Poverty Flat and Los Cruzeros Loop
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From the Bay Area take Highway 101 South to Morgan Hill, exiting on East Dunne Avenue for about 13 miles before hitting the Park.

Ohlone Wilderness Trail
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The Ohlone Wilderness Trail is a 19.5 mile thruhike from Sunol to Lake Del Valle in the East Bay Area. We took this trip in 3 days which was nice due to the crazy elevation changes, but could be completed in one day as a day hiker with a death wish or two days if you plan on making this your last trip.

Driving In
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The Sunol to Lake Del Valle hike through the Ohlone Wilderness Trail in Northern California is a thruhike that takes a bit of coordination for pickup and drop off.

Ben, Charlie and I decided I would leave my truck in Lake Del Valle's overnight lot (for free!) and then drive to Sunol where we had to check-in and make our payments.

Ranger Paul assisted us with the parking and campsite fees and reminded us that normally the reservations needed to happen within 48 hours of departure through ebparks.org, and not the day of.

Leave it to us to not abide by the rules. $30 or so later we got our maps and were off. The weekends weather report said sunny skys and it surely started that way.

We head out to the trailhead at 2pm on a Friday.

First Incline
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After a brisk walk on Canyon View Trail's gravel road we passed up Little Yosemite, a popular summer swimming hole surrounded by large Sycamore and Blue Oaks and the infamous “W” tree at 3.4 miles. You guessed it, it's a tree in the shape of a W.

After heading left up the hill to McCorkle Trail we began the first major incline that also happened to be one of the hardest. Not much of a warmup here. Get on the trail and get going.

At the top of the hill is the first set of campsites. Nice that they have great views but because they are on top of a hill with little wind cover, we decided to keep hiking into the Ohlone Regional Wilderness.

We were in for some hiking challenges for our old bones.

Cloud Cover
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It wasn't too long after the first major incline when the clouds starting blowing over us.

An otherwise calm and sunny California day was slowing turning into a springtime downer. Dark clouds, heavy winds and rain on the horizon forced us to put a bit of a pep in our step.

Our sweat froze and we were slowly dying of hypothermia. It was a slow and painful death. Only the sacred Black Oaks were there to morn our passing.

Luckily we were revived with some great downhill jaunts only to be stared at by herds of mad cows chewing on the bountiful landscape. 

Steep Incline
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Checking out my newly acquired Suunto Ambit GPS-enabled watch, we realized that we were only going 2mph and blamed it on some really awesome inclines.

Breaks were frequent as we were all admittingly out of shape. At least I was. There were numerous cattle gates around and small herds of cattle grazed in the middle of the trail. Normally this wouldn't be an issue, but for some reason these cows were a bit on the skiddish side and instead of running away from us, they ran towards us! Out of breath, tired, cold and now being followed by cows.

We can see it now, “Hikers killed by crazed cows, News at 11”.

Photo Opportunity!
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So the rolling hills and the cloud cover made for some great photo opportunities and we all took great advantage of that fact. I even took a picture of Ben and Charlie, taking a picture of the rolling hills. Boom, blew your mind.

Fog City
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Now that we were working on 4 hours or so of hiking, the sun had altogether dissapeared and instead we were walking on endless hills within a thick blanket of fog.

Something that normally is created in the backlots of Hollywood's thrillers, this fog was very spooky. Visibility was less than 50 yards and really made this leg of the trip somewhat special only because we were all saying our goodbyes to each other in the event a family of genetically mutated hilbillies were to jump out and hatchet us to death.

Luckily Charlie brought his machete so he was riding point. 

Arrival
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Seriously, fog is everywhere. It could have been 2pm in the afternoon for all we knew as the fog covered all sunlight.

Nearly sundown (we think) we arrived at our designated camp spot at Doe Canyon Horse Camp previously reserved with Ranger Paul at about 10 miles from the trailhead. There were two designated spots within the campgrounds which both shared an outhouse (awesome right?!) and potable water.

The first spot was very open and appeared to be perfect for a flag football game or for stabling horses. Its probably used for horses. The site we previously decided on was on a slight decline but was fine for our three, one-man tents, or so we thought. No campfires = lame.

We setup camp and ate by flashlight and were ready for a regenerative sleep before we knew it. Asleep by 10 and up at 6 sounds about right. 

Wake Up!
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Sleeping on an decline proved to completely suck and I spent most of my night tossing and turning. Charlie had no problem sleeping as noted by his banshee of a snore throughout the night but we powered through it all and awoke to a gloriously cold morning.

The temperature had to have been below freezing taking the wind chill factor into affect overnight. It was pretty damn cold.

Time to pack up and move on as we had the second highest peak in the SF Bay Area to climb. Looking forward to getting out of the dark woods and into some sun.

