Thursday, November 03, 2011

Planning Hikes

I thought I would write about how I come up with hikes today.  When I first started, I got most of my ideas by going hiking on Sierra Club group hikes and other group hikes.  Someone else actually did the picking and route planning and I just showed up for the fun.  And then later, I led the same hikes myself.  I also co-led hikes where I was the assistant and did the sweeping on a hike (hiked in the back of the group and made sure we didn’t lose anyone) and learned the hike that way.   I also bought myself hiking guide books to the San Francisco bay area and would lead the hikes described in them.  After doing many hikes this way, I got my hike leading experience.

Now I often pick hikes by picking a park and looking at the trails in the park on a trail map and finding a route to do.  Then I call on a hiking buddy to go scout the hike with me and see if its any good.  To tell the truth this is my favorite part of the whole process of planning and leading a hike.  I love going somewhere new and seeing whats there and finding the route.  I also pick new hikes through word of mouth from other hike leaders.  They let me know about really cool hikes and I’m off to the races to hike there.

The latest hike I am investigating I found out from a newspaper article in the San Jose Mercury news.  A new portion of trail was completed recently that connects Alum Rock Park to the new Sierra Vista Open Space preserve in southeastern San Jose.   I’m now dying to go out and see it and I found some crazy friends that are willing to give it a go with me on Sunday!  The reason I say crazy friends is its a challenging looking route: 15+ miles and around 4000 feet of elevation gain.  We’ll have to move fast enough to avoid finishing up the hike in the dark.  Three of us will attempt it.   One friend has said she may bail on the hike if its too much.  If both bail on me, I’ll bail too as I do not do tough challenging hikes solo.  Its just too much risk.  I don’t want to be stranded with an injury and no way to contact someone to come help me (I never count on there being cell phone reception in the wilderness).