too much time alone in the woods.

                  Sometimes I think you're just too good for me
                  Every day is Christmas, and every night is New Year's Eve ...

I don't know if we were distracted by the beautiful love serenade or if the trail wasn't marked clearly, but somehow we ended up in thick overgrown brush. We went back and forth and around in circles for a while, but no luck. Dr. Death was getting his welcome to the INCH experience!

We could see the Mission Peak Trail was only a couple hundred yards away. It seemed that in order to get there we had to either go through the brush and cross a small ravine, or crawl under some barbed wire and go through what looked like an abandoned farm.

I remembered seeing some structures on the map which were listed as being part of the park, so I figured the "abandoned farm" must be it. We chose to go for it. As I crawled under the barbed wire, I was just hoping some pit bull wouldn't suddenly come out after us.

We lucked out. It was part of the park, and walked through without incident and jumped over the gate and were back on the usual Mission Peak Trail. So much for creativity!

Naturally, Jamie beat us to the bottom, but at least we found something new. I vowed to go back one day and find the other trail back down. Stay tuned!

Milestones:
Changhong's 1st leaf
Eugene's 40th leaf



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