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Date Sent:      March 23, 2005
Subject:           SATURDAY AFTERNOON hike
From:               John Bondon
Despite stating that last week's hike would be cancelled in the event of rain, our Fearless Leader, Brian, urged us to push on (He IS our "Fearless Leader" after all!), promising us "sunny skies" by the time we reached the top. It was Homer, Brian, myself, and a new recruit we met along the way named Steven.

The rain was mild. About 5 or 10 minutes of light rain every hour or so. And the mud wasn't as bad as I expected it to be either. And despite all my sports activities (soccer, tennis, hiking, volleyball, etc.), I still consider myself "out of shape" when it comes to endurance. I have no problem with short sprints, but I've never been one for long distance running ... my lungs just can't take that! So my lungs were pretty upset with me on some of the steeper parts of the Summit hike. I learned just how out of shape I am when a man, at least 20 years my senior, passed me at a slow pace JOGGING up a rather steep uphill grade!!! This is the same section I had to pause several times to catch my breath ... and I was WALKING!!! ;~)

Shortly after that section, however, we reached the actual "Summit Trail", and the rest of the hike was not nearly as steep.

It took us about 3 hours to reach the top. Lucky for us we found the Visitor Center at the top to be open, so we relaxed there for a bit. The view would have been amazing, except for the very overcast (aka "non-sunny") skies. Bummer. :(

On our return back down the hill, we couldn't have timed it any better. We left the safe, warm, shelter of the Visitor Center to be pummelled briefly by hail! (Yes, HAIL!)

A brief break for lunch and we were back at the cars 7 hours after starting. All in all, a fun day! And a great hike!

Many thanks to Brian for leading this one! For those who missed it, Brian, is considering (or is it threatening?) to lead a similar hike later this summer, except the goal would be to reach not one, but all 4 Mount Diablo peaks! ... Brian, is that even possible in a single day? ... Stay tuned for details of that. :)

This Sunday I am tied up with family obligations, so I have decided to try a Saturday afternoon hike instead. We'll return to Las Trampas, but unlike most of the past hikes, this time drive all the way to the end of the road into the paved parking lot. We'll begin our hike by walking up the paved trail, then cut over across the ridge, and then loop back down the dirt trail. Basically the exact opposite of how I usually do it. :) Note a slightly modified start time of 1PM.

You'll find more details about this upcoming hike posted on the East Bay Casual Hiking website. In case of RAIN, phone my cell phone to find out if the hike is still on. Hope to see you there! :)

John
925-457-7717 cell

Happy Trails,

John




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