Mission Peak Regional Preserve

October 27, 2012: Last weekend, we hiked at Mission Peak Regional Preserve, in Fremont, California.  This is our second completed hike on the 2012 Trails Challenge from the East Bay Regional Park District.  We have hiked up Mission Peak many times before, but never with our two toddlers.  I have not been to the peak since before I was pregnant with my first son in 2009!  Last month we attempted to hike Mission Peak but through the Ohlone Entrance.

We had to park almost three blocks away from the main trail head, which is always a little annoying.  Mission Peak is a very popular mountain to hike around these areas.  There's always lots of people there...I do not want to seem judgmental but I don't think all the people make it to the top.
Heading up Hidden Valley Trail
We loaded the kids up in the backpacks and we started to hike up the trail.  Jesse carries about 45 pounds with David in the backpack and I carry about 30 pounds with Sophia in the backpack.  We have never carried them this much or on steep trails before so this was quite a workout.  It's been a few days since then and my calves still hurt.

The Trail Greeter
At our break, we stopped to drink water and so Sophia could crawl around and play in the dirt.  She LOVES playing in the dirt, its quite ridiculous.  Sophia also enjoyed this hike because there were so many dogs.  She plopped herself in the middle of the trail and said "Hi!!" and waved hello to every person that walked by.  Jesse nicknamed her the Trail Greeter.  She brought many smiles to many hikers.

Father and Son Sitting
David was in and out of Jesse's backpack since he likes to run around and actually hike.  We had stopped for a break a few minutes before we came up on the bench Jesse and David are sitting in the picture above, but David still wanted to sit with daddy on the bench.  By this point, Sophia was asleep in my backpack so I kept on hiking.  I'm not the fastest hiker especially with 30 pounds of baby and backpack on me so I knew Jesse could catch up to me.

This is the first hike we have done that had "crowded" trails and we got so many comments because we were hiking with our toddlers.  Some direct comments, "My God woman!! You deserve a high-five!" or "You give me inspiration!" or "That must be a workout!". Some indirect conversations between hikers, "Would you do that? I would!" "You must be crazy I could never do that!"  Whatever floats your boat.

I hiked until Sophia woke up and we waited for the boys to catch up with us on the Grove Trail.  Both Jesse and I have never been up the Grove or Horse Heaven trail so we were excited to see these trails.  The trail was shaded and mostly flat until we started Horse Heaven Trail, we even saw a little creek which was quite nice.

David almost to Mission Peak
We reached Peak Trail which eventually led us up to Mission Peak.  I was pretty tired and hungry by then so Jesse took Sophia and hiked quickly to the top, while I hiked at a toddlers pace to Mission Peak.  David that made it to the top which is very impressive for a two year old.  He was tired and kind of sulking in the picture above.  I was bribed him by saying Daddy had candy waiting for him at the top, which he did but David did not go for it.  He looked at my backpack longingly and hesitantly asked if he could get in.  I almost picked him up to put him in the backpack but I knew we were so close, so instead we sang the ABC's until we saw daddy at the top. 

As you can see it was a gorgeous day.  I could see the entire San Francisco Bay Area from the San Jose to San Francisco to Mount Diablo, 360 degrees!! Beautiful.  We had lunch and played around on the rocks for about an hour.

Mother and Daughter, Mission Peak!
We loaded up the kids again and headed down the mountain, down Peak Trail towards Horse Heaven Trail.  We crossed the McClure Spring (pictured below) and headed up a few switchbacks.  Sophia had fallen asleep by this point.  We had never been on Horse Heaven Trail and I had not read the trail description in detail so I did not know how steep Horse Heaven Trail was.

McClure Spring/Horse Heaven Trail
Coming down on Horse Heaven Trail was not fun for me.  I think I was a little dehydrated and I get stressed out coming down steep trails with my baby in my backpack.  I am a short person with a short torso so my baby backpack sits very high on my back.  Therefore, my center of balance is higher than normal which makes me feel off balance a tad bit, not to mention coming down a steep hill.

Another joy of motherhood which was caused by my pregnancies is the fact that my feet grew a little.  My hiking boots fit, size 6.5 but they feel a tiny bit snug. On flat trails I can hardly notice it but I could definitely feel the difference in size coming down the steep trail.

Halfway down the mountain, my head was pounding, legs felt shaky, my feet hurt from my boots, I'm off balance and I could feel blisters getting bigger on my toes.  I stopped at Agua Caliente Creek and sat in the shade for 15 minutes and guzzled some water.  A little later my head stopped hurting but everything else was still going on.  Jesse had to eventually carry my backpack, his backpack and Sophia because I was done.

We were almost done hiking, so Jesse and Sophia finished quickly while David and I hiked very slowly to the end.  I gave David a piggy back ride the last few hundred feet which he thoroughly enjoy and me too.

Here are our hiking statistics:

Total Time: 6 hours 23 mins

Longest Hike to Date (With Children): 7.2 Miles - Elevation Change 2,300 feet

Trail Hidden Valley/Grove/Horse Heave/Peak/Horse Heaven
Overall, First half I thoroughly enjoyed but not the second half.  Until next time Mission Peak!!

Related Posts: Trails Challenge 2012-East Bay Regional Parks
                          Garin/Dry Creek Regional Park