Thursday, May 21, 2009

Extending the Caldecott PCT Training Hike

Poison Oak - Sibley Tilden trail
I mostly go from Pinehurst, Huckleberry or Sibley north. (this is in the east bay hills of the San Francisco Bay Area). After talking about this in my prior post, I decided to go south from Pinehurst, to extend the training yoyo a little. My plan was to go thirty minutes south, then return (this was a minimal hiking day). It ended up a little longer than that, and I came to a new starting point for the yoyo to the Tilden train station and back.

First you take this quiet single track trail much like Huckleberry Preserve. Shaded, lots of poison oak, but avoidable. The poison oak image is on the Sibley - Tilden trail, but you get the idea. After about twenty minutes you get to Skyline Gate - trail central for Redwood Regional Park. It's the takeoff point for two broad trails, the West Ridge and the East Ridge. Each is wide enough so 4 or 5 people can walk abreast, and they do during the busy hours, along with bikes and dogs. The broad trail creates a trailside microclimate with thriving California Thistles. At this time of day, about 8am, it is quiet, only about 9 cars in the parking lot.
Skyline Gate

This entire training hike, all the way to Tilden is on both the Bay Area Ridge Trail and the East Bay Skyline Trail. However, this morning going south, I encounter a split, with the Ridge Trail marked as going down the French Trail, and also continuing on the West Ridge, as the East Bay Skyline Trail does. I opt for the west ridge as I am running out of time. An aside, we've been getting some unattributed taking of blog content so inserting © 2009
French Trail junction north
The vegetation has changed since Huckleberry. Now the bays are competing with small redwoods, along with the buckeyes and the oaks. A few more minutes and I hit the next access point to Skyline Blvd., and my turn around point. This is Moon Gate, and is opposite 9358 Skyline Blvd. If you use Google Maps and Street View, you can turn the street view until you see the trailhead.

This section south from Pinehurst, is fairly easy, not PCT like, but it adds a little distance to your hike. The Bay Area Ridge Trail along the Oakland hills is just over the crest of the hills, on the east side. In the early morning the trail gets filtered light, by midday it is hot, and in late afternoon, the hills shade the trail. For PCT training, I recommend following a PCT schedule: Be on the trail walking by 7 am. Have a PopTart or similar snack for midmorning and midafternoon. Have a lunch including a bar of some sort. Keep your water topped up. There is water at Skyline Gate, Sibley and Tilden. The last time I did the Pinehurst Tilden yoyo, it was one of those hot days, and I forgot to take any food or snacks. I had plenty of water, but the last two miles or so, I was totally wiped, and taking a 5 or 10 minute break flat on my back on the ground, to get enough energy to go a little further. I desperately needed fuel - that PopTart, sweet and salty bar, Tang, or similar.

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