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Date Sent:      May 16, 2008
Subject:           Iron Horse or Briones Sunday - Mission Peak Tuesday
From:               John Bondon
Special thanks to Evan for leading last Sunday's hike at Mount Diablo. Evan reports:
    "It was a fantastic hike. We had 12 people in our group. Although it was a dry year on Mt. Diablo, there were still wildflowers in most locations. After sweating it out to Deer Flat, we were rewarded by the rare Wind Flower. This beautiful orange flower can only be found in this part of Mt. Diablo and nowhere else on earth. Everyone took pictures and looked at this hard to be found rare wildflower.

    Then we all settled in for an hour of relaxation and socializing at the picnic tables. Many thanks to Vitaly who shared Russian chocolates with everyone. Yum!

    Afterward, we took our time getting back to the trailhead. There was lots of laughter and conversation as well as picture taking of views down the canyon and more wildflowers. A very good time was had by all. Another thanks to Mark for volunteering to be the sweep.
    "
Member Peggi sent the following email about the hike, as well, complete with pictures, too!
    " the hike was 7 miles and up to an altitude of 2120 feet. So, our climb was 15-1600 feet. This hike was billed as a wildflower hike, as soon they'll all be gone. No rain in March and April makes them less abundant, but we still saw about 8 different flowers, some only grown on Mt. Diablo. I don't know the names of those, of course. But we did see Indian Paint Brush, Columbine, Lupine, CA Poppy and Primrose.

    This hike, similar to a hike I took in March, has its trailhead less than 4 miles from my house. Amazing that with a hop and a skip you are in the wild. Fortunately, no snakes were viewed today. Saw lots of Poison Oak, butterflies and lady bugs.
    "
Yes, Peggi, I agree that we are fortunate to live in an area that affords us such wonderful hikng opportunities! You can find more of Peggi's pictures as well as some shared by fellow member Jenny online here: http://hiking.bondon.com/pictures/?Path=Evan_May11_Hike/ . Also, you will find a few more pictures from Andrew's 3 Peaks hike from a couple weeks ago now available online as well. I didn't have time to get all the pics I received uploaded last time so I finally got the last one set up on the server. Those can be viewed here: http://hiking.bondon.com/pictures/?Path=3Peaks/.


I realize a lot of you have been sitting on the sidelines lately from hiking, as there hasn't been too many "easy" hikes of late. So if this sounds familar, my short, paved, Iron Horse trail hike is for YOU! I am leading the upcoming Iron Horse Trail - Pleasant Hill BART to Whole Foods (paved) hike this Sunday, May 18 at 10:10 AM: "This week marks the 10 year Anniversity of the opening of the Iron Horse Trail Overcrossing across Ygnacio Valley Road. Join us for a walk across it and hear of plans for a similar crossing (maybe) over Treat Blvd in the coming years.".

Due to a tennis match in the afternoon, I will have to cut the hike a bit short, so I will only be leading until Whole Foods and then walking back. I'm guessing the total distance will only be about 4 or 5 miles round trip. If someone would like to lead a longer version of this hike into Danville and back, please approach me Sunday morning! Iron Horse is a paved trail and about as flat as flat gets here in California, so the hike is dog as well as baby stroller friendly (except there will be one major road crossing at a traffic signal, and a couple more at cross walks)! The whole idea of this hike is to pay tribute to the 10 year anniversary of the opening of the Ygnacio Valley Road Overcrossing, which officially opened May 16th, 1998. We'll begin our hike by talking about plans for a future overcrossing at Treat Blvd (by the Pleasant Hill BART station), then crossing Treat on our way southbound toward the pedestrian bridge at Ygnacio Valley Road.

For those looking for something a little more strenuous, Diane says of the upcoming Briones Reservoir Loop hike on Sunday, May 18 at 9:00 AM: "This is a counter clockwise loop around the beautiful Briones Reservoir starting out on the Bear Creek trail which is a single track trail (no dogs permitted). Once we get through the gate at the Bear Creek Staging area, we will be on the Oursan Trail which is dog friendly. It is important that you know your ability and limitations. If you are unsure whether or not you can do this hike, you probably should not attempt it. When we've done this hike in the past, inexperienced hikers have not been happy campers and I encourage these hikers to do shorter hikes. I am a fast hiker and I cannot guarantee that anyone else will be co-leading from the back. While we are mostly looping around the reservoir which will be to our left, there are times when this is not the case and hikers must be able to read and navigate trail markers. ".

There is also a weeknight hike next week and a FULL MOON! John says of the upcoming Mission Peak Regional Preserve hike on Tuesday, May 20 at 6:30 PM: "My favorite evening hiking spot. We'll hike to the top, enjoy the sunset, then head back down! Only 3 miles each way, but very steep, so expect to get your heart pounding and your lungs complaining! This hike is dog friendly. ".

Andrew says of the upcoming Briones Reservoir to Inspiration Pt. hike on Sunday, May 25 at 9:00 AM: "The climb to the top is difficult, but the rewards make it worthwhile.".

Last but not least, one final friendly reminder that our Kings Canyon away trip is a little over a month away! The six page Information Packet has recently been updated and contains complete details about the trip. You can download a copy of it as well as a listing of additional accomodation choices from the Hike Details page. Don't forget that we are still seeking a volunteer to lead a Saturday hike. If you are interested, please contact me!

You'll find more details about each of these upcoming hikes, including starting time and directions to the trailhead, 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.

Happy Trails! :) John

Happy Trails,

John




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