Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Rose by any other Name

What does it mean when you plan something a certain way, only to wind up getting a completely different result, but upon refection on the matter, you realize that you wouldn’t have wanted it any other way? Does that represent a dose of irony? Or could it be a taste of Serendipity? A simple case of fortuity? Or could it be all of them? Or are we on the Twilight Zone? On my hike today, it seemed like all of the above while sitting on the summit of Rose Peak with 24 other people. How ironic does it sound to have 25 people sitting around on the highest and most remote point in the Ohlone wilderness at the same time? I suppose people head into the backcountry for different reasons. Certainly being among friends is as valid a reason as anything. But for me, my hikes are often about getting away and enjoying the peace, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

I began the day by pulling into the parking area near the visitor’s center of Sunol Regional Wilderness expecting to embark on a solo hike to Rose Peak. As I pulled in to park, I noticed a group of people in hiking gear kind of milling around. Someone was waving at me because they seemed to think perhaps I was looking for them. I talked to them for awhile and found out that they were a hiking group called Super Fabulicious. I’m still not sure what that means, but it really sounds cool. I'm sure that word must be in the dictionary. Turns out I was not the person they were looking for, but we soon discovered that we were all headed to Rose Peak. After discussing the routes, elevation, distance, and chit chatting for awhile, I was invited join them even though I am not officially a member, and accepted without reluctance. They seemed affable enough to scrap my plans for a solo hike. There were now 13 in the group including myself.

So we headed across the foot bridge and onto the Canyon View Trail to the McCorkle, and continuing on to find the markers for the Ohlone Wilderness Trail. At 36 degrees, it was crisp, but the sun soon beamed over the top of the ridgeline to the east to warm things up quickly. It didn’t take long with the climbing before everyone was removing layers of gear, and even applying sunscreen. When we reached one of the markers somewhere beyond the backpacking camp, and had stopped to regroup and take a break, I saw some other people headed up the trail behind us. I soon recognized these intrepid folks as members of the Sierra Club's Loma Prieta chapter Day Hikers group. My wife and I have hiked with this group numerous times in the past years. Sue being technically still a member still gets their emails. They had a group of about 12, most of whom I knew. The two hiking groups would kind of intermingle all along the way as we stretched out with varying paces, and then formed up again at stopping points. For me it was in interesting mix of enjoying new acquaintances, and re-kindling some old ones. Eventually we all met at the summit in one big mass, populating Rose Peak as I would have never imagined. It was like a perfect storm of hiking camaraderie. I had to laugh when I thought about what some poor soloist would have thought to hike up to Rose expecting to be alone to ponder the views in quietness and solitude, only to walk into this sprawling encampment of lunching hikers. It was especially funny to think that that person could well have been me, but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. A rose (peak) is indeed a rose.

Click here to see my photoset
Click here to see the Super Fabulicious photos

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