You can see it from Hwy 880 and Hwy 680 when you are driving between San Jose and Oakland or Dublin. A lot of people "want" to hike it some day. A lot of people "do" hike it often.
My daughter has three siblings. How, you ask? Her father and I divorced when she was five years old. He went on to re-marry and have three more children. That marriage broke up quite a few years ago and these three children live in Illinois. They went to Jamaica to be in Sara's wedding and are now here, visiting their father for the summer. Sara adores her siblings and spends almost every waking moment with them when she's not working.
These kids, like many people, have always seen Mission Peak and said they would like to "climb" it some day. I told them I would take them up whenever they were ready.
That day came last week. They were ready to go. I picked them up at Sara's house and we were at the trail head at 7:10 a.m. The Bay Area was having a heatwave the few days before so I wanted to make sure we started early enough to beat the major heat. Here, the first rest stop 40 minutes in. Sara and Kasey were threatening to turn around already.
|Jacob (16), Kasey (14), Sara, Skyler (10)|
We hit the nice shaded single track area and we stopped again so I could take some pictures of them in the octopus tree.
I took them around the back of the peak and approached the top from the southern side. It's a more gradual climb up that way. The boys were champs. Skyler, the youngest one, was on my heels the entire way. The girls however, were a different story. Evidently it was pure torture for them. Such drama. At least Sara had someone to bitch and moan with. I usually just ignore her.
Everyone was happy though, when we made it to the top. They were all admiring the view and were thrilled the climbing part was over.
Then it was the fun part. DOWNHILL!!! Everyone was breathing a little easier and talking a lot more. After we got off the steep part, the kids even ran a bit with me. Again, Skyler stayed right with me. We would stop in the shade and wait for the others to catch up. I listened to them as much as I could. I heard them all bragging about conquering the peak. Of course Jacob said "it wasn't that hard" and he was wondering why I didn't take them up the front (the harder way). Inside though, I could tell he was pretty stoked about what he had just done.
There's a little cave on the side of the trail near the bottom. On the way up, I told the kids it was a mountain lion den. Skyler got a little scared but on the way down I told him I was just kidding. I had a bright idea for Skyler and I to hide in the cave and scare the other kids as they came down.
After the hike I took them to my favorite deli, Cheese Taster for much deserved sandwiches. They were all very hungry and I listened to them talking to each other about the hike. The boys thought it was really cool. Kasey thought it was torture and Sara could not believe I actually got her to go up that mountain a second time!
I remember the first time I hiked Mission Peak. Once you go to the top, you look at it a little differently when you drive up or down the highway. It's nice to be able to take three people up for their first time and know they will always remember it too.