The Ridge Trail Beckons!

Ridges to Bridges 2021

Ridge Trail hike near Carquinez Strait

The Bay Area Ridge Trail is an ambitious goal. As envisioned, it would circumnavigate San Francisco Bay with a continuous trail — for hikers, bicyclists, and equestrians — of 550 miles. Currently, 390 miles have been acquired and made available to the public. 

2021’s Ridge to Bridges
Because of precautions and restrictions due to due to COVID-19, the annual Ridge to Bridges this year is self-guided. Participants choose from “curated Ridge Trail options in 4 locations around the Bay Area” and complete their outings on their own schedule, at their own pace.

There are curated Ridge Trail trips in four distinct Bay Area locations: North, South, East and West. 

Where are the featured trails? 
There are multiple trip options “in each of the four locations with trail lengths varying from 8 – 20 miles. This is a great chance to explore new areas of the Ridge Trail or check new sections off the list for Ridge Trail Circumnavigators. Make it a real challenge and pick a trail option (or 2) in each location:

1.Marin Headlands in Marin County
2.Carquinez Strait region in Contra Costa and Solano Counties
3.Mission Peak in Alameda and Santa Clara Counties
4.Peninsula Skyline area in southern San Mateo County”

Because Ralph and I have set it a priority to complete our last four peak hikes of the Nifty Ninety Peaks challenge before it gets too hot out here, I had to think about taking on a new challenge. However, this is a worthwhile cause and might introduce us to new trails, I decided to sign up. $39. And before I knew it, I had won a set of prizes including a $50 certificate to Whole Foods — where I can pick up picnic supplies for my hiking buddies and myself!

The challenge goes until June 5; the virtual celebration party will be June 8. Don’t delay. Go to https://ridgetrail.org/ridge-to-bridges-2021/ and find out more! 

I’ll have more to say about our first hike on the Carquinez Strait later. What I have learned is that equestrian trails can be VERY steep — who knew!

As we reached the bottom of the Hulet Hornbeck trail, we spotted this labyrinth.

 

 

Susan Alcorn’s Backpacking & Hiking Tales and Tips, April 2021

Prime Hiking Season is HERE!
 
Indian Warrior
 
Question for you hikers out there: Why is everyone exhausted on April 1? 
 
Because we just finished a 31-day March. (Thank you, I guess, Distractify.com)
 
In case you wondered, there wasn’t a March issue of this newsletter; I needed the extra time for hiking in order to see the wildflowers emerging. Don’t miss out on this prime hiking season!
 
Contents:
1Treeline reviews and backpacking gear list
2. Grand to Grand Ultra
3. Anish’s podcast on her newest book, Mud, Rocks, Blazes. Interviewed by Jennifer Pharr Davis
4. Film screening and Q&A of Wesley “Crusher” Trimble’s short film, “Within Weakness.” 
5. New edition Sierra South by Elizabeth Wenk  
6. Ivar reports from Santiago weekly’ the March 22nd report had hopeful news.
7. Marcy del Clements new book of poetry and prose about Appalachia.
8. Regional: California: Tom Courtney suggests a California Walkabout
9. Regional: Northern California: Envision ‘The Great Redwood Trail’ 
10. Regional: SF Bay Area: Bay Trail: Osprey and the Lone Tree Point Bridge Installation.
11. Regional: SF Bay Area Ridge Trail: Ridge to Bridges. 
 
Articles:
#1. Treeline Review. I am a fan of Treeline. I know that the founders, Naomi Hudetz and Liz Thomas, started the company (in large part) to help others choose gear wisely. They don’t take advertising and they recruit other hikers to give honest reviews. So I expect that their 2021 PCT Gear list will be well vetted. There is so much useful information for hikers here in their “PCT Strategy & Gear List for 2021”! https://preview.tinyurl.com/y7ggb4ka
 
#2. Grand to Grand Ultra: Looking for an extreme challenge? Check this out: Grand Canyon, USA. September 19 – 25, 2021. Self-Supported Foot race, 6 stages, 7 days, 171 miles (275 km). “Aloha and howdy! As we reflect on the past year and our need to cancel three races, we wanted to reconnect with everyone and let you know that we continue to plan ahead for G2G 2021. The vaccine roll-out gives us hope that things will get back closer to normal by the summer and that governments will institute protocols to keep everyone safe while permitting us to do the things we love.
 
