MISSION PEAK (2,517') 2X December 11, 2004

Seeking some exercise, and escape from the local valley fog, I deemed to motor west on I-80 to I-680 and south. The low clouds persisted until almost to Fremont, CA. I was treated to an ethereal view of the peak, clad in clouds. Exiting on Mission Boulevard, I motored a few miles south to Stanford Avenue (with a stop light), and turned left (east). This trailhead, being with no fees, was my choice for my second ascent of this popular Bay Area summit.

The parking lot was nearly full. I used the stone restroom, read the map on the signboard, and started my hike by a bit after 10 a.m. Hikers were coming down already. The route follows a gravel road, which was fine for hiking. It had been a slight bit muddy at the start, but the soil drains well. It was foggy till about half way up. I was surprised at how many hikers were climbing this peak. There must have been over a hundred doing the top.

A medley of nationalities strode up and down the road, attesting to the diversity of the Bay Area. Good vibes! I often raised a hand in greeting, with so many enjoying the day. I even ran into a Net message board hiker, who asked me if I was the hiker poster by the moniker of "Pete." We hiked up together for awhile, then they chose to take a steep route to the top. I continued up the gravel road, which is great for plenty of hiking use.

Reaching the main ridge, I turned right (south), as signs and the obvious dictated, then followed the footpath to the summit. My time up here was 1:45. This was a leisurely pace, for me, with plenty of stops and rests. Another website gives the gain as about 2,200 feet of gain. Better than a stairmaster!

The fog lay over parts of the view, with the South Bay in clouds. I started snapping photos, and then walked over past the lookout view post to the true highpoint. Good groups of people stood or sat about the two rocky summits. I had a good time trying for a good picture of myself. There is a higher peak to the south (photo above), but I deemed this enough. I figured to do another hike somewhere, but then, in the spirit of the holidays, chose to relax a full hour on top.

The fog over San Jose failed to dispel, so I headed down. Hikers were still headed up as I came back to the parking lot. The hills are green, and this will be a new route for me. My first time, in 1987, we started from Ohlone College. This has a fee, now, but is more gradual, I hear or read.

Back to my car by 2 p.m., I thought of what to do. I stopped at the Mission San Jose, and snapped a few photos for my other interested erstwhile companion, to be e-mailed. I then got drink and food at the nearby, nicely decorated McD's, with the nicest interior Christmas decor. Back to the Interstate, I headed home with one stop. Returning to the fog or clouds, the visibility wasn't then, too bad, and the traffic on I-80 ran smoothly.

The hike, this way, is given as about 6 miles with 2,200' gain. I shot over 200 images. Using maybe a half tank of fuel, I spent only about $20 total.

I used only two layers after stripping off two heavier layers. I brought along two liters, but many hikers had no packs or water. Kids were in T-shirts. There was some slight wind near the top, but it felt fine. No bugs, and lots of turkey vultures. Great fun for families who like hiking, with normally great views of the South Bay!