Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Mission Peak Hike

Not all of our adventures are on the bikes, but they are adventures never the less they are fun

Couple of days ago Tiffany came up with a great idea of climbing up Mission Peak in order to be able to experience and photograph the view above the clouds.
Being that it is summer in Northern California and temperature has tendency to rise on average above 100's by mid day, we had to get up early enough in order to be at the trailhead at Ohlone College in Fremont CA, by 05:00 AM when the trail officially opens for a day. This location has plenty of parking spaces at the price of $2.00 during the weekday and it is free of charge during the weekend.
There are several other options of accessing trail system that will eventually take one up to Mission Peak, most known is at Stanford Avenue. Unfortunately this location has been used so often by to many day hikers and trail visitors that it has become a problem and nuisance for people living in its vicinity of the trailhead. Authorities are quoting that on average weekend close to 6000 people visits this Regional Park.

As one can see on the map above, reason why so many day visitors prefer Stanford Ave. access point is shortest distance from ones vehicle to the Mission Peak 2.2 Miles (3.5km), where distance from Ohlone College is close to 5.5 Miles (9km). However trail from Stanford Ave. is significantly steeper than from Ohlone College.
Noelle and I walking up the Peak Trail passing some of cattle fence

Also another benefit to starting at Ohlone College is the fact that there are a lot less people using these trails and therefore you get to enjoy natures quite solitude. After all that is what most true nature lovers seek when they go outdoors.

Water trough for livestock
As one can see from these photos we didn't have to fight loud and overcrowded trails all the way until the last section of the trail where it merges with trails from Stanford Ave.
Tiffany on the trail

Mission Peak Trail marker

The Gang
 Although the multiple trails and number of other attractions within Ohlone Regional Preserve most of the people in the Bay Area are familiar with Peak alone. Due to this the trail is seriously overtaxed with visitors and hikers attempting to reach Mission Peak and now it's famous (primarily thanks to Social medias such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest etc.) peak marker that many hikers climb and pose by for the photo-op. Authorities had to take some serious measures in restoring and protecting the trail and park for future as seen in this video below

This gentleman's video shows how bad the crowds can be during the summer months at this beautiful park:

If you decide on ascending to Mission Peak trailhead starting at Stanford Ave you will be doing it via Peak Meadow and Horse Heaven Trails. We on the other hand used Peak Trail all the way to Mission Peak ascending it from Western Ridge.

 We didn't make it to the top of Mission peak in time to enjoy the sunrise however we did get high enough above morning fog to have a full view of this spectacle.

This early on the trail and we had encountered a small number of hikers and runners on the trail enjoying the early morning and coolness that it had to offer

Lake Del Vale and Livermore were still covered with fog and asleep by the time we reached the top of the hill. Mission Peak Regional Preserve is well connected with Ohlone Regional Wilderness and offers many opportunities for Mountain Biking, Horse Riding and backpacking

Mt Diablo dominates the landscape on the back side of Sunol Ridge and is clearly visible in the background 

Tiffany, Noelle and myself posing for my wife Laurie beside trail with fog bank in the background

Big smiles all around

Sunol Ridge visible on the left of us in the background 

Coffee and snack while enjoying the view

It was all her "Fault"...

... but Noelle didn't care she loved it as long as she was outdoor with us!

Sun is up and we are on the way to the summit, from this point on it will just get hotter and hotter.

Waiting for girls to catch up with us...

...but first lets take a selfie!!

Higher we climb view just gets better and better

Last leg of the climb we had to share the trail with hundreds of other hikers that were on their way up as well. A lot of them didn't look prepared for this climb at all, we noticed many of them were in inadequate footwear caring no water or at the best caring a small bottle that at that point was mostly empty. The trail looked damaged and there was a lot of trash that people left behind them, despise the fact that Park Crew had placed and were maintaining the large number of Trash Cans. Certain sections of the trail were 25 feet (7m) wide without any apparent reason other than carelessness and disregard for eco-system.

There were a lot of other dogs besides Noelle walking up the trail, and that was another problem, many pet owners were not cleaning after their pets or even worst they would collect waste in to plastic bags and then dispose them in nearby bushes.

The crowd was worse at the top!! We had to wait in line to get our photo at the peak marker. Some girls actually brought their high heels shoes just to take funny photos in them at the top

Noelle was just happy to get all kinds of petting from bystanders in the line 

Not necessarily the best moment at the trail but well worth it of Photo opportunity 

Like I said it was well worth waiting for. Unfortunately you can see that a lot of visitors come up to the top armed with permanent markers just so they could tag every available surface marking their presence for posterity.

...and Tiff was there to entertain us all with her stunts  

Tiffany sitting at the peak taking it all in planning her and ours next adventure...

My girls posing at the peak playing and enjoying them self...

and my wife Laurie didn't want to be outdone at the stunts so she did some her self.

Some of the livestock that is free roaming the area wondering what is the big fuss about a stick in the ground at the top of the hill...

On our way back we descended down on the Eastern side of the peak and than we use same trails to go back to our car.

One of rewards that we enjoyed at the end of the hike was a nice lunch and coffee at Mission Coffee Roasting Company on Washington Boulevard in Fremont, CA

So typical of kids, she fell asleep in the car on our way home

Overall we had a lot of fun, enjoyed some of most amazing views of Bay Area from the East Bay hills  got some nice photos to share with you all and sore muscles to prove that this hike is rated moderate to strenuous  depending what book you are reading it. One definitely needs to keep in mind that there is wiry little or no shade on the trail. You will need to equip your self with a bag that will allow you to cary at least 2quarts (2 L) of water, plenty of electrolytes  and comfortable protective clothing. Walking sticks of a walking staff is almost a must at the steepest sections of the trail combined with adequate footwear built for rugged and steep terrain 

Dear reader if you by any chance become inspired by this article and embark on your own adventures hike to Mission Peak, please keep in mind that you could become part of solution rather than part of problem. Please observe all rules of the trail and follow all of the instructions given by the Land Managment whom ever that might be. Enjoy the present but keep in mind the future what your actions might invoke in others.