Thu, Mar 5, 2015
Starting off around 8:15a, my route took me along much of the Guadalupe River Trail, past the San Jose Airport and into the northern industrial parts of the city. In this case, "industrial" isn't the brick and smokestack stuff of the rust belt but spiffy high tech campuses that define Silicon Valley. Though I did notice a brand-new natural gas-fired power generation plant near the sewage treatment facility north of SR237 - gotta keep up with electricity demands, even if we don't have enough water to feed our lawns here (at some point it will probably be paired with a desalinization plant). I passed through Milpitas along Calaveras Blvd, not all that safe on a bicycle in this busy corridor. I eventually reached the edge of the hills and made the short but steep climb up to Ed Levin Park above Milpitas. There was plenty of activity on the adjacent golf course, but the park had few visitors on a quiet Thursday morning. The lone exception was a dozen or so folks engaged in hang gliding lessons on the gentle lower slopes at the edge of the park. Sandy Wool Lake was sadly lacking water, now less than half full. Boating has been suspended indefinitely not for lack of water but to prevent the spread of invassive mussels. I locked my bike at the north end of the park where the TH is located and started up on foot.
It was a fine time of year to take a hike here with the hillsides about as green as they can possibly get. Cattle graze much of the route along the Agua Caliente and Monument Peak trails that I used to hike the 3mi+ distance to the summit area. Along the way one is treated to fine views of the verdant green slopes overlooking the South Bay. Wild mustard blooms in profusion, joined by colorful, though not so widespread displays of bright orange poppies. It was 11a when I reached the summit of Weller Peak, a grass-covered rocky bump just above one of the half dozen communication tower facilities that dot the area. The highest summit in the immediate area is Mt. Alison about half a mile to the north with almost 1,600ft of prominence. Monument Peak, and the slightly higher, unnamed Peak 2,620ft are found just across the road to the east from Weller Peak and I decided to pay them a visit as an easy bonus. I was back at the TH before 12:30p, having seen no other soul along the trail all morning. Another 12mi ride got me back home before 2p. I showered and took a nap in the warm upstairs for several hours before my wife came home from work to discover me.
Back at the car we continued along Willow Springs Rd to Chesbro Reservoir, parking at a turnout by a gate facing the reservoir. From the gate an old road, decades since it was last driven on, leads up towards the summit of Peak 1,100ft. A beautifully lighted home with a gorgeous view overlooking the reservoir could be seen a short distance to our right as we started up this road, but it was highly unlikely we could have been detected, dark as it was and partially blocked by tree cover. The route, less than a mile in length, led up and across several property boundaries though the only fence we encountered was near the summit. There we found a small solar-powered instrument, some sort of microwave relay from the looks of it. Though lower, this was the better of the two summits, with a fine view overlooking the Santa Clara Valley and the Morgan Hill area. Toro Peak was sillouhetted in the moonlight to the southeast, about 300ft higher than where we stood. Without Steve to provide us with viticultural summit libations we had to be satisfied with the water we'd brought with us. It wasn't yet 10p by the time we got back to the car, one of the earlier finishes for a night hike that I can recall. My wife would be surprised when I appeared home around 10:30p. She'd long gotten used to me showing up late at night, only to be awakened from a sound sleep as I stumbled through our bedroom in the dark. I'm sure she appreciates me and married life most at those moments...
It was not until a year later that I realized I didn't climb Peak 1,100ft, but another less prominent and slightly lower summit to the north of the correct one. Oh well, so it goes sometimes...
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