I don’t go on many hikes that make me glad I’m done and wished I’d chosen wiser, but this was one of them.

I’d hiked Mission Peak Regional preserve from every direction, save one: the parking lot at Ohlone College in Fremont’s Mission district. It has one distinct advantage: a fairly gradual, four-mile route to the summit, vs. the burn-your-legs, straight-up-the-hill-in-2.6 miles route from Stanford Avenue, where most folks go up. Frankly, the more direct route is vastly preferable.

The area around the college is butt ugly with a row of power line towers, the trail up from there is littered with cow crap and and there’s hardly any view of the summit to see you on your way. I usually come home with something nice to say about a hike … to rationalize the exertion, if nothing else, but this was just walking up hill, stepping around cow pies and wishing I was somewhere else.

Peak Trail, Mission Peak

I did get one fairly interesting picture on the way up. The two boys in this picture, being boys of their age, did find a way to amuse themselves on the way up: They were taking rocks and plopping them in the cow pies, bursting with laughs at the sight of fresh crap going every which way. Ah, to be young and amused with poop.

If you’ve done Mission Peak a few times and have been wondering about parking at Ohlone College, take my word for it: endure finding a spot at the Stanford Avenue entrance and go up with the crowds. At least you’ll have company.

Or follow Steve Sergeant’s favorite route and hike up from Sunol Wilderness. It’s 12 miles, with six all uphill, but at least you’ll feel like you’re in the country.