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Date Sent:      July 09, 2009
Subject:           Know Thy Limits
From:               John Bondon

hike hike Family and work life has tied me up these past few weeks, so it's been awhile since I've shared some of the hiking reports from the past. Along with pictures to boot! Enjoy what follows. But notice a common theme conveyed in all of the more recent emails I have received - taking responsibility for your own personal safety.

A couple of weeks ago I relayed the very sad and tragic news about the passing of fellow member Manoj Kumar while hiking Half Dome. Shortly after sending out that email, I was alerted to another fatal hiking incident at Santa Teresa County Park, near San Jose. According to news reports, 57-year old Linda Fradkin allegedly collapsed in tripple digit heat conditions and died while hiking alone. The really shocking thing about all this, is that this is a woman who was very athletic, was known to carry water and a survival pack on her while hiking, and often continued to hike on her own even after hiking with the group. On this particular day, she was hiking with a local singles group. After finishing the hike the group gathered at a local restaurant while Linda ventured on and continued solo. She was reportedly training for a month long backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon. Sadly, her body was discovered just 3 hours after that group hike ended.

The common theme in all of these recent stories, and in a recent report from EBCHG leader, Andrew, (posted below) is personal safety, and knowning your own limits. One of the things I am very proud about this hiking group of ours is our attention to safety and the "looking out for everyone" attitude. It's great to be part of a casual group that doesn't take hiking so seriously, and is welcoming to hikers of all ages and abilities. Yet despite all this "care for thy neighbor" approach, the bottom line remains "care for thyself" first and foremost! At the end of the day, only YOU are responsible for YOU! Our hike leaders and your fellow members are not there to protect you from yourself or any other danger. Only you can take responsibility for yourself. To know your limits. Know when to stop. Know when to turn back. To know when to ask for help. And to be prepared with the proper attire and supplies, such as water, a cell phone and/or 2-way radio, and a map of the trail or local area if you get lost. Such preparations are ultimately YOUR responsibility and no one else's. It's easy to become lax with safety considerations and even to downplay the weather factors. Hiking so close to modern civilization you woulnd't think there really was much risk. But even for an avid hiker like Linda, if the toxicology reports come back and confirm a natural cause of death, this should serve as a wake up call for each of us who hikes alone, or without all the proper gear (especially adequate WATER!).


Andrew reports of the June 21st Pleasanton Ridge hike:

    A wonderful day with 42+ hikers and 6+ dogs. 7+ lively miles for my loop and 5 miles for Howards loop. Some dogs found the stock pond. 2 hikers made a wrong turn and met us at the halfway point. I gave them my highlighted trail map and told them how to get back. We waited about 1/2 hour after the hike at the staging area, but nothing. I can't be everywhere. Hikers have to take responsibility for their actions.
Howard's Thursday June 11th Shell Ridge hike report:
    There were 10 hikers for our Borges Ranch loop hike from Wiget Lane in Shell Ridgs. Good hiking weather, a congenial group and another new way to get to Borges Ranch. An enjoyable outing!
The June 14th Wall Point hike was more than just a trek; there was FOOD in the form of a potluck afterwards too! Andrew reports:
    We had 40 hikers on another beautiful East Bay day. Many pictures taken. A nice mix of regulars and newcomers. Half of us stuck around for the potluck. We shared everything from meatballs to home baked bread to snacks to Brie. It seems popular to me. We will do this again next month. I have asked the hikers to help Howard and myself on these big hikes. We can't be everywhere. The response is posative. I know we need assistance on the big group hikes. I don't give up. We will find a solution that most are happy with.
Howard reports of the June 25th Shell Ridge hike:
    There were 9 hikers for our Shell Ridge hike from the Marshall Drive trailhead to Borges Ranch. We split into two groups and took slightly different routes to Borges Ranch, one slightly easier and the other more challenging. After a short rest/snack stop, we all returned together to the trailhead. It was ideal hiking weather, warm and sunny with a light, cooling breeze. A very enjoyable and healthful morning..
And finally, Andrew's June 28th King's Canyon hike report:
    We had 9 adventurous hikers on a really hot day. We all finished safely by staying together and hydrating. The toughest part was the descent from the big hill. It is in the sun and it was brutal. Back at the parking lot we sat in the shade, hydrated, and chatted about stuff. It was just after 12:00 and the temp was 100 degrees. I am really proud of these folks. They did everything right. I drank 2 liters of gatorade, but I was dehydrated. Any lessons I needed to learn, I learned. Don't mess with Mother Nature.

More past hike reports to follow next week. Until then, stay hydrated, stay cool, and hike SAFE!

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

Howard says of the upcoming Snyder Ln/Shell Ridge Loop hike on Thursday, July 9 at 9:30 AM: "Another 5-mile loop hike in Shell Ridge to Borges Ranch. Dog friendly, off-leash OK on trails.".

MARS says of the upcoming Mt Diablo Summit from Mitchell Canyon hike on Saturday, July 11 at 8:45 AM: "come join me on my annual D'assult D'iablo as I celebrate another birthday by summiting Mnt Diablo. Be prepared for hot weather. Only 100*+ weather will cancel this hike".

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,

John




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