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866. Chalk Mountain (02/02/13)

Hikers (32): Alan, Chinyet, David, David A, George, Helen, Hima, Iris, Janice, Jeff, Karl, Kathryn, Kirk, Kirk H, Lynn X, Mike, Monika, Nick, Padraig, Peter, Peter E, Ralph, Ramesh, Robert, Ross, Sabine, Sandy, Sarah, Sophie, Stacy, Steve, Suetfei
Distance: 19 miles
Rating: 4 difficulty, 9 beauty
Park info: Big Basin State Park near Santa Cruz

Write-up by George, Hima, and Peter -- Pictures by Alan W, Stacy, and Peter

I had given folks the option of doing a few extra miles up the McCrary Ridge. Here are George's notes:

Here is my best recollection of folks who did the extra miles: Chinyet (Eric L), Dave A, George, Kirk, Sophie, Steve, Suetfei.

FYI - when I got to Chalk Mtn with Ralph there was nobody at the picnic table. Steve showed up a few minutes later - he had been geocaching and done an alternate route around the peak and come in the back entrance (no puns). He had seen Chinyet, Dave A and 1 or 2 others heading out. A few minutes later I looked out at Chalk Road in the distance (far distance) and I could see 4 people hiking together. I left the peak as a bunch of folks were just showing up.

Ross on his way to earning that 3rd forest ...

... and praying the hike would end soon!

INCH owns Chalk Mountain!

When I got to the Anderson Landing turn there were the 4 front-runners just hanging out. They had done an extra .8 miles somewhere along the way, then taken a break. I stuck with them on the downhill most of the way, but Chinyet, Suetfei and Nick took off once we got to less steep trails below the upper falls. I can jog downhill, but not run like those 3. Dave A and I hiked together to Berry Falls. I continued past Berry Falls, but those 4 front-runners stopped to take pics and maybe eat, not sure. I had eaten my sandwich earlier on Chalk Mtn.

Coming down Golden Falls

Beautiful Berry Creek Falls

I started up Howard King Trail (which in my tired and fuzzy mind kept coming up as Horton Hears a Who Trail) trudging slowly, my uphill legs were totally gone. Before too long Chinyet and Suetfei scampered past me like I was walking backwards. And shortly after that Dave A came by huffing and puffing to keep up with those 2.

It was a long haul up and I was looking forward to the All-Downhill-From-Here moment, but curse you if it didn't come for quite a while. I'd forgotten that McCrary Ridge is like Westridge and does up-and-downs even as it descends.

After many miles of downhill jogging I was so happy to hit the flat road, I turned on the afterburners (uphill was gone, but flat was ready to go) and after a few minutes caught Kirk and Monica, then a few minutes later the Pack - Janice, Ross, Padraig, Karl, Stacy, Ralph and more. Quite the pack that far into the hike.

The group was in a big rush to get the hike over with

After the hike Stacy said something like "There I was 2/3 of the way through the hike and I was looking at Ross!". As we all strolled along together I noticed at one point Ross was starting to lag behind, he must have really been hurting. I wonder if the trip to the winery perked him up or laid him out on the floor, that is for you to say.

Rumor has it that Helen and Hima and perhaps some others took a third option and were back at the cars all cleaned up and well-rested and warm when the pack got in. Some trail called the Henry Coe trail or something like that ? :) Helen had been passing out some wonderful cheese-cracker-cookie things (wonderful !) when someone said "we're off to the winery" and she hauled ass out of there with the container still mostly full of the crackers. Darn, wish I'd grabbed a couple more.

Hima's rebuttal: George alleges that Helen and I took a short cut. We did some extra (overshot Andersen landing turn, but retraced our steps, and came back to take the turn), but did every inch that we were supposed to. So stop with besmirching our good name! And stop confusing us with Sabine & Sandy :)

Had a nice after-hike party at the beach. Windy and cool, but I parked by SUV in a way to help block the wind and we enjoyed the Janice and Padraig hosted party. Hot tea, cookies, chips, then I added some chips and hummus, Nick and Kirk added crisps, and Ramesh more hummus. Apparently Ramesh missed Mediterranean food the most when he was in China, and he was trying to make up for it with an all-hummus diet.

Janice and Stacy were ensconced in the back of the Suburu (trunk area, not back seat) with a green Irish blanket over their laps. When Kirk got in they invited him to sit between them - lucky guy! Rumor has it he was invited because he was wearing shorts, or not wearing pants, something like that. I remember you were very jealous Peter, and offered to take your pants off as well. Good thing there were several of us there to restrain you.

Ramesh looked good when he finished the hike, but as time went by he looked more and more haggard. Poor guy picked Chalk Mtn as his first hike back with INCH in 5 years (except for 1 hike in 2010). I think he did great considering how little hiking he has been doing. With all the sickies staggering along - Ross, David, Helen, Peter - Ramesh looked pretty strong !

Of course, in fine INCH tradition there you were Peter, drinking alone in the parking lot taking shots of 151 BEFORE the hike started - despite the fact you knew I would not be drinking. And in an effort to get back across the highway to take shots with you was poor David (looking like death-warmed-over) and he almost walked out in the path of an oncoming car. What INCH hikers won't do for a pre-hike shot!

David was rightfully suspicious and kept his distance. What was in those cookies anyway?

I survived the hike, and I was even mulling over downgrading it to a 3, but the last 5 miles of flat torture bumped it back up to a 4! At least I didn't do the Dumb-Ass Trail near the end like Jeff and David.

George's 151st leaf (and shot) × 2
Kirk's 50th leaf
Lynn X's 1st leaf
Ross's 3rd forest

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