Peak 2,220ft P300

Feb 29, 2024

With: Steve Sywyk

Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPX

Leap year had finally returned. Over the past few years it had been brought to my attention that I was "missing" an ascent for Feb 29 on the PB app, leaving one box out of 366 unfilled. It wasn't that I had never visited summits on this date, but rather that PB requires it to be a summit I hadn't visited previously and that it be at least 300ft of clean prominence. This would have been as easy one if I'd been off on a roadtrip, but I was at home in San Jose, having recently returned from a two-week trip to the Las Vegas area. Fortunately, I was prepared this time around, having saved Peak 2,200ft (Peak 2,220ft on LoJ) for this occasion. Located in the hills above Morgan Hill, about 30min from home, the only hitch was that it was on private property. It seemed it might be best done in the early morning around sunrise or later, around sunset. Neither of these seemed favorable since rain was due and I would have ugly commute traffic in one direction or the other. Instead, I decided to do it just after midnight - this would avoid the possibility of rain, the drive would be a breeze, and the moon would rise around 10p, allowing us to use it in lieu of headlamps. I asked Steve that same day if he was interested in joining me. It had been years since we had last done a night hike and as we get older, we kinda missed those earlier times. He readily agreed after assuring him poison oak was unlikely.

For various reasons, we didn't get started on the hike until just before 12:30a, which was fine, I had nowhere to be in the morning. We parked the car just off the paved road to Henry Coe SP, about 1/3mi northeast of the summit. We went over a barbed-wire fence, then up a grassy slope that has seen much grazing of late - the fresh green grass had been cut to a short length. The slope we climbed was mostly open grass, with oak trees doting the upper part of the route we traveled. The footing was very uneven and a bit awkward, owing to the cattle's hoofprints in the recently muddy slopes. We encountered some leafless branches under the oaks in a few places, giving them a wide berth in case they were, in fact, poison oak. It took only 15min to make our way to the tree-covered summit, the lights of Morgan Hill visible below to the southwest. There were homes to the south on Finley Ridge, not all that far away, but far enough to be of little concern. Mostly, the only sounds we heard were coyotes howling, though at least one dog joined the orchestra, possibly upon hearing us at a distance. We finished up by 1a, then headed for home and in bed around 2a. The hardest part of the whole outing was explaining to our wives what we were up to without looking like complete idiots...

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