Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Russian Ridge Hike Report

Last Saturday I went on a hike with the Loma Prieta Gay and Lesbian Sierrans at Russian Ridge. Russian Ridge is the park at the top of Page Mill Road above Palo Alto. Our trip started with an adventure in the park-n-ride lot. Six of us showed up at the appointed time to car pool to the park from the Page Mill Park and Ride lot just off highway 280. I got there first and there was not a parking spot to be found in the lot. I decided to hang out in my car for a while to see if someone would leave and a spot would open up. While I was doing this I saw a woman walking across the parking lot. She came to my car and said hello and asked if I was there for the hike. I’ll call her M. I asked where she parked and she had driven up the road a ¼ mile and found street parking and had just walked back to the lot. As we were chatting four more folks showed up for the hike each in their own car. We had one of those group moments of confusion as to what people should do since there was no parking.

In the end these folks headed off to the street parking that M had found. I volunteered to stay at the lot in case anyone showed up. As M and I were standing there waiting, my cell phone rang and I pulled a typical blunder on my part and tried to answer the phone with the “hang up” button. So I hung up on someone obviously calling from the street parking to coordinate with me. Poor M got to witness me struggling with my cell phone that I rarely use and cursing the fact that I couldn't figure out how to phone this person back!! As I was doing this, the hike leader showed up in her car and told us that she would wait at the lot and we should go to the street parking area. So off M and I went to the street parking. We arrived and a few minutes later the hike leader showed up. There was enough parking at this street location for all our cars. We finally got organized and tumbled into 2 cars to car pool to the park. I do believe it is time to give up on this particular park in ride lot as a hike meeting location.

The drive to the park was up a narrow twisty road. As we started up we saw a deer with brand new horns growing in. We had to make our way slowly up the road as it was full of bike riders and blind corners. So we had to slow down to the bike rider speed till we got around these blind corners and see that it was safe to pass them. I had volunteered to drive and my passengers said they were glad of it as they don’t like to deal with twisty roads and bikes! I just poked along up the road and only passed the bikes when it was safe to do so. We got to the park in about 30 minutes. Thankfully there was plenty of parking in the Russian Ridge lot!

We all visited the rest room and then headed out on our 5.5 mile hike on the ridge top. We hiked up a mild hill and had marvelous views of Silicon Valley to one side and the Pacific ocean and Portola Valley to the other side. The wind was blowing hard on the ridge and we saw a young girl having fun flying a kite. After about an hour of hiking we reached a wonderful deck built by a boy scout troop on the hill where we had lunch. The sun was out and the sky was a pure blue but the wind blowing over our now sweaty shirts gave us a chill at lunch. Some of us pulled on our windbreakers to stay warm. After lunch we headed back on different trails. We dove into the woods at one point where I had to be careful of poison oak. Its easy to spot in the fall when its often a bright red color. In the woods we stopped to oogle at a very large lizard. Lizards abound on the trails in the bay area parks but this particular lizard was huge and worth stopping to look at. After the lizard siting we came out of the woods and had pleasant half mile climbing up the hill and then descending to the parking lot.

The trip back to the street parking was easier as the bikes had pretty much left the road by the mid afternoon. I dropped off my riders at our street parking location and headed home for a nice warm shower followed by an impromptu nap in front of the TV!

Pictures from the hike: https://picasaweb.google.com/cdrdash/RussianRidge_10_29_11?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCNHqwdys4cGDbg&feat=directlink