Derrick and I have been in California now for almost 2 years but we still have yet to do a lot of things that I feel we should be able to easily do. I’m looking at you, Alcatraz, Winchester Mystery House, and Big Sur. One thing we have talked about doing for awhile is hiking Mission Peak.
So last Saturday, we decided to try out a route that would be a 13 mile round-trip trek from Ed Levin Park in Milpitas, to Monument Peak, to Mission Peak, and back (Go big or go home, right?). According to Wikipedia, the route we chose climbs 2200 ft from the park to Monument Peak ( elevation: 2598 ft) and then it is about 3 miles to Mission Peak (elevation of 2520 ft) from there.
Anyway, we set out on the trail around 8 that morning with a friend of ours and her boyfriend’s dad.
Let’s start with the highlights of the trip:
I had a hard time picking out what pictures to share in the post, so if you like looking at pretty pictures of beautiful landscapes, head over to: theqshikingadventures(dot)shutterfly(dot)com; it’s a share site on Shutterfly with a larger album of more photos from our hike. Hypothetically, when we do other hikes that we are trying to plan to do, I’ll throw up other pictures over there too.
Now let’s talk about some of the less awesome parts of the adventure…
First, if you plan to be in the sun for several hours, where a good deal of your hike is not shaded/through trees and your skin is exposed, sunscreen might be a good idea. Exhibit A:
We at least were smart enough to wear hats but our poor arms and legs suffered, although by Wednesday I could at least stand underneath the warm water in the shower for more than about 10 seconds, so that was a big improvement.
Secondly, and more importantly, Have you ever thought about how large and terrifying cows can be? I drive past the hills and cows every day for work and I always think oh how peaceful, what a lovely pastoral view. But when you get up close to cows that are not used to a lot of people and they have their calves with them…SCARY.
For example, as we were coming back down the trail (and starting to get tired and dehydrated after hours of hiking), we passed some cattle grazing, so we gave them wide berth. But one cow still kept staring at us, then put his head down and started pawing the ground. I really thought he was going to charge us, which was not a pleasant thought, so we skidaddled past as quickly as possible. Then, a little further down, the trail headed back into some woodsy area and I was so excited about the blessed shade that awaited us. Except for when we got to the woods, we saw several cows and a calf literally blocking the trail. As we stood there, in the sun, locked in an epic human vs. cow stare-down, trying to decide what to do, more cows came up from the creek, adding to their numbers. Outnumbered and terrified of what would happen if we tried to get by them (did I mention there were four of us and we are all grown adults?), we carefully picked our way down the hillside to the creek, walked down a bit from where the trail/cows were, crossed the creek, then climbed up the other side, hoping to pick up the trail. No such luck on the trail, so instead we wended our way across a ridge in the hillside to make it back to the trail. The only good thing about cresting the hill on the other side of the creek was that the area was cow-free.
Our off-roading adventure cost us time and energy, and by that point it was 1 or so in the afternoon, with a temperature of about 90 and the sun beating mercilessly down on us. Our water bottles were almost empty, and as we trudged on, we still had yet to glimpse the parking lot. After a grand total of 6.5 hours of hiking, we finally made it back, feeling accomplished, but also very tired, hot, and thirsty.
On the way home, Derrick and I stopped at the grocery store for water/Gatorade and also thought a pit stop at the Jamba Juice next door was a good idea (it was, in fact, a marvelous idea).
The sunburn and run-ins with cows were totally worth it though because it was a great hike with such gorgeous views. And my FitBit loved it took. I earned two badges thanks to that hike:
There’s still a lot of great hiking to be found around the Bay, so I’m already trying to decide what to try out next time (maybe not another 13-mile hike anytime soon though!)