March 29, 2009 Windy Hill

The announcement

I had intended to do Sunol this weekend, despite of or because of Grey’s objections. But Tom’s blog pointed out that the only flowers at Sunol that were out in force were blue dicks (giggle). So I guess we’ll wait a bit yet for Sunol. Still we need a hike that is both close enough to ensure the Donna won’t have second thoughts about spending all day driving down here, and yet is long so as to maximize our exposure to her after a long absence. If we’re very lucky, we might see the rare and elusive Tom Twitterer or even a Kristen Krow along the way.

So, we leave here at 9 on Sunday for Hidden Villa. Just kidding. It’s Windy Hill in Portola. This is a 4 or 5 hour hard hike (not as hard as Grant Ranch a couple of weeks ago, but not much will ever be). Half is a long wind up to the windy hill at skyline, and half in a short, steep fall down the exposed part of that mountain. We’ll be looking forward to a gargantuan gathering of giant wake robin, and maybe a few wild fuscia and columbine hidden in the creases.

The covered parts are single track, and the exposed parts are fire roads. [ Maybe we’ll do singing again, like last week—like “Take me home, fire roads” by John Denver. ] We’ll have lunch at the picnic tables at the top of the mountain. We might bring a kite or two as, in case you missed it, there is a windy hill at the top.

Oh, and I think dogs are allowed, or at least large, Germanic dogs.

Oh, oh, and consider this a training trip for the upcoming Pinnacles hike on April 11 (which answer’s Grey’s e-mail, assuming he, unlike everyone else actually reads any e-mail I ever send all the way to the end).

The hike

Last week saw the intrepid FOMFOK troops performing our annual trail cleanup along Windy Hill. Peggy (The Enforcer) was amazing, grabbing whole trees and tossing them aside. Many of the troops provided protection for her as we were surrounded by herds of vocal apes and monkeys in the deep jungle of the southern slopes. Eagles and wolves beset us all the way to our bivouac near the summit. From there, we shared recipes, told bawdy stories (I’ll never think of Calero the same way), flew kites, and then rappelled down the mountain back to the red-tide infested sausage pond.

I managed to blow out a knee in the last half of the hike. In fact, I spent the rest of Sunday with a crutch, alternating heat and cold to bring down the swelling and reduce the pain. But I’m all better now. Well, what passes for all better. At my age, recognizing myself in the mirror in the morning and not soiling myself during the night is often the best I can hope for.

My pictures are at http://picasaweb.google.com/mwimble/20090329WindyHill?feat=directlink

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