Short Hike
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Less than 2 miles later we approached the slight left to Rose Peak. Deciding that we went this far and even on shakey legs we would get to the top at 3817 feet (only 32 feet lower than Mt. Diablo).

It really wasn't that bad of a hike and the payoff was remarkable. Highly recommend with 360 degree views of the Bay Area. I hear that on clear days you can see San Francisco, Mt. Diablo and even the Sierra Nevadas which is pretty impressive.

Rose Peak
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Okay, so after we left the original trail and onto the Rose Peak trail someone turned on the wind tunnel to hurriacane Suzy. It was WINDY and COLD. The kind of wind that chilled you to the bone, through the bone and then out your butt. That kind of cold.

Luckily there was a cache box where we each signed our selves to intequity and a fellow hiker was nice enough to stop for a chat and to take our picture. From the peak we could see pretty far, even to the highest peak, Mount Diablo that is clear across the East Bay. Not too shabby!

On the way off the peak we bundled up, looking like local stick-up kids just to get through it. Made for a nice picture and luckily it didn't last long otherwise the cows might have spread the word that some delinquents were making a run.

Gradual Decline
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Within the first 3 hours of our trip we knew it was going to be a test for us. The incline was ridiculous on the first leg and now after Rose Peak we had the opposite problem, declining at a rapid rate.

Our knees screamed at us with every stammering step. I'm convinced that quads of steel couldn't perform this feat any better than what we did that day. I'd like you to prove me wrong.

It didn't help that at this point we were crossing paths with marathon trail runners on their morning jog, at 8 miles from the nearest destination trailhead. These guys were amazing actually, and quite nice but we hated them. Anyone that can run these distances without loosing breath is in my hate book. I lost my breath just waving to them as they ran past us.

Del Valle Regional Park was within eyesight and we were going to make it through Hell or high water.

Big Burn
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Dense over growth surrounds the now narrow trail into what is considered the Big Burn. I'll give you a momment to guess what the Big Burn really is...yup thats it. A section of this trail that is straight down with very little switchbacks.

This section actually caused knee injuries to Charlie and myself that lasted 3 weeks after our trip. Use hiking sticks and watch for loose gravel and leaves. They will leave you on the ground. Get it?! The trail drops 1400 feet in only 1.7 miles just to give you an idea of what you are up against.

The Perfect Spot
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17 miles from where we started our final campground for the trip at Boyd Camp presented itself on a tree lined hill overlooking Lake Del Valle and the Livermore Valley.

At least we set up camp in daylight this time and had a moment to revel in the setting sun. It was quite a view for us as we trekked in and we took well advantage of the sun setting by hanging out in the hammock and exploring our area.

Testing the Hammock
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This was the maiden voyage for the hammock by Trek Light Gear and it did not dissapoint. Lightweight, and large enough for two people this hammock had everything needed included to make it a great place to unwind overlooking the lit Livermore Valley.

Dinner Time
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A small clearing near some bench height rocks made for a great place to setup for dinner. We now realize it maybe overkill, but each of us brought our own JetBoil and ate our spacefood in silence.

Tonight it was Red Beans & Rice with a Spicy Sausage (brought in separately), Jambalaya, and Hawaiian Chicken & Rice. We always eat pretty damn good and the booze didn't hurt a bit.

Last Evening and Morning
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Staying up long enough to finish out our liter of Tequila we all hunker down for the night in a well deserved sleep. At least this night we weren't sleeping on a slope because the last night sucked.

Charlie opted to sleep out in the hammock and said it was the best sleep he had all weekend. I believe it because I slept like crap. I'm investing in a pillow for next trip for sure.

And while we are on the subject of “Things to do differently next time” I have a small list. 1) After checking if the camera has batteries, also check to see if the card is installed. 2) Check to see if the batteries in the head lamp are charged. 3) Buy a pillow. 4) Bring more anti-inflamatory/pain meds. 5) Don't throw a 15+ year Gerber knife at a dead tree only for it to snap in half.

The knife. The knife snapped in half. Bummer. That knife went on every camping/backpacking trip with me since I was a Boy Scout in Middle school and was given to me by my late Uncle Jim. A lot of memories was carried with that knife and now it's time to Bury the Hatchet and get a new one. More to follow on that. 

Lake Del Valle
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After breakfast and coffee we decided it was time to mosey on out of the wilderness into civilization. So before we headed out too far from camp we needed to hydrate. A sign told us that there was water down a side path but it didn't say it was literally 1.25 miles down a steep ass hill. Note: do not attempt this hill in your flip flops. It is not easy.

After we watered up it was another painstakingly slow stroll downhill to the parking lot where my golden chariot awaited.

We took this trip in March 2013 and although cold in the mornings and at night we experienced some great diversity in altitude, temperature and locale. I would not perform this hike in the dead of summer as it will be more than hot but during spring/fall its a great warmup/warmdown for the season.