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I had first noticed the undeveloped hilltop in the fall when I was in the area for my son's cross-country race at nearby Hallmark Park. Now in the area for my daughter's volleyball tournament at the San Mateo Convention Center, I set out to visit Sugarloaf Hill during a break in the action (I just can't sit and watch all that much volleyball in one sitting). Even with a GPS, finding the park was no easy feat as it seems to be almost completely hidden without signs until you are at one of the entrances. I had taken the wrong road on an adjacent hillside, but found a gate I could enter through from the neighborhood, dropping steeply down to the base of the mountain. Here on the north side, I found a small network of signed trails though none of the good ones went to the summit. I found one of the unmarked, rutted paths coming down on this same side and decided to take it to the top. I had to push my mountain bike nearly to the summit, the trail too rutted and steep to attempt riding. Even on the way down I found the trail too steep to ride. But the grassy top had an open view and a modestly rural feel to it. I had the place to myself to take in views. As luck would have it, I followed a trail down the northeast side that led to a dead-end only a hundred feet or so above homes encroaching on the hillside. There was no way to push the bike through the thick brush and I had no choice but to go back uphill and find another way down. I managed to find my way to pavement on the east side of the park, but the road I thought would follow the creek down towards the bay did not go through - seems I was up against the San Mateo/Belmont city boundaries and they didn't seem to care if the roads met up or not. I ended up biking up a second hill to the east nearly as high as Sugarloaf before I could find my way back to San Mateo. The roads were incredibly steep and twisted - no fun being a kid with a bike in these parts. At least I got a workout...
This page last updated: Mon Feb 20 16:21:15 2012
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