Mission peak, Sunol


20 December 2014

While I was busy hiking all the trails in the Mid-peninsula Regional Open Space District, I pretty much ignored the other parks and open spaces. But now it’s time to revisit the old friends. Today was for Mission Peak and Sunol.

Mission peak - Sunol

As always, I went up the southern route, of which Horse Heaven trail is the best-named segment. It rained yesterday, and the trail was squidgy in a lot of places. A difficult hike under the best of circumstances, the mud made it serious hard work today. Well, I need the exercise: two weekends ago, I was on a plane. Last weekend, after flying home, I did a short 8-mile hike on Saturday and a bike ride on Sunday. So I’m out of shape, overdue.

Mission peak - Sunol

An overcast day, the fog lifting slowly. There were even a few minutes of feeble sunshine toward late morning, but not enough to warm things up. When it greens up, this country is really beautiful.

Mission peak - Sunol

Flag Hill, above the Sunol visitor center. I sometimes go up there when I want to make this into a killer hike, but I think Sunol is enough for today (15 miles, 4000 feet of climb). And as it turned out, the bridge at Sunol park is closed for repairs, and I probably wouldn’t have wanted to ford the creek anyway.

Mission peak - Sunol

 Once a trail patroller, always a trail patroller. I noted the GPS coordinates of this deadfall and reported it.

Mission peak - Sunol

I am reminded that the native rock here is shellstone. Nice.

Mission peak - Sunol

As I start down the front side of Mission peak, my eye is caught by an interesting juxtaposition of rock and tree. I never noticed that before.

Mission peak - Sunol

I stopped for calories not too far from the top, sat on a bench enjoying the world spread below. The calves in a small herd of cows were cavorting around like puppies. I was impressed by their energy.

Mission peak - Sunol

Well, it turned out that the calves had good reason to scamper around. The world’s most optimistic coyote was trying its luck. By the time I was near the cows, the calves were over on the other side of the herd, and the adult cows were studiously ignoring the coyote.

Mission peak - Sunol

Today’s other wildlife sighting was after I had already gone through the parking lot, down the street toward where I had left my car (no one ever parks in the parking lot: it’s always full!).

Mission peak - Sunol

Nice to get out, nice to do a little work.

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