We had a great Memorial day weekend. It was the coldest Memorial Day in my memory. I played cricket with my friends on Saturday. On Sunday we had barbeque for lunch. And early on Monday morning, my friends and I arrived at the base of Mission Peak in Fremont. Attaining the peak would be the crowning moment of the long weekend. And it was.
Although the climb itself literally took my breath away, the view from the top was less than breath taking. I could see no farther than 100 feet in any direction from the top. It was all white. At just over 2500 feet, I was inside the clouds.
I had never imagined that I would one day stand inside of a cloud. And then spend the better part of an hour there! Other than flying through clouds in airplanes, the closest I have come to a cloud (that I can remember) is when I drove through some on Highway 1 going towards Santa Cruz from Half Moon Bay.
Mission Peak is not a very steep climb. It is considered a training grade. The trail to the top of the peak at 2500 feet is about 3 miles long. Covering that gentle slope in about 90 to 100 minutes should not be very hard. It was definitely harder than I expected it would be. The first mile was gentle with occasional grades. I did not expect it, but I was soon short of breath. My legs started aching and my back felt sore. But seeing some of my friends get ahead of me kept me going. Half way into the second mile, I was very tired. I wanted to give up. But just the thought of going back and being bored waiting for my ride to come back (we carpooled) kept me going. I took shortcuts which were very steep. But the time saved and the ability to sit and wait for my friends was well worth the extra effort.
Most of the last mile was steep. It was very cold now. I could see the clouds near me. The peak was not visible. May be because I could not see too far ahead, the last mile was way easier than I was told it would be. Every time I turned a bend or went another 100 feet, I would see a new target. Inch by inch I progressed until I saw a flag at the peak. Before long, I was at the top. I think the last 500 feet was all in the clouds.
The wind was cold. We sat on the leeward side and ate the snacks we brought. Trail mix, energy bars, cereal bars, water. A half hour later we started the descent. I had to be careful not to step on the loose gravel which was slippery. But other than than, it was an easy descent. I took a few shortcuts, but realized that while going down, the shortcuts were not really time savers.
We got back to the base at 10:30 AM. It was still cold – too cold for the end of May. We are thinking about going back in August when it will be hot.