I’ve always thought that climbing a peak is somehow more palatable when I can see the summit from the trailhead and throughout the hike. The visual inspiration to hold my attention as I slog my way uphill is a perfect life metaphor for perseverance. So when asked if I wanted to hike Mission Peak in Silicon Valley, why would I refuse?
Mission Peak: 7 miles, 1 hr 15mins
I jumped out of bed at 5.30 eager to hit the trail and catch dawn breaking on a beautiful California morning. Upon arrival, the parking lot was filling up with hiker folk: old and young, making their way up the stone gravel path, walking sticks, hiking boots and water bottles on hand. I rocked up with my co-hiker Ryan, sporting new-ish sneakers (if you know Ryan you will appreciate why I had to bring the fuego).
My kicks had acquired a good amount of dirt and dust, but I figured we probably had another twenty minutes to go. I was in awe of the rolling hills, blue skies and calm in the air. Nature is good.
Ryan, who was on his second hike here said we are approximately half way (I didn’t believe him LOL). My body was sweating a few tiny buckets and each bend carried with it a steeper incline. Oh how naïve I was to think I could do this on an empty stomach.
As I forged through yet another steep incline, I was greeted by two cows taking a morning stroll . Together we clambered up the hill towards the burning sun, man alongside mammal. I felt like the three wise men.
Ryan, who’s estimations seemed less than accurate (sorry bro!) paced a few yards ahead. As he did, I took the opportunity to fact check with two hikers on their way down…. twenty minutes.
With the peak in sight, we entered the final stretch of our pilgrimage. The sun was in full effect and my hips were crying blue murder. A man who looked around seventy was now tracking alongside me. Was I seeing things? Was I about to get outdone by a Senior? Game on!
One hour ten minutes
The final ascent came in the form of a rock climb. With determination and not a lot of lallygagging, I had to stay focussed, one slip is all it would take!
One hour fifteen: I made it
Any exhaustion I felt, melted away as I took in the most spectacular views. We hung out for thirty minutes taking obligatory selfies and panoramic photos. A twenty something guy walked by and perched himself on a rock by us to meditate.
As I would go on to discover, motivation is a key element when you prepare to climb Mission Peak the first time. Fit hikers should have no problem with this 7 mile trail and beginners in reasonable shape may find the ascent tough, but manageable, with proper pacing and plenty of water. There is virtually no shade on the ascending fire road before the rock climb therefore get here early if you want to avoid the sun’s wrath. The descent is actually more difficult, you are constantly fighting gravity as you pound the steep gravel path. Every step is taken with force to avoid slipping and if you’ve never felt your hips, trust me you will now.
Apparently, Mission Peak is a very popular hiking destination and I can see why.
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As always, pushing for health xx.