Peak 1,620ft

Thu, May 4, 2017

With: Steve Sywyk
Tom McClaughry
Bill Peters

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I had planned a bike & hike adventure to Joseph Grant Park, only to find my front tire flat early in the morning when I got it out. I repaired the tube but reinstalled it incorrectly (didn't have the tire seated properly on the rim), resulting in an enormously loud explosion that ripped a 9-inch tear in the tube and scared the hell out of my next door neighbor who was just getting in his car. The nearby bike store didn't open until 10a, more than three hours to wait, and my ambitions deflated rapidly. I did other things around the house before finally walking into the bike shop shortly after they opened. The only other customer had arrived a few minutes earlier and greeted me with some surprise. Bill Peters was in there to get a broken derailleur fixed and his bike tuned up. Seems he was treating his road bike like some sort of cyclocross bike on some of the rougher Bay trails. He'd moved from Folsom near Sacramento to the Bay Area more than a year ago, living only a few miles from me, and this was the first I'd seen of him outside the Sierra Challenge in years. We got to talking and I asked if he'd be interested in a night hike. He wasn't too keen on the idea, but gave a lukewarm "maybe" and I sent him some stats on it later when I got home. I invited Steve and Tom to see if they'd be interested as well, not really expecting anyone to join me. I could have invited Sean and Colin who would have been more enthusiastic, but it seems I might not really have wanted to go on a night hike - I was somewhat wishy-washy and wouldn't have minded just staying home and watching the Golden State Warriors pummel their next opponent in game 2 of the second round NBA playoffs. But as luck would have it, Bill, Steve and Tom all responded positively and I found myself shuttling the entire crew in the van from San Jose to Gilroy that evening.

The peak I had in mind, unnamed Peak 1,620ft, has a modest prominence of 360ft, overlooking Hwy152, roughly half way between Gilroy and Hollister. The summit and surrounding areas on the north side of 152 are part of a large ranching concern. A very well graded dirt road climbs up to the summit ridge from Casa de Fruta where we parked, nearly reaching to the summit. The moon was about 2 days past half full and high overhead when we started out around 8:30p. Some high clouds would partially obscure it at times and fog would overtake us for a portion of the descent, but for the most part it was a very nice evening even if a bit chilly and we had a fine walk by moonlight without needing headlamps. The hike was about 3.5mi each way, taking us about an hour and a half on the ascent, a little less on the way back. We shared a bottle of wine at the summit while taking in the lights of Coyote and Hollister Valleys. It would be a little after midnight before we returned to San Jose after what we all agreed was an evening well spent - much better than watching a basketball game, anyway...


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