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Date Sent:      July 13, 2007
Subject:           Dutra Loop and Tina Batt hike Sunday AM
From:               John Bondon
Have you ever driven on Highway 4 westbound past the city of Martinez, gazing at the hill sides and homes on your left and wondered what it would be like to hike those hills? Well now's your chance!

This Sunday we will be doing an exploratory hike on the Dutra Loop Trail. I've only hiked a very small portion of this proposed hike, so I'm not that familar with it myself yet. From what I've seen so far, the trails don't seem to be clearly marked, so we'll take an explorer mentality and figure it out as we go.

I can tell you that dogs ARE permitted on this trail, even off leash as long as they remain under voice control, however, not until we get to the actual Dutra Loop Trail and enter onto the Muir Heritage Land Trust property. The first mile of this hike will be on a public road, with private property on either side. Dogs are NOT permitted off leash during this first mile stretch.

An offshoot of the Dutra Loop Trail is a brand new trail completed last month called the Tina Batt trail. It is a loop trail, and as I understand it, as yet unlabeled. I think it would be fun to check it out as well, but I'll need your help (and adventurous spirit!) to keep a lookout for it. The game plan is to hike it as well, if possible.

Total distance of this weekend's proposed hike is between 5 - 7 miles, depending which route we take and how far everyone wants to go. Part of our route will be along an in and back type trail, with the remainder of the hike along a loop trail.

Due to limited parking at this Sunday's trailhead location, I encourage everyone to carpool. I have posted one such carpool location on the website, but since I will be coming from a different direction, I doubt I will be able to rendevous there myself prior to the hike. Another potential good spot to arrange carpools from is the Mount Wanda parking lot, located at the corner of Alhambra Avenue and Franklin Canyon Road (on the way to the trailhead). For additional parking, use the shoulder of Franklin Canyon Road itself. For those seeking to pre-arrange carpools or ride shares ahead of time, use the Member's Only list to do so.

Last weekend we hiked at Castle Rock in Walnut Creek, mostly in the shade. And oh what a beautiful spot that is! Turned out to be a very nice day for a hike too! 16 hikers in total, 3 of us turned back early, one decided to explorer other trails. The 3 of us that turned back early, actually ventured further than originally intended as the promise of locating the "Secret Trail" loomed 'just up ahead'. Or so we thought. After venturing for what seemed like another 3/4 of a mile further, we 3 decided it was time to turn back. Most of the group, however, ventured on. Andrew was among them: "The rest of us did an 8.23 mile hike. The "Secret Trail" really was just 1/4 further from where you turned around. The female hikers all wanted to see the secret trail. The male hikers just rolled their eyes. But, they had a choice; they could have returned with you. Some of the females wanted to return via secret trail to wall point trail to dusty trail to pine creek trail. That would have been an 11 mile hike with lots more elevation gain. In a few weeks we will lead the hike they want from Macedo Ranch. 6.1 miles and ~1,500' of total elevation gain. On our return to Castle Rock we met a quail family in the bushes right next to the trail. They sound like squirrels when they chirp." Thanks for the first hand account, Andrew!

If you have a story or experience from a recent hike that you'd like to share, or maybe a snapshot or two, send them my way! And if you are interested in leading an upcoming hike of your own, use the "Lead A Hike" link located on the "Upcoming Hikes" page to submit your hike.

Helene will be leading a Mt. Olympia Summit/Bruce Lee Spring Trail Loop hike on Saturday, July 21st. "Join us for a trek to Mount Diablo's Mt. Olympia summit. We'll loop up Donner Canyon to Cardinat Oaks Road, Mt. Olympia Trail, Mt. Olympia Road, then the summit. We'll return from the summit back down Mt. Olympia Road and Trail, and Cardinat Oaks, returning via Wasserman Trail to Bruce Lee Spring Trail, which brings us to Donner Canyon about a mile from the Regency Gate. This hike is being co-sponsored by the Mount Diablo Interpretive Association.".

As always, you'll find more details about each of these upcoming hikes posted on the East Bay Casual Hiking website.

See you on the Trails! :)

Happy Trails,

John




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