Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Trinity Alps

I needed to escape for the of 4th of July after having not left the four Bay Area counties since I moved in May. Luckily, a few other friends felt the same way, so Tessaly (a classmate who I studied with in Australia), Allison (another classmate) and her boyfriend Kevin and I left Berkeley early on the 4th headed north for our first stop in quaint Weaverville. After working our way through a quintessential small-town 4th of July parade with baton twirlers, classic cars, and even a tank (!!!), we grabbed our permit and drove to the Stoney Ridge Trailhead. Or at least where the map showed the road to the trailhead; fortunately, a local pointed us in the direction of the actual trailhead, and we were off!

And wow, it was BLAZING-- 98 on Friday, 99 on Saturday, and 102 on Sunday. Everyone worked up a good sweat on the climb up 3,000 feet to our camp at beautiful Echo Lake.

And sunset was especially spectacular:

The next day we day-hiked the eight-mile long Four Lakes Loop, around Deer Lake, Diamond Lake, Luella Lake, and finally Round Lake. Looking down on Deer Lake from the pass:

From the next pass, Tessaly and I hiked up prominent 8,160-foot tall Siligo Peak. Here's Tessaly taking it in (note Shasta hiding in the distance):

After a refreshing dip in Emerald Lake (one advantage of the heat is that the lakes were pleasant), we finished the loop, and headed back to camp and enjoyed another sunset. 

The next day we woke up early (it's super unusual to be able to get out of the tent in shorts!), and hiked back to the car. Alas-- back toward Trinity Lake and civilization.

A fun trip with some new backpacking buddies! Looking forward to the next trip!!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

We're Headed West

After a few weeks back in the Bay, the old Bay Area Backpacking Crew got back together: my brother Matthew and his friend Pat (see our Mt Stanford trip from October 2012). We decided to take on the Bay's toughest overnight trail: the 28-mile Ohlone trail, from Mission Peak in Fremont to Del Valle Regional Park near Livermore, with a staggering 7000-feet plus elevation gain.

After dropping a car off at the far end and fighting traffic, we started hiking near 7 PM on Friday with a climb up Mission Peak:

Still green and beautiful, at least for a few more weeks. By the time we got to the summit the wind was whipping and the fog was rolling in. Still managed to snag this:

After that, we hiked down to our campsite at Eagle Spring (which was ironically dry). A dry spring = a lot of water weight to carry 3,000 feet up Mission Peak. The next day we hiked through classic California Coastal Scrub Oak,

down to the Sunol visitor center, and then way back up to Maggie's Half Acre, a site just below Rose Peak, where my brother and I had camped in October. Really incredible views from the summit at 3,817 feet:

And the views are even better after dark-- east to Stockton, south to San Jose, north to San don't really do it justice.

The next day we woke up early, and hiked the last 9 miles out to Del Valle Regional Park (and the celebratory In-n-Out in Livermore). The Ohlone Trail is tough, but is a little-known gem hidden in the  East Bay-- definitely worth the trip.

Some other Back-To-The-Bay adventures:

Giant's games are always fun:

And I finally made it to an A's game:

I also finally completed the Bay Area Peak Challenge after climbing Mt Diablo (great views!),

and Mt Hamilton (a brutal climb).

I also decided to capitalize on being in great post-hiking shape by signing up for the San Francisco Marathon at the end of July (coming up!). I was feeling great during my training, so I signed up for the Western Pacific Marathon in Union City in early May and made my goal of a Boston Qualifier, running 3:04:35, second in my age group and third overall!

Running is definitely not the beautiful game. My triumphant-hands-in-the-air finish looked a little more pathetic once I saw the photos:

And oh yeah, it's nice to live somewhere again:

Glad to be back. Stay tuned for more!