We hiked four hours along the misty ridges of Las Trampas Regional Wilderness, just up the road from San Ramon. Mount Diablo poked above the mist like the Kilimanjaro wannabe that it is. Temperatures, mild; winds, just enough to dry the sweat. In attendance:

Along in spirit: Cynthia, who came down with a cold on Thursday and had to stay home and recover.

We started passing participants a couple miles from the trailhead. Threading our way through suburbia we passed a guy on a road bike who had a curiously large backpack on. Like somebody who might be thinking of going hiking.

Just before we parked we came upon 4WheelBob doing a warm-up ride up to the trailhead. After introductions were made the bicycle guy showed up. It was Randy Franks, who also came along for the Turkey Day at Dawn hike (he rode 12 miles from his home in Dublin). With Dan Mitchell and Tom Clifton along, it was a bit of a reunion for those of us who gathered for that bit of freeze-your-face-off tomfoolery.

Speaking of Toms, there were three of us in all. The other, Tom “Gambolin’ Man” McGuire, suggested we do this hike at Las Trampas, so he was de facto trail guide. He had a nice climb up a nearby ridge planned. He invited Bob to come along but Bob decided discretion was the better part of sanity and picked a wider trail down the valley a ways. Bob climbed within a hundred feet of the elevation the rest of us ascended. Took him a lot longer, as you might imagine. We did a loop that let us meet up with him as he was about to finish the climbing section of his hike. Last we saw, he was busting tail up a dirt road worthy of the meanest Henry Coe hills.

So let’s look at some pics.

Gambolin' Man

Gambolin’ Man shows off his movie star good looks on the way up the trial.

Neighboring ridge

Tom C. admires a neighboring ridge. This is a pretty park, very much a worthy destination, though it must be said there are 50 more just as nice in the Bay Area, and maybe more than a hundred. More evidence we live in a hiker’s paradise around these parts.

Pausing long the trail

Morning sun creates a cool silhouette.

Misty hills

We had a determined mist lingering in the valleys all day, obscuring otherwise amazing views.

Dan, Russ, Ruth Anne

Dan, Russ and Ruth Ann pause along the trail.

Trees, hills, sky.

Taken because I take a picture like this on every outing. Just so I don’t forget how.

Tom and Ruth Anne

Tom and Ruth Ann check out the route possibilities.


Beauty will be happy with whatever we come up with. This is the one trait that distinguishes people from dogs.

More hills

More rolling green hills. I hope I continue to be amazed by having this much green in the middle of winter.

Big open country

I just liked the looks of this picture.


We meet up with 4WheelBob, who regales us with tales of High Sierra adventures. His goal is to hike to the the summit of Mount Washington, which is over 14,000 feet. He’s been close a couple times, maybe 2007 will be his year.

Wild canyon

Gambolin Man took us up to one more hilltop, passing this canyon along the way. Teeming throngs of suburbanites live on the other side of that hill over to the right but right here, it looks like backcountry that could stretch for miles.

Randy, Gambolin' Man

Randy and Gambolin’ Man at Eagle Rock.

Randy, Tom C. at Eagle Rock

Randy and Tom C. at the same rock formation.

Los Trampas Regional Wilderness

A rocky ridge at Los Trampas.

Russ and Randy

Russ and Randy rest on a tree just before we head down the last bit of trail to the parking area.

All in all, a great hike and an excellent get-together. Except for, no wait, actually was no except-for this time. All good, as they say.

For those thinking of checking out Las Trampas: First, give it a week after rains to let the mud dry. Take lots of water if you go in the summer, it’ll be hot as the blazes out here. We confined our hike to the eastern ridges of the park, where elevation gains are moderate but trails are really steep for short stretches — nice interval-training slopes to get your heart rate up.

For more on Bob Coomber’s outdoor exploits, check out this profile in Backpacker magazine. It makes him out as more of a hero than he’d care to be portrayed, I suspect — he strikes me as a regular guy playing the cards he was dealt. His outoor exploits do seem pretty amazing to those of us not in his hiking shoes, but his vibe is, “you’d do the same, right?” The cool thing is, he helps us believe our answer is “hell, yes.”

By the way, Tom Clifton’s pics are here