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Big Rock Ridge

Page history last edited by lmckeega@... 10 years, 4 months ago

June 24, 2006, Big Rock Ridge

Greetings from the Red Leader,


Of the new members only Elisa Berggren missed our first day hike of the 2006 season. Present were Theresa and Gil Llacuna, David Skov, Doug Borchert, Angie Behrens, Clara Xue, and Ellen Chang. We were also joined by alumnae Mike Arnold (87), Lupe Perez (?), Lupe's brother, Carlos, Susan Nelson (95) and Gigi and Alexander (trail name "sticker") Henderson ('05). Lupe had invited her friends Jon Akre, Lenny and Jeannie. Seventeen in all.
My directions to the meeting place were ambiguous regarding which direction to turn on Highway 101 from Highway 37. Those coming from the East Bay spent time figuring out that it should have been South. From now on I should be concocting these letters from home where I am in some control of any multi-tasking requirement. I hope to give you clear and concise directions from now on.

We distributed the new compasses, worked out the carpool arrangement and were soon on our way to the trail head. The hike began on Lucas Valley Road, west of Highway 101 at Big Rock. The Big Rock Trail climbs 1200 plus feet, 2.5 miles north to Big Rock Ridge. At 1882', the high point on the Ridge is the second highest point in Marin County. The weatherman had predicted cooler temperatures but we often stopped in the shade as we made our way up. The Big Rock Trail was built in 2003 as a condition of approval for George Lucas' "Big Rock Ranch" Corporate Headquarters. His development blocked one of the few access routes from Lucas Valley and local hikers now have a very well graded trail to the ridge top.

By the time we got to the top of the hill the temperature had climbed beyond the "high 80's" predicted. We had views of the fog bank blanketing San Francisco Bay and oozing up the Berkeley hills. No cool fog for us. We stopped for lunch just east of the easterly microwave antenna site. There was no shade and the temperature was climbing. We ate our lunches and shared the traditional, seasons first hike, champagne and sparkling cider with delicious cookies. while we ate we watched a number of buzzards gathering on the tower, above us. There were comments regarding our dying of the heat and ending up lunch ourselves. When we had eaten and collected our lunch trash, we took a few photos and began our decent east along the ridge. The route back was along a fire road and we noted that fire road builders don't seem to care how steep the grade is. I'm sure we climbed another 500 feet while descending the 1800 plus feet to the trail's end.

New member, David Skov, was carrying a digital thermometer and gave us regular temperature updates: 94°, 96°. It wouldn't have been so bad if we had been walking into the cooling breeze. Unfortunately, it was at our backs and we didn' feel it much except when we stopped in the meager shade of the occasional tree. The group began to spread out, driven no doubt by the thoughts of cool, air conditioned spaces and cold drinks.
As we were leaving one shady spot '06er Clara Xue complained of nausea and we had her lie down in the shade and began to treat her for possible heat exhaustion. We used Sue's bandana and applied cool compresses. '06er Ellen Chang demonstrated a healing technique she learned from her mother. Using a penny and some oily suntan lotion, she rubbed the inside of Clara's elbows and produced an amazing result. Within 15 minutes Clara was up and feeling well enough to walk.  


We continued down the seemingly endless trail. We had expected to be back at the park and ride lot by 4:30. The fast walkers made it about on time. Gigi and Sticker got down about 4:45 and went to the nearby Burger King to feed Sticker. Lupe, Carlos and John joined them and John got water to take back up the trail for some of those still coming down. It was nearly 7:00 when the tailenders arrived. Several of us had run out of water and were grateful for the bottles of Gatorade provided by Theresa and Gil.

My BMR was the only car still at Big Rock and GIGI gave me a ride while the rest contemplated dinner. We all drove to the Vintage Oaks shopping center and decided on Pasta Pomodoro. The wait was 20 minutes and we decided we couldn't wait and walked over to Fresh Choice. Much salad, and fixin's later we said our see-ya-laters and headed home.

Every eleven years I blow it. It's been eleven years since 1995 and I was overdue. It was another "Hike from Hell to Lake Winifred". It was just too hot. Our second day hike had been planned for Sugar Loaf Ridge State Park. The park lies on the ridge between Glen Ellen and the Napa Valley. We won't take the chance of doing another hot weather hike; our next trip will be on the coast.

Red Leader out

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