a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Presidents' Weekend Sunday

Monday, February 20, 2012

Presidents' Weekend Sunday

SUMMARY: Climb Mission Peak

Don't I whine about how I hate getting up to an alarm for dog agility? OK, so today it was 5:30 instead of 4:00, but at least I wasn't looking at a 2-hour drive and a long long weekend. Instead, it was time for me to climb Mission Peak for my very first time.

This is a popular hike because of the view and the exercise. It's only about 4 miles to the top, which is over 2500 feet above sea level, and the hike starts at about 400 feet.

This is part of our Bay Area Ridge Trail project. Our original plan was to do a bunch of shuttling back and forth, but Plans Changed at the very last minute.

I drove about half an hour out to Ohlone College to meet everyone at 7:00.

Mission peak around 6:45. It was chilly; not freezing, but the breeze had a bit of a bite.

We were on the trail by about 7:35. Everyone's fresh and rarin' to go: Eight people, 7 dogs (belonging to only 4 of the people).

I take up my usual position at the rear of the pack--not deliberately, but for a variety of dull reasons.

About 2 hours into the hike of steady uphill (fairly gradual, thank goodness), we can actually suddenly see the little pinpoint top of the peak in the distance. Now it feels like we're getting close. Tika and Boost spend their time going back and forth between the lead dogs and checking up on me.

Just before the last steep push to the top--Lo! A picnic table and ***restroooms***! The crowds rejoiced! And the crowds also stood in long lines while the dogs scouted for food.

Then there's the last, very steep, with occasional rocky scrambles, to the very peak. And there are a zillion other people pushing for the top or already on their ways down. As I said, a popular hike.

And here we are, finally, and it's only 9:50! My uphilling muscles were hurtin' pretty bad by now, but I did manage to walk up the last few stones to pose with the Merle Girls at the doohickey atop the peak. (You can look through the little tubes to see various sights.) Beyond me, to the northwest, is the city of Fremont and then the San Francisco Bay, then the coastal range.

We all relaxed for a bit, snacked on our lunches, enjoyed the views in all directions. Off to the east, could actually see the snow-topped peaks of the Sierras out beyond the far range of mountains, but they're almost impossible to see in this photo--that's a long way far off (couple hundred miles?).

Then it was time for... Group Photo! All the dogs are visible but you have to kind of work at it. Today it's a papillon, a smallish mixed breed, four border collies, two aussies, and Tika.

Also, it was time to get moving again. I could see the dogs' breath as they exhaled, so it's still pretty chilly, and all that sweat from the last 10 minutes of steep assent is cold cold COLD against our bodies. But we timed the day perfectly--just as we start down, the sun comes out! (So we didn't have to do the hard hiking in the direct sun.) And it's only 10:15. [I'm looking at the times on my photos, and I thought it was an hour later...but, dunno, the earlier photos have the correct time.]

Going down is very hard, too hard, on my wonky knee, and I get slower and slower and am hurtin' by the end--not great pain, but the knee just isn't working right any more. It takes us almost 2 hours to get back down the mountain as a result. But we make it in one piece, do our verbal high fives, and head home--and the dogs (all of whom covered about twice as many miles as us feeble humans) just collapse and sleep.

When I get home, I discover that I have a nearly flat tire, so the rest of the afternoon is taken up with taking care of that. And then I have to do a few chores and important other things so that I can get to bed and rest up for Monday's adventure.


  1. Great pictures, looks like a fun hike, especially for the dogs.

    Downhill is harder for me too. Taking itty bitty steps helps a lot.

  2. So cool! That is a tough one...both up and down. Love, Love, Love, your photos and comentary.


  3. Believe me, I was taking itty bitty steps. :-) I also wished that I had remembered my trekking pole. It was in my car, right next to my pack, and, well, doh...

    Vici--I'll bet you'd have been faster than me, too!