Dan's Outside

I go, I see, I do, I walk, I think, I like…

Mission Peak and More

Today’s hike took me up Mission Peak… again. I’ve been to the top of this peak above Fremont, California four times recently. Today I started a bit earler – I was on the trail just after 7:00 a.m. – so I had a chance to extend the hike a bit.

I climbed the main trail to the junction with the Hidden Valley trail just below the face of the peak. Here I turned right and headed up this valley past the private residence and then up the sometimes muddy trail through oaks and grassland next to the creek before finally turning left again to reach the ridge. (This is the spot where I was almost blown off the mountain a few weeks ago – today it was fairly calm.)

Instead of heading left to Mission Peak I turned right and followed the trail towards Monument Peak, which is the high point in Ed Levin Park above Milpitas. This route follows fire roads along the ridge, though that description of the terrain may create a somewhat inaccurate view. When I think of “ridge” I think if a relatively sharp high mountaintop with some kind of drop off on both sides. The landscape up here is not like that; the ridge is really more of a very wide, rolling flat area that goes on for miles. It is almost all wide open with nothing but grass and some rock outcroppings.

I continued along past the turnoff to the closed dirt road to Mt. Allison, the highest point on the ridge at over 2600′ and dropped down to a junction in a flat marshy area before ascending toward another ridge. At this ridge there was a very confusing sign. This large sign indicated that the Monument Peak trail was straight ahead, but just beyond was a smaller sign indicating “restricted area.” I compromised and took a single path route around to the left, soon hitting the fire road again, and not long after that arriving at the rocky summit of Monument Peak. It occurred to me that I had seen fewer people up here than I would see on a typical Sierra Nevada day hike.

After a snack and a drink I turned around and headed back the way I came, with time for a brief detour to the top of another point just north of Monument Peak. Before long I was back at the ridgeline junction with the Hidden Valley trail. This time I went straight along the ridge to reach the summit of Mission Peak, which was now becoming quite crowded. From here it was a matter of descending the usual route down the crowded main trail.
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February 25, 2006 - Posted by | Trips

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