Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Buddy Hike

Augustin Bernal Park in Pleasanton is quickly becoming my favorite place to hike. Last Saturday was a glorious day and we spent four hours exploring this 237 acre gem just a few minutes from my front door. Saturday was a buddy hike, this means that you hike with a smaller group of people that live around you. My group was very small, me, my mentor and one other woman and I'll tell you the conversations on the trail are quite different in such a small group than in the bigger group of other hikes. This fabulous place is part of the Pleasanton Ridge and you get to it via a guarded gate. Thats right, you pull up to a little guard house at the foot of a gated community of very large, very expensive homes. You give the guard your name and they take down your license plate and then they direct you to the left and up the hill. You pass by lots of big houses that prove that just because you have lots of money does not mean you have any taste. And then you arrive here

The trail starts out as a steep dirt path up and up, then we hit a narrow path thru the trees and we came out up on top of the ridge. This cow gate is open which led me to believe that we would not have to worry about any cows, which made my mentor pretty happy.

There are lots of trees down all over the ridge. This one seemed to have been down for a while. I am not sure if with all the rain trees are just falling over cause the ground is so wet or if it is just the natural way of trees.

While looking out over the hills you really believe that you are out in the wilderness, miles away from civilization. I think we only saw six other people during our hike until we were on our way back down when we met more people starting their hikes a little later than we did. There were so many different greens this day that I did not even have names for all of them. One of the most beautiful was a tree that had fallen down over a stream and was totally covered in emerald green moss, it looked like velvet.

Another road less traveled, this beautiful path lead to a dreadful downward part of the hike and I have learned that when you go down you have to come back up, but we actually were able to go around and up the other side that was not as steep.
Then there was the water. You could hear it long before you saw it and once we saw it, it was beautiful. After all the rain we have had this season the streams are full and musical.

This is looking back from where we came. If you look closely you can see my wet footprints on the rocks. I learned some valuable lessons, don't put both feet on the same rock. This can only lead to bad things and I realized it as soon as the rock started rocking back and forth. Then I learned the next lesson - place your trekking poles solidly in the stream to help keep your balance. Thank you Theresa and Janice for the instructions because of them I did not fall into the stream.
This journey has been difficult, I really did not think that hiking would be this hard, but wow do these places make it all worthwhile.

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