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Date Sent:      October 17, 2008
Subject:           A Clean Bill of Health
From:               John Bondon
We had 21 hikers, if memory serves me, plus 2 dogs, show up for last Sunday's Lime Ridge Open Space (north and south) hike. My apologies to those who wanted something longer. As it turned out our route was only about 2.5 miles in total length and about an hour timewise.

I forgot to include Evan's hike report for his hike 2 Saturdays ago on October 4th to the Farmers Market in last week's email so here it is now:
    " No matter how many times you hike the same trail, there's always something new to see each time. Two Saturdays ago, several of us spotted a man hiking the trail with a huge bird perched on his arm. It turned out that he had recently rescued a prairie falcon and was bringing it out to get used to people. He was more than happy to show off his bird and answer all our questions. It almost felt like we were at a show in a wild animal park, but without the admission price. What a treat!

    We then continued on to the farmers market where we enjoyed whole wheat crepes, strawberries, peaches, plum, and chocolate pudding made out of tofu and walnuts. It was a real feast! After our picnic, we then hiked back burning off some of the calories we had eaten. Everyone enjoyed themselves and there was lots of conversation. We'll have to do this hike again!

Andrew reports of his hike yesterday, October 16th:
    " There were 7 hikers and 3 dogs on another beautiful East Bay day. The dogs love this park because they are allowed to be off leash. Shell Ridge is such a beautiful place. "

Follow-up to Why the Hike Leader is not always the Lead Hiker.

For those who have been on this email list for some time, you may remember my April 10th email this past spring titled Why the Hike Leader is not always the Lead Hiker. In it I wrote about the difficulty I had during the Murietta Falls hike and the importance of knowing your limits and how I handled pushing my own limits. I received a lot of feedback from that email from fellow members concerned about my health and insisting that I get a checkup. My suspicion at the time was that my difficulties with that hike was not a result of any serious medical problem, but more a symptom of my degraded level of physical fitness (compared to years past) as well as a belief that I do not do well at higher altitudes. Just to play it safe, however, I did, in fact, schedule a physical checkup with my doctor (I was due anyway) and relayed what transpired on that day. I also inquired about getting an EKG test but my doctor was confident I did not need one. After giving me the once over, he gave me a clean bill of health and attributed my difficulties to the possibility of my recent weight gain, decreased physical exercise, and simply being a little older. The elevation could also have been a contributing factor.

The elevation theory is one that I firmly believe in as well because on every past hiking expedition at higher elevation I have experienced problems. A more recent example of this was our Kings Canyon away camping trip for the Panther Gap & Mehrten Meadow hike. A trip that we had originally not intended to hike all the way up to Alta Peak, but after hiking all that way and being so close to the peak, in the end 3 of us decided to proceed. I did end up making it all the way to the top of the 11,204 ft peak, but had considerable difficulty on the way back down, which I described in my August 14th email

So now that you know all this, I have decided I'm not going to further test my limits at this time to attempt this Sunday's MORGAN TERRITORY HIKE. I don't think I'm in good enough shape to climb 2,000 ft in 2 miles right now. Plus the fact that I have a head cold doesn't help either! So I will forgo hiking this weekend, but hope to join you back out on the trails the following weekend!

One final point about that Murietta Falls hike I failed to mention in my Why the Hike Leader is not always the Lead Hiker email was the fact that I maintained 2-way radio contact with my wife, Prachi, the whole time. I know a lot of people were concerned that the group had left me behind or that I was hiking alone without anyone knowing what I was going thru. But in reality, my wife knew and kept checking in on me to see how I was doing. I told her I was going to take it really slow and to proceed ahead with the group. I figured if I got to the point where I couldn't continue I would just wait for them and re-connect on the return trip (it was an in and back type hike, not a loop). I mention this to emphasise the importance of having a form of communication other than your cell phone on these types of hikes. Two-way radio (walkie talkies) come in mighty handy in a area like the Ohlone Regional Wildnerness where cell phone coverage is sparse or non-existant.

A Preview of our upcoming hikes, by the hike leader(s):

Andrew says of the upcoming MORGAN TERRITORY HIKE (FINLEY RD. ENTRANCE) hike on Sunday, October 19 at 9:30 AM: "If you want to tone those legs and hips, this hike is for you. You will work hard.".

Andrew says of the upcoming Twin Ponds Loop hike on Thursday, October 23 at 10:00 AM: "We may get to feed the chickens at Borges. One of them is very fond of dried cranberries, eating them right off the table.".

Andrew says of the upcoming Wall Point hike (Macedo Ranch) hike on Sunday, October 26 at 9:30 AM: "I hope the beautiful autumn weather holds. The trails are dry.".

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! :)

Happy Trails,


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