Thu, Jun 15, 2017
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The peak had been previously climbed by a quartet of the usual Bay Area suspects and my route was another variation starting from the Callippe Preserve Golf Course. I'm not sure what they are "preserving" here, other than some acreage for Trump-sized golfers to ply their hobby (I know, not all golfers are obese, but for some reason most of the ones I saw on the course today seemed to be. Maybe the fit golfers come out on the weekends?) There is a hiker & equestrian trail around the periphery of the course that seems to have been reluctantly allowed, with access to it not obvious. The upscale homes around the area are unhappy with the golf traffic (I've never seen so many signs, speed bumps and other traffic calming items on one stretch of road) and have restricted parking. I parked at the golf course but had to wander around a bit to find the trail unmarked or signed in any way until you actually stumble upon it after following the golf cart path down from the clubhouse. The trail passes behind a couple of very tall fences at the edge of the driving range. One can find hundreds upon hundreds of errant golfballs in the grasses on both sides of the fence.
I used the trail for less than a hundred yards, eventually leaving it when it turns north around the edge of the tall fence. There is a barbed-wired fence to be crossed here. If one looks carefully, there is a gate with a lever-action latch that can be used to pass through without doing it the hard way. I continued east up a shady ravine, a cool respite from the afternoon heat that was in the mid-80s. The ravine also offers cover from view from both the golf properties and the ranch properties that lie on the hill above and south of the golf course. The route goes generally east up the ravine to a saddle before dropping down into an intervening valley running north-south through the hills. A final climb up the ridge is then followed by a modest half-mile hike along the summit ridgeline. Nicely, there are no ranch roads to be seen anywere in the vicinity of the route. Various cow trails can be used for easier walking. I met several herds during the hike. One mooed displeasure, another mostly ignored me, a small group of three on my way back followed me a short distance, perhaps hoping for salty snacks or other goodies.
Near the summit is found the old, rusty and mysterious "Mailbox 19" as reported by Andrew Kirmse on PB. The mailbox is located just below the highpoint on the north side. I noted at least 4 other mailboxes at various points south and west of this one - apparently the rancher got a great deal on mailboxes and put them to use with a quirky sense of humor you can't help but appreciate. I visited one of the other ones, finding it labeled "18". Not sure if there are 19 total mailboxes, but it's a pretty good guess. Much of the summit is consumed by a thicket of very tall thistle, almost like a scene from Day of the Triffids. Looking over them, one spots Monument Peak overlooking Fremont to the southwest, Sunol Peak to the west, Mt. Diablo to the north, Brushy Peak to the northeast, and Mt. Rose to the south. Between Mailbox 19 and these peaks are the communities of Livermore, Pleasanton, Sunol and Dublin. On my return I paid a visit to nearby Vern BM, a third of a mile to the northwest and 25ft lower. I was surprised to find the benchmark was not buried in the grass as I expected, taking a photo before starting back down. There is a better view here looking north than found on Mailbox 19. I managed to get back to the golf course without arousing anyone's ire for misusing the trail to trespass. The outing took about 2hr and covered some 4.5mi at a fairly leisurely pace. Now for some refreshment...
This page last updated: Thu Jun 15 20:54:54 2017
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