Sunday, June 26, 2011

A few kids, walking a little taller

Mission Peak

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)
 I had picked up a variety of energy foods the day before and gave them their choice of two or three to take up the mountain.  I told them if they started feeling weak, pop a couple of blocks, beans, chomps, etc.

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. 

Sara was the first one down.  We scared her.  Kasey was the second one down.  We REALLY scared her.  Skyler and I laughed and laughed at Kasey.  We tried to scare Jacob but he was cool as a cucumber when he came waltzing by. 

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.

Until later.............

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Gotta love California!

Yeah, I bitch and moan when it's unseasonably "cold" here in the SF Bay Area but quickly forgive and forget when the weather decides to shape up!

Saturday I took Erin up Mt. Diablo for her first time.  Our ride got interrupted by emergency vehicles and a helicopter landing on the road.  A cyclist coming down the road hit a vehicle going up.  Smashed into the driver side door and then the hillside.  They took him away in the helicopter.

Soon after we saw a guy off his bike, taking a photo of something in the road.  Before I reached him, I could hear it - a rattlesnake coiled up and ready to strike.  Evidently he had run over the snake.  GAH!

The temperature started to rise and we ended up stopping a few more times before finally making it to the top.  Great views along the way and from the top.

Yesterday the forecast was for 95 in Fremont.  I took Boomer up to the Oakland hills where I knew the trails would be nicely covered by huge Redwood trees.  We ran for close to two hours and were able to stay nice and cool.

When I got back into Fremont it was 91 degrees.  Keith suggested we head down to Santa Cruz for the afternoon.  We took five minutes to pack the necessities and we were at the beach in an hour.  We spent 3.5 hours relaxing in the sun, listening to the waves.  Pure bliss I tell ya!

Some people say this is why we pay the big bucks to live in California.  I say it's worth it!

Until later.............

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Jamaica wedding

My daughter's wedding went off without many problems a hitch!  Seriously, it turned out perfect!  Everybody had a great time and most importantly, the bride was happy.

*Oopsie #1* - The day before the wedding, she had to get cortisone shots in her behind because she was swelling up so bad due to mosquito bites.  She couldn't even walk during the rehearsal that morning.

*Oopsie #2* - As soon as we started walking from the bridal suite to the wedding site, it began to POUR!  It poured for an hour.  She even took her wedding gown off.  LOL  But, once the rain stopped we had beautiful weather for the ceremony and most of the reception.  The reception was under cover so that was just fine.  I'm sure a lot of people appreciated that it wasn't as hot as it could have been.

Now, what you really came here for was photos, right?  Well, here you go!  Enjoy.

These are a very small percentage of what I actually have.  If you want to see more, find me on Facebook and there you can view an album.

I will put up some from our vacation.  We had a great trip.  I hate to be back (well, Boomer is here so that makes it alright) and I can't wait until we go again.  We plan on taking another trip October, 2012 for our 20th wedding anniversary.

Until later.............