So I decided to hike the Ohlone trail (aka the Cow patty trail) that stretches from Del Valle lake to Mission Peak near Fremont. To make it "interesting" I started at the Arroyo Road staging area north of the lake and took the East Shoreline Trail around the east-side of the lake for an additional 10 miles or so. I started at noon and camped the first night at Stewart's camp after the exhausting "Big Burn". I finished in Mission Peak the next day at 5pm, making it ~40 miles (with a sidetrip to Murietta Falls) in 36 hours. "Go-it-Ohlone" (the local Ohlone fanatics club) said I now hold the slightly-supported record (I stopped at the wildflower festival in Sunol for a diet coke and candy bar) for Ultralighters named "Nate".
This was my lightest trip yet (around 8 lbs base-weight) and I realized that when I was heavy-packing I loathed the trail but really enjoyed hanging out in camp. Now that I go lightweight, I have found that I really enjoy the hiking part of the trip and making camp is just secondary. (Though, I don't loathe it as much as I loathed lugging 45 lbs down the trail.) There's just nothing like putting in the earbuds, jamming out to your favorite songs while you slog up the hill, then being rewarded with cold wind, goosebumps, and a breathtaking vista at the top.
I saw lots of young guys lugging their gear and bent over, hands on knees, catching their breath, something I never had to do once....and I'm a smoker! :-0
So got a chance to test out some new stuff.....
My best find for the trip is the plastic long-handled spoons McDonald's gives out for free! If you are eyeing buying one of those titanium ones, save the cash and get one of these.
I left the Petzl and tried out the Photon Freedom. Didn't really work for me though, because I took it off the clip for some reason or another, then laid it down and couldn't find it in the dark. Did without light until morning time and wished I had the headlamp which, at 2.75 ounces, is heavy and fool-proof.
I went without a knife altogether and realized it is practically impossible to open the Aquimira Tablet packaging without one. Couldn't get them open at all....so I ended up boiling some water that looked particularly suspect (there are cows everywhere up there) when I didn't completely trust the Steripen.
I used the Tyvek bivy I posted about in the MYOG gear forum and tried my damnedest to get condensation inside without luck. Although the Gatewood Cape I was using was absolutely soaked with dew and condensation, I was nice and dry inside the bivy. Very happy with the bivy so far.
Overall it was a pleasant hike. The best part for me was from Rose peak to Mission peak. I took an alternate route through Sunol so as to hike through Little yosemite, which is a nice diversion after 19 miles of ridgetop hiking. Was not impressed with the section from Del Valle to Rose peak but was very glad I did this section first as I got all the hard climbing done in the first few hours and had a leisurely second day.
The best part of the trip was I was able to take public transportation to the trailhead (Bart then Bus) and back home, making arranging a ride or shuttle totally unnecessary.
Anyway, here are some photos:
Figured out what happens when a turkey crosses the road....not very much it turns out:
Trailhead on Arroyo road (Shadow Cliffs in background):
First view of Del Valle lake and Ohlone wilderness behind it:
Plenty of beaches to relax on hiking around the lake:
Fog and clouds rolled in on the ridge top at night making it quite chilly:
Mount Diabo sunset:
Rose Peak was completely enshrouded the whole hike. Really glad I didn't stay at Maggie's Half-Acre:
View down into "Little Yosemite":
The climb up Mission peak was very easy compared to the previous day's "Big Burn":
I could just barely make out Del Valle from the top of Mission Peak: