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Date Sent:      February 22, 2008
Subject:           Hike Leaders Email Discussion List now OPEN!
From:               John Bondon
The rainy season is back in full swing again, which makes planning for upcoming hikes a bit challenging. With all this rain we've been getting, reminds me what a perfect time of year it is to go check out one of the WaterFall hikes available to us in this area. The first one I'd, of course, like to do is the Mount Diablo WaterFall hike. But that location can be tricky because if I time it too close to a heavy rain fall the terrain will be too muddy, and one spot in particular in the trail my scare people. On the other hand, if I wait too long after a rain, well then the heavy water flows will be diminished and the waterfall won't be quite so impressive. So it all comes down to a game of timing with certain hikes, and hoping Mother Nature will cooperate. So I'm hoping toward the middle to end of next month to lead a WaterFall hike, first at Mount Diablo, then later hopefully at Sunol. And if the rains continue, hopefully venture out to new areas and explore new waterfalls and trails! If you know of a good waterfall hike, let me know about it! And if you're willing to lead or co-lead it, even better! :)

A couple of years ago we started a new tradition as a group that I'd like to keep going. I'm referring to the annual away hiking/camping trip. This is where we venture out somewhere far (more than just a hour's drive) to hike and, for those up for it, camp overnight. Mark your calendars for the weekend of June 14-15, 2008, for the next EBCHG away camping/hiking trip! This year's destination will be Kings Canyon National Park!

Similar to how we did it last year, we will pick a trail to hike and you are all invited to join us. Everyone will be responsible for arranging their own transportation, meals, and lodging, so whether you decide to camp out or stay in a nice hotel is totally up to you! But unlike last year, we will most likely only hike together as a group one of the days. The other day will be a free day to explore or do as you wish. More details to follow as the time draws near...

Last Saturday, Andrew posted a hike for Brushy Peak, but the real hike leader was from the East Bay Regional Park District:
    "Hey John, I am so glad I did this. We had 18 hikers today at Brushy Peak. 6 were from EBCH. this girl is the "Real Deal". Yes, she is a good hiker, but she also is a fountain of knowledge. All of us us very much enjoyed her. She is a naturalist. She works for EBRP."
If you missed that hike last Saturday, you have another shot to learn all you can from her this weekend at Las Trampas. Andrew says of the upcoming Las Trampas Peak hike on Saturday at 8:00 AM: "Be sure to ask Cat about her favorite jewelry.". You'll find more details about this upcoming hike posted on the East Bay Casual Hiking website. In the event of rain, please check with the hike leader as to whether the hike will proceed as planned.

Last Sunday, Helene led a hike at Mount Diablo State Park, and though it sounded like it too was a great hike, I did receive a couple of complaints about the use of a waiver of liability form presented at the start of the hike. Even though, EBCHG does not require the use of such forms, this was a hike that was co-sponsored by MDIA, who does. Much like our review of safety procedures a couple months ago, this incident serves as a healthy reminder of the need for better guidelines and procedures for all our hikes so attendees can count on a more consistent experience. We don't yet have a formal policy one way or the other regarding waiver forms, and it's probably time we decide on this issue once and for all.

So along those lines I want to announce that I have finally completed and opened up the new Hike Leaders Email Discussion List. Very similar to the Member's Only Email List, but aimed to facilitate discussions amongst our hike leaders, or those interested in leading hikes or in the process in general. As our group continues to grow, the challenge now is to help create guidelines and policies and some semblance of "structure", yet still maintain the casual, flexible feel of the East Bay Casual Hiking Group. I strongly urge all of our current, past, and future hike leaders to modify your subscription settings and join this new list. And anyone else who has thoughts on these topics is welcome to join as well. Let's get the dialogues started that are long overdue in helping to shape the future of the East Bay Casual Hiking Group.

I look forward to some healthy email exchanges on the new list.

See you on the Trails!

:) John

Happy Trails,

John




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