“Whilst we can see difficulty in holding mass participation events, particularly indoors, we are hopeful that our stage races will fit the bill for safe, organized outdoor activities. We have been busy developing and updating our own Covid-19 protocol to keep all our participants, staff and volunteers safe.
Registration is currently open for:  Grand to Grand Ultra. Be sure to check out the cancellation Policy – Covid-19.” https://g2gultra.com/g2g-homepage?idU=7 
 
#3. The book launch of Mud, Rocks, Blazes: Letting Go on the Appalachian Trail, by Heather “Anish” Anderson, was held virtually on March 25, 2021. Heather: “Everything looks a bit different this time around. In 2019 I was honored to give a presentation for the Mountaineers at their sold-out clubhouse event BeWild as the book launch for my first book, Thirst. While I miss the energy of the in-person events, I’m excited for the virtual book launch of my newest book Mud, Rock, Blazes.” 
 
The book launch was facilitated by Mountaineers Books and hosted by Jennifer Pharr Davis. It was co-sponsored by REI and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. You can listen to the podcast here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6agii56uLKI&t=38s
 
In case you haven’t followed what incredible accomplishments Heather has achieved, here is a partial list: In 2013, she set the unsupported speed record (no one bringing her food, etc. while on the trail) on the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail through California, Oregon and Washington. 
 
In September 2015, Heather broke the unsupported speed record on the 2,180-mile-long Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Maine to Georgia. Anderson completed the entirely self-supported thru-hike in 54 days, 7 hours and 48 minutes. 
 
She has received the ‘Calendar Year Triple Crown” after becoming the first woman to hike the entirety of the Continental Divide, Appalachian and Pacific Crest National Scenic Trails in one calendar year (in 2018.) 
 
You can also follow Anish on Instagram (@AnishHikes). 
 
#4. Treeline Review did a film screening and Q&A of Wesley “Crusher” Trimble’s short film, “Within Weakness.” A blurb about the film, “Cerebral palsy hinders Wesley Trimble’s strength and coordination on the right side of his body, but it hasn’t thwarted his goal to climb all 54 of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks. Along the way he discovered great strength within weakness, though tragedy taught him these adventures could cost him everything.” Here is the link to watch his film in HD. 
 
Wesley asked Treeline to share Disabled Hikers as a resource for anyone interested in learning more about how to advocate for great accessibility in the outdoors. “
 
#5. New edition Sierra South by Elizabeth Wenk. The consensus is that it is worth it to get this updated guidebook from Wilderness Press. On PCT forum, Ethan wrote, “Over 100 pages added to each volume with GPS coordinates for everything.  Routes verified and changed where time has shifted things. Details about recent fires. More details about side trips, geology, plants.” 
 
#6. Ivar reports from Santiago weekly. This is from March 22, 2021, and is more encouraging news than we’ve heard for a while. Click here
 
#7. Shinrin-Yoku by Marcy del Clements. Marcy writes that she has a new book with her poetry and prose based on her travels. “It’s an anthology of all my work printed in Appalachia, since the early 90’s.” The flyer is here; to reserve a copy send message to editor, pdhowe2@gmail.com  
 
Marcy, my long-time readers may remember, was one of the amazing backpacking women featured in my “We’re in the Mountain Not Over the Hill.” https://tinyurl.com/Marcyflyer
 
Regional: S. F Bay Area and Beyond
#8. Highlight: California. Tom Courtney has two Inn to Inn Hiking Guides: Walkabout Northern California and Walkabout Malibu to MexicoLink here.
Walkabout Northern California: Hiking Inn to Inn includes:  The Marin Coast; The Mendocino Coast; Crossing the Sierras on the Emigrant Trail; San Francisco to Half Moon Bay; Lassen Volcanic Park; Point Reyes National Seashore; Tahoe Basin; Monterey Bay; Lost Coast Circumtambulation; Sierra Foothills; Carquinez Straits.
 
Walkabout Malibu to Mexico includes: Exploring the Malibu Coast; Santa Monica to Santa Catalina; Santa Catalina to Newport Beach; Newport Beach to San Clemente; San Clemente to Oceanside; Oceanside to La Jolla; La Jolla to Mexico
 
Tom writes: “Is it Safe to Hike from Inn-to-Inn?
For most of us, the trails feel like the safest place these days.  Most hikers wear masks and distance when they approach others and a breeze cleanses the air.  Inns and B&Bs have added safety measures.  Here are some suggestions for a safe inn-to-inn hike:  Check lodging websites for safety protocols.  Contact your innkeeper or host for more details.  Ask about dining options – outdoor, takeout, delivery, and preparing meals yourself.  Bring hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes.”
 
Featured to the north: Spring Inn-to-Inn Hikes: Walkabout the Marin Coast. Hike the coastal bluffs and forests of America’s western edge.  This moderate 41-mile, 4-day Walkabout starts in Marin Headlands and hikes to Point Reyes National Seashore.  The trail passes through three coastal hamlets: Muir Beach, Stinson Beach, and Bolinas, each offering interesting inns and wonderful cuisine.  Walk the trails of the Coast Miwok and a stretch of California’s wild and beautiful coast right at the doorstep of the San Francisco Bay Area.”  
 
Featured to the south: Oceanside to La Jolla:
Hike a gorgeous stretch of the Southern California Coast on this three-day, 28 mile adventure.  You will join scores of beach lovers on lively, popular strands, then hike long, secluded beaches.  Savor a stroll on miles of pristine beach under the 300-foot cliffs of Torrey Pines State Park.  Hike the rugged bluffs of La Jolla Peninsula.  Enjoy long days hiking along and swimming in the wild and beautiful Pacific.”
  
9. Regional: Northern California. Lisa Hettler-Smith is keeping us up to date on the progress to create ‘The Great Redwood Trail.’ In a recent virtual event, State Senator Mike McGuire asked everyone in his remote audience to close their eyes and “Imagine a strip of land roughly 50 feet wide and running for 320 miles, from the edge of the San Francisco Bay in Marin County through the vineyards of Sonoma County, showcasing the stunning beauty of Mendocino County through the redwood- and oak-studded hills of the Eel River Canyon, and then you’re gonna end your hiking adventure on the fog-shrouded shores of Humboldt Bay.” link here.
 
10. S.F. Bay Area: Osprey AND Bay Trail. “Just a few weeks ago, on February 18, Rosie completed her annual migration and returned to the Point Potrero’s Whirley Crane to reunite with her endearingly quirky mate Richmond, an event greeted with jubilation by the thousands of fans who follow the couple’s adventures on the Golden Gate Audubon Osprey Cam at sfbayospreys.org
 
“Richmond is one of just a few Ospreys around the Bay who don’t migrate in the fall. Instead he stays close to his namesake town for carefree winters of fishing on the Bay, paying occasional visits to the nest site while awaiting his mate’s return. This year’s reunion marked the start of Rosie and Richmond’s fifth season of nesting together at the Whirley Crane. The pair have fledged ten chicks since 2017, all banded for identification, and at least two of those banded offspring have been seen around the Bay after their own first return migrations.”
 
And on the Bay Trail: “A new bridge completing a 4-mile stretch of the SF Bay Trail from Lone Tree Point in Rodeo to Wilson Point in Pinole was installed in early March.” 
 
“This trail will eventually connect to the future Hercules Intermodal Transit Station. When the final SF Bay Trail gap from Pt. Pinole to Wilson Point in Richmond is completed, this stretch of trail will run 30 miles from Rodeo to Oakland.” The project is expected to be completed in summer 2021.”
 
#11. SF Bay Area Regional: Registration for the “Ridge to Bridge” fund-raising event and challenge for the Bay Area Ridge Trail is now beginning. Member can sign up today; April 12 for the general public. The self-guided events will take place over many weeks: April 1 to June 5, 2021.  
 
“What is Ridge to Bridges (and how is it different from past years)? Ridge to Bridges 2021 is a self-guided trail event for hikers, runners, mountain bikers, and equestrians. Choose your own DIY adventure! Register here. 
+++++
Thank you everyone. Stay well, keep hiking when prudent—and I encourage you to send in items of interest to the hiking community.  
 
Susan ‘backpack45’ Alcorn 
Shepherd Canyon Books, Oakland, CA
Author of Walk, Hike, Saunter: Seasoned Women Share Tales and Trails; Healing Miles: Gifts from the Caminos Norte and Primitivo, Patagonia Chronicle: On Foot in Torres del Paine; We’re in the Mountains Not over the Hill: Tales and Tips from Seasoned Women Backpackers; and Camino Chronicle: Walking to Santiago. 
 
Please note: Hiking and backpacking can be risky endeavors. Always be prepared for emergencies and carry food, water, shelter (warm clothing, etc.), flashlight/headlamp, matches, first aid supplies, and maps. Cell phones don’t always work. Leave word where you are traveling and when you are due back.
To subscribe, unsubscribe, or send a message to this (almost) monