October 1, 2006 Grant Ranch

October 1, 2006 Grant Ranch
The announcement

This Sunday we’re going to do a hard, perhaps very hard hike at Grant Ranch. We’re going pig hunting. Well, hunting for pig bones to add to the partial skeleton we’ve got so far. This is going to be a 4 or 5 hour hike with some steep climbs. I haven’t done this hike, but Kathy and one or two others have. I think that 60% or more of the trail is exposed.

We leave here at 9 and begin the hike at around 9:45. We’ll have lunch on the trail, and probably go out to eat afterwards as well. Bring plenty of water and a couple of snacks.


The hike
If you weren’t one of those brave few who joined us last Sunday, you missed one heck of a hike. To be exact, you missed an 8.5 mile, 2000 foot climb, “hike of many despairs”. If you were silly enough to attempt to hike in a clockwise direction, and I only know one person who would ever attempt such a massive effort (and I won’t mention Tom’s name and embarrass him) There are only about 3 points of despair, around the first 3 curvy areas on the left of the map below.

If you are more sane, like us, and did the hike in the anti clockwise direction, then the points of despair are many. The first is at the ‘V’ section of the trail around the ‘R’ in ‘PARK’ near the top of the map. That’s where we rested for lunch and then began climbing again, after our brain had promised our legs that we were done all the hard climbing for the day. We also teased the squirrels there, tossing them bits of our lunch. This caused a ruckus in squirrel society, particularly over my peanut butter and winter wheat sandwich.

The next is at the peak of the climb, around the ‘2956’ elevation mark on the trail. That’s where you begin to appreciate that all the climbing you’ve done is about to turn into a whole lot of descending.

Near the upper left part of the map, just to the left of the word ‘JEEP’ is another point of despair when you get a look at just how freakin steep the next section of the trail is. This is one of the steepest trail sections (ok, THE steepest) of any hike we’ve done in quite a while. And it just goes on. And on. And on. It’s enough to wear down your legs to the nubbins. Certainly it’s very bad on the knees. We all thought about taking hiking poles with us at the start, but then thought that carrying the extra weight would just not be worth it.

Note to self: the next time we hike this, TAKE THE HIKING POLES.

With blown out knees and sore glutes and very sore thighs, we made it to the convergence of the Aguague creek and some other nameless creek. Then there is a point of despair for about each hundred steps as you have another climb to get out of the valley and back to the road. And, just go keep things interesting, it began to rain about a half mile from getting back to the road. Not a lot of rain, but enough to keep you cool.

We never did find more of the pig skeleton where we expected to, but, just before we reached the road, we found part of a leg bone of the rare Pigasaurus. It’s now part of our museum collection.

I think we’re going to call this the challenge hike for this year.

A1

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Kathy, Peggy, Tom and Kristen at the lunch spot, surrounded by hungry squirrels.

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Tom encourages the weary to the summit.

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A wee snake lurks on the path.

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Kristen does her “Hunback of Notre Dame” imitation to distract us from our sore legs.

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At a flat point between two “points of despair”, we look back at one of the steep sections.

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Approaching the white barn, just as it starts to rain.

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