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Date Sent:      June 16, 2005
Subject:           Strange Weather & a Kid Friendly Hike
From:               John Bondon
Hello all,

These are strange times indeed that we now live. I am referring to our recent weather patterns here in "sunny" California. Last Sunday I did Brian's Four Peaks Hike, and was quite suprised at the cool breeze in the afternoon, as we venture in open sunlight up to the North Peak, and then on to Mount Olympia. It is not unusual to feel a breeze on Mount Diablo this time of year. Normally that breeze is a warm breeze, and the daytime temperatures are approaching the triple digit range! What is unusal for mid-June is to feel an ocean cool breeze while climbing Mount Diablo at 2 o'clock in the afternoon!! And now, today, it is raining and feels more like late winter than the middle of June!

First a recap of last Sunday's two hikes. Evan reports about the hike he and Tina lead from Mitchell Canyon to Juniper Flat:

We had nine people in addition to Tina and I. The air was cool and pleasant when we started, but things really warmed up as we started making our way to Juniper Flat. Fortunately, we were able to break the climb into two parts, resting and sharing snacks at Deer Flat before climbing the last 900 feet to Juniper Flat. Approaching the 3000 foot elevation level, we were treated to spectacular wildflower displays and views of the snowcapped peaks of the Sierra. We then relaxed in the shade of Juniper Flat eating lunch and enjoying the cool mountain breezes and views of the San Francisco Bay. On the way down the mountain, we noticed more wildflowers and the ever increasing heat. By the time we reached the parking lot at the bottom of the canyon, the mercury on my pack thermometer read 95 degrees! We were sweaty and tired, but happy for having had the experience of hiking through beautiful mountains together as a group.

Brian reports:

From rabbit to rattlesnake,
To dozens of vultures circl'in our heads,
We hiked the Diablo peaks.
"Throw rocks at the snake", John Bondon had said.
At the summit a plane even barrel-rolled overhead.
With over four thousand total feet of elevation gain,
10 hours and 20 miles later - we finally did it,
but oh what a pain.



Just to clarify, I never implied to actually hit the snake with a rock! Merely try to scare it to move. In the end, though, we decided not to mess with the very unhappy to see us rattler, and found an alternate path.

Thanks again to Brian, Evan, and Tina for leading last weeks great hikes!

Last week a post on the Member's Only Email List sparked discussion in more "kid friendly" hikes. And being that this Sunday is Father's Day, what better time to lead a kid friendly hike? Adriene has been gracious enough to step forward and offer to lead such a hike. It will be at Lake Chabot in Castro Valley starting at 10AM. Note that this will be along the West Shore Trail, which is paved, so mud shouldn't be a problem.

Adriene decribes the hike as follows:
The route will be a paved trail, that runs between the Lake Chabot Marina parking lot, along the left side of the lake and past the damn to a picnic area. The round trip is a little over three miles and takes a little more than an hour to walk. It has some hills, but is mostly pretty easy. We would return the way we came and there are benches looking out over the water, so people can stop and rest and go at there own pace and still catch the rest of the group on their way back.

You'll find more details about this upcoming hike posted on the East Bay Casual Hiking website. In case of rain, phone Adriene directly for an update.

Happy Trails! :)

Happy Trails,

John




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