Rose Peak, the granddaddy of killer hikes


Saturday, 6 April 2013

Rose peak is the loop that first prompted me to use the term killer hike. 19 miles, 4900 feet of climb. My most recent visit was last fall, when I discovered the Sunol gate was locked until the official opening hour of 8 AM. In winter, that creates a problem with daylight hours; although it ought to be okay, there’s not as much margin for error as I like.

So today I planned my arrival for 8. Had time to say good morning to the wild turkey crossing the road in front of me. Had time to enjoy the plenitude of woodpeckers poking through last year’s acorn fall for overlooked goodies. Rolled through the gate right at 8; it was already open, the parking lot was well-nigh full, and great clusters of people were getting ready to go hiking.

I hope they’re not all going to Rose peak.

A chilly, cloudy day with the forecast possibility of rain showers, clearing up later on. There is no such thing as bad weather, merely inadequate clothing, but I am not disadvantaged with inadequate clothing today. Rain showers are okay if they happen, and okay if they don’t.

This open, dry grassland does not host lots of newts, nothing like the damp forests of the peninsula, but I did see one. That’s unusual. And I found a banana slug, also adapted to the requirements of local coloration. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one in this particular shade.



Lots of people out on this trail. I like having the world to myself, but I have to admit that it’s good to see people willing and able to take on this level of challenge. On the downside, I saw food wrappers, tissue, water bottle caps and such along the trail, people who just can’t seem to get the idea.

Before I reached the top, the clouds turned into mist and fog. I put on my rain shell, knowing that I would sweat even more on the uphill, but it would be welcome when I started down. And so it was.


Here’s how it looked near the top.


The weather deteriorated as I started down. The light mist turned into heavy mist, then into occasional light rain. Not a problem, but it created wonderful opportunities to photograph the wildflowers.











By the time I had descended a thousand or fifteen hundred feet, the rain had pretty much stopped, and I took off the jacket. I could see nice weather blowing in from the west, but it took a while to arrive.



I believe this one is called goat rock, and Rose peak is somewhere on or behind the ridge to the left. On the way up, I saw a hiker heading over to explore it. Something I have always been tempted to do myself, but the rules say that we’re supposed to stay on the trails. One of these days…


Although it’s still early spring, this butterfly has been around long enough to get its wings tattered.


This view was pretty unusual. There are lots of wildflowers out, but the yellow ones dominate the visual scene. Only when you get close up do you see the intertwingled little pink and purple flowers. In this particular scene, there isn’t much of a mix at all. Very pretty.



Jacky says this would make a great jigsaw puzzle, but very difficult.


It was just after 4 when I got back to the car, on what had turned out to be a pretty nice day after all.

As I drove back to the main road, I passed three wild turkeys off to the side; the male’s fantail was fully splayed out in the glory of optimism. The females were of course studiously ignoring him, while of course staying right nearby so they wouldn’t miss any of the show.

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3 Responses to “Rose Peak, the granddaddy of killer hikes”

  1. Morgan Says:

    Hello Dave
    I was searching for an image of Mist and Rain for a poem I’ve written and came across your Beautiful photographs above. I am wondering if you might grant me permission to use one of them as my Poem Illustration, Please? I will of course link back to your blog and give you credit for the Amazing Photograph. However, do feel free to decline, should you wish to.

    Thanks Ever So
    Morgan (


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