It’s the 20th anniversary of the Bay Area Ridge Trail, which is celebrating by offering its second annual September through-hike: this year’s trek goes from Castro Valley north to Martinez over five days from Wednesday, Sept. 2, to Sunday. Sept 7. I’m still unsure why they’ve picked the hottest time of the year to do it, but one of last year’s hikers told me she had a fine time despite the warmth.
It’s $225 if you want to hike all five days, or $50 per day to hike along — planners haul your camping and cooking gear; you just show up with your day pack and start walking (10 to 15 miles per day, so don’t sign up if you can’t handle that distance.)
As to the weather issues: bear in mind these are not the blast furnace hills of Mount Diablo/Mission Peak, but the shady forested hills of Tilden, Redwood and Chabot parks and other climes much closer to the bay and its cooling breezes. There will be hot moments in the sun — plus a couple days of sharing the trail with equestrians (hey, who doesn’t like to see horses?). Highlights from the Ridge Trail’s page:
The route includes Cull Canyon Regional Preserve in the South, through EBMUD watershed, Anthony Chabot and Redwood Regional Parks, Huckleberry and Sibley Regional Preserves, across EMBUD watershed high above the Caldecott Tunnel to Tilden and Wildcat Regional Parks, Eagle’s Nest Trail, Kennedy Grove Recreation Area, Sobrante Ridge Regional Preserve, the Pinole Watershed and finishes on Muir Heritage Land Trust land in Martinez. Camp opens at Bort Meadow in Anthony Chabot Regional Park Tuesday, the day before the hike starts., On Thursday we move to Sequoia Arena in Joaquin Miller Park and on Saturday to the Es Anderson Equestrian Camp in Tilden Park. Friday’s hike is an optional 10-mile loop hike near Redwood Park. Hikers and horses will share trail primarily on 2 days only as the equestrians will largely follow a different route.
The hike is limited to 75 people — through-hikers had preference for reservations till yesterday; now it’s first-come, first-serve and you might get placed on a wait list. I’d be tempted if I were physically capable of planning that far ahead.