July 22, 2006 Russian Ridge

July 22, 2006 Russian Ridge
The announcement
Yes, it’s one of our rare evening hikes.

We’ll leave here about 6:15 and meet at the trail head at the Russian Ridge trail at 7. From there, the docents will lead us on an educational hike until at far point we’ll sit on a porch hidden off trail and eat a meal while the sun sets. Then we’ll pull out flashlights and hike to the top of a hill top in the dark. There we’ll watch the moon rise (we hope). Then it’s back to the parking lot. We’ll end up there around 10 or 10:30 pm.

The docents will give us lots of information about local history, fauna, flora and astronomy. This is a moderate hike, but it’s taken at a reasonably slow pace. Still, I wouldn’t call it an easy hike. Saturday is supposed to be freakin hot during the day. But, these evening hikes can sometimes go from very hot to very cold over a few hours time. So, dress in layers so you’re ready for either extreme.

Most people bring a supper meal with them, and often have some little bit extra to share with others—usually fruit, dessert, or something similar. But that’s up to you. Bring plenty of water, especially if it starts out as hot as I expect. And don’t forget the flashlight. If you have it, bring a red filter for your flashlight.

The hike

The night hike last Saturday was pretty darn nice, much nicer that we expected. It was over 103 in the valley when we started up the hill, and just about 100 when we started the hike. The trudge up the first hill left a lot of us with bright red faces. But it was quickly downhill and into the trees from there.

Docents Rich and Keith taught us more of the history of the Open Space group, and about badgers in the area. Yea, I know, you’re thinking, “We don’t need no stinking badgers”. But we do—they keep the rodent population down nicely. Of course, the kites we saw also did their job along that line, along with the foxes, vultures and hawks. I imagine the herd of quail we saw fits in the middle of the food chain, too. We didn’t see any evidence predators for the deer we came across, though.

As we came up to the summit, the weather began to cool nicely and a breeze came up. As we sat to eat supper and watch the sun set, the swarm of red, green, blue and orange dragonflies was on hand to keep the bugs from bothering us (mostly). We got great views of Mount Tam in the North, to Mount Diablo in the East to beyond Mount Umunhum in the South. Even the ocean was visible. Sorta. Kinda. As it darkened, we did some star gazing—particularly from the depression near the parking lot as we returned.

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