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    2003 Ohlone Wilderness Backpacking Trip - Day 2
    (Saturday, 10 May, 2003)

    See also my photo gallery from this trip.

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    Saturday, 10 May:
    I slept fitfully, waking several times, and finally woke for good at 6:20. It was 38°F outside, so I donned my wool cap and gloves as I set about heating water for coffee. After Sarah got up we hung up the rain fly to shake out the condensation that had gathered overnight. Sarah prepared oatmeal while I toasted an asiago cheese bagel and ate that with cream cheese (note to self - cream cheese is very non-squeezable when its been sitting out in sub-40°F weather all night!). We broke camp and hit the trail at 9:20.

    Sarah and I on top of Rose Peak A short ways up the trail we encountered the folks we'd met the previous evening. They asked how far it was to Murietta Falls, and after telling them it was about 2/3mi, we continued on our way. It was lovely out, warmer than the previous day, but not by any means hot. The trek to the base of Rose Peak was a constant moderately-steep grade before descending to the north fork of Indian Creek. It was a short, but lovely, stretch of mellower trail along the creek, which had scads of shooting stars lining it. After crossing the creek, the trail continued climbing more steeply.As we neared the top of the ridge below the peak, we met two backpackers coming the other direction who said that the trail west of Rose Peak wasn't all that scenic. I didn't believe them, having done some hiking in the area and finding it beautiful. As we neared Rose Peak, the hillsides were completely covered in magenta and white wildflowers. We passed some packs sitting at a trail junction, and soon saw their owners, 4 of them, presumably coming back from a side-trip to the top of Rose Peak. They were a quiet lot and passed by without more than a "hi." We soon came to the base of Rose Peak, dropped our packs, and headed up the 0.2mi use trail to the top. The summit wasn't very summit-like, being just a high point on a ridge-style summit, but the views were pretty good, with Mission Peak in the west, Mount Diablo to the north, Mount Hamilton to the south, and the rolling hills and central valley to our east. The ground was covered with a variety of wildflowers, and I took a pic of us using my tripod. After spending a little while enjoying the views, we headed back to our packs, devoured mucho beef jerkey and gummy bears, and began the downward leg of the days' hike.

    Delicate yellow'ish flowers! There were more people on the trail from the peak, mostly day-hikers going to Rose Peak (which would indeed be a lovely, and long dayhike!). We descended (steeply, of course) to the south fork of Indian Creek. A short, but hideously steep climb awaited us on the other side. As we slowly plodded up it, Sarah noticed a large bug dipping its rear end into a hole in the ground, presumably laying eggs. I took a closeup of it to see if I could later identify it (I couldn't). Thankfully the awful climb was over quickly, and we were rewarded with views of Mission Peak, our goal for tomorrow, and hills 2038' and 2201' to our north, where we'd been on another beautiful hike 6 weeks earlier. The descent seemed to go on forever, but it was very pretty. Goat Rock was below us, tempting me to make a brief detour to climb it, but I was tired and it was farther than I wanted to go. My feet, hips, and shoulders were getting decidely unhappy with me by this point, probably due to some small mis-adjustment in the belt of my pack. After Sarah vetoed my first choice for a lunch stop, we stopped for lunch under a lovely oak tree with nice branches to prepare our meals on (much nicer than where I'd suggested!).

    Really green hills! Lunch consisted of salami and cheese sandwiches. I piled mine high with both, both because I was hungry, and because Sarah had brought tons of food and I wanted to help lighten her load. After resting, eating, and doing some yoga stretches, we continued on our way towards the Sunol Backpacking Area. The next few miles had fewer wildflowers, but more wide-open views of verdant hills. We came to a gate and saw some large birds circling above. They didn't look like the usual vultures, so I pulled out my binoculars and we took a look. They turned out to be golden eagles - cool! I'd never seen eagles in the wild before, and they were beautiful. We were even more happy when we looked at a nearby hill through the binoculars and saw the sign for Eagles Aerie, our campsite for the evening. A short hike later and we arrived at our camp at 3:45.

    A stump full of woodpecker holes Eagle's Aerie was a sweet site, with a nice bench for unpacking gear, a metal plate to put the stove on, and, a quick scramble over a rock outcrop, a fabulous view over valleys and hills and out to Mission Peak. We found the water faucet and bathroom, both a steep descent from our camp. A number of folks came through our camp as we set up, scoping out which sites were best. The consensus was that our camp was the nicest, and after checking out Sky Camp (a very long, and extremely steep, hike from the main trail, water, and bathrooms) and Hawk's Rest (a relatively nondescript camp right on the main trail, but at least close to water and bathrooms), we were inclined to agree. We didn't know then that there were a handful of other sites north of us. Executive Chef Sarah prepared macaroni, cheese, dehydrated vegetables, ham and procsuitto while I relaxed - this was just fine by me! :) After eating two heaping bowls of pasta, we dragged our chairs to the edge of our camp and watched the sun set. As the sun dropped, a woodpecker did his business in a nearby tree and we spied on him with the binoculars, which had by now more than redeemed their (minimal) weight. After the sun set, we went to bed at 8:20, and I slept surprisingly well.

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    Day's statistics:
    Distance: 9.8mi
    Total Time: 5hrs 25min
    Elevation gain: 1,800 feet
    Difficulty: 7
    Scenery: 8
    Trail condition/markings/etc: 10 - extremely clearly marked, and in good condition considering the number of recent storms
    Wildflowers: 7
    Overall rating: 7

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    Last modified 08 February, 2011 MST
    Copyright © 2009 Adam R. Paul
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