93. Ridge Trail (11/07/98)
Hikers (8): Beth, Eugene, Jamie, Peter, Pistol Pete, Russ, Steve, Taylor
Distance: 8 miles
Rating: 2 difficulty, 8 beauty
Park info: Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve in Palo Alto
Write-up by Peter
It was a miserable foggy November morning. Out of obligation to do a hike, we chose the easy-looking Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve in the hills overlooking Saratoga and hit the trail.
1, 2, 3, ... INCH!
The parking lot was a quagmire, and the trail leading up out of it was not much better. We slogged our way up the hill, trying to avoid falling and looking like total idiots.
Our first destination was less than a mile from the trailhead: Borel Hill, the highest point in the Preserve, at 2572 feet. The hiking bible had described it as "one of the great lookouts on the San Francisco peninsula", but since it was such a foggy day, our trek through the muck to the top of the hill went unrewarded. We stood at the cold windy top for a few minutes, pretended to see a great view, and then worked our way down the other side.
From here, everything was pretty much downhill for the next hour. We walked another mile through the glop to the end of the Ridge Trail, then turned onto the Hawk Trail. This was a much better trail -- solid footing and a great view of the canyon beneath our feet. Unfortunately, there were no hawks to be seen anywhere (they were smarter than us and chose to stay under cover on a day like this).
After another mile we switched over to the Mindego Trail. I don't remember a whole lot about this trail, except that it was exceptionally muddy and during a couple of steep downhills there was not much else we could do except let the mud carry us down. Surprisingly, none of us landed on our asses!
About 2.5 miles later, the trail ended and we found ourselves at the park boundary. A good spot to stop for lunch! During the meal, Pistol Pete enthralled us all by explaining why he always wears two pairs of underwear (one briefs, one boxers) to every hike. Ask him to explain it to you sometime after you've had a couple of beers! You'll thank me later.
After lunch, we took the Mindego Trail back and then switched over to the Ancient Oaks Trail (another nice trail, but unfortunately too short). After less than a mile, we were back on the Ridge Trail and working our way through the slop back to the car.
Overall, a decent hike, but next time I would prefer to do it on a nice dry day in the late spring or early fall.
Jamie's 20th leaf
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