Thursday, September 15, 2011

Last Wednesday Night Uphill Hike of the Season

SUMMARY: Rancho San Antonio with the Sierra Club
Almost all the parks around here close a half hour after sunset, which means that between late September and April, hikes starting at 6 in the evening have nowhere to go. Since the Sierra Club Wednesday night hike starts at 6, we instead will prowl suburban areas--typically 5 or 6 brisk miles, but no uphills.

Last night I believe was the group's last night in the hills for the year, at Rancho San Antonio. We hiked briskly the whole way with only a couple of brief stops. Hike was about 5 miles and 500 feet elevation gain, most of that in the .8 miles getting to the Vista Point. (From St Joseph School, along the Lower Meadow Trail, up the High Meadow Trail to the Vista Point, down the Wildcat Loop Trail to the Rogue Trail, and back out the Lower Meadow Trail to the school.)

I started out at the front and did a pretty good job of staying there on the less steep portions.


Along the lower path, we saw two lounging bucks on the hillside in the shade, making for a beautiful photo...
...that is, if you carried your 100-400mm on your Canon SLR, like Bob did (that's Bob's shot)--I didn't even bother trying with my little pocket camera.

We were moving too briskly for me to want to fall behind for photo ops, and most of it was too dark for decent photos with my little pocket camera. Up at the Vista Point, though, it came out of my pocket.


It was not a night for views, wayyy too hazy and with a layer of foggish material sitting on the bay.

The group admired what there was of the view, chitchatted, and discussed which route was the fastest to get back down and out of the park in legal time.



Then someone pointed out that there were two deer grazing not more than 15 feet from us. My camera wanted to do the flash thing, and it also shifted to a higher ISO for a pretty grainy and dark photo anyway.
This deer turned and looked straight at us for a moment. I fumbled just a bit too long and caught her turning away.

Here's Bob taking photos of the same deer.


This is what *his* photo turned out like. That's why he's got a lot of great wildlife shots and I don't. Willingness to haul 10 pounds of camera gear at all times.

Then we turned and raced for the exit, arriving under flashlight power well after dark.

(Thanks to David H (in the red jacket above) for the photos of me; he took more photos, mostly of the group, posted here.)

1 comment:

  1. I don't like hauling my telephoto lens either. My point and shoot has a good zoom though and decent enough quality if the light is good.

    Most of the trails around me are open in the dark and people do go out on them, especially the runners, but I'd be too nervous of mountain lions and bears in the dark. I went out once or twice at 4:30 a.m. on a weekday when I was training for a marathon and it kind of freaked me out, especially the headlights from the cars in town flashing around all weird in the hills.

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