Sunday, February 18, 2007

Super Stroll Sunday

Come Super Bowl Sunday, I quickly recovered from the WM hike at Pt. Reyes the day before and decided to head back to Monument Peak.  I had attempted to climb it a week earlier but sort of missed.

I figured everybody would be watching the game, but the parking lot was still full when I got there at 3:00 and I had to wait for somebody to leave.  We set out up our usual route (the more interesting Peak Meadow Trail to Horse Heaven Trail).

This time, it was clear on the top of the ridge and I knew where to go.  We turned right after passing through the fence that runs along the top between Mt. Allison and Mission Peak.  This little road gets fainter and eventually turns into a use trail which goes up a gully right up to the top of Mt. Allison.  It's kind of crowded up there with radio and tv towers, but one feels compelled to get to the highpoint regardless.

At this point I had to decide whether to push on to Monument Peak.  It's something like a mile and half between the peaks so I was looking at one hour minimum to get there and back.  It was 4:30 or so so I would likely be heading down in the dark.  But I had my headlamp and thought the darkness couldn't be as bad as the clouds the week before so I set off for Monument Peak.

It was a nice ramble across the ridgetop.  Great views down towards Sunol.  Nobody else up there.  I don't think many hikers head this way and it was too late for any sane ones.

The sun was setting when we reached the top of Monument Peak (just about the same height as Mt. Allison).  Nice views all around.  Then we headed back.  We (oh, "we" is me and Raleigh) took the regular road back towards Mission Peak.  On the way, we kind of went cross-country over Mt. Allison.

It was getting really dark as we went around Mt. Allison to the gate in the fence to start the real climb down.  The lights below were pretty bright and the sky almost black.

Once we reached the gate, it was plain nighttime so I got out my headlamp.  The next couple hundred feet of descent is cross-country here; I just kept heading down and bearing slightly right so I would eventually hit the Horse Heaven Trail, which we did soon enough.  It was an uneventful descent from there.  Didn't seem anybody on our route, but I could see lights on the main trail down from Mission Peak (bikes, I thought).

Next time, Iwant to do all three peaks in one trip.  It would only have required another mile or so of walking and would have been easier coming down the trail from Mission Pk.   I might try that on Mar 3 (when there's a full moon).  I should try to find somebody willing to tag along.

Hike totals: 8 miles, 3000' elevation gain.
2007 totals: 58 miles, 13,900' elevation gain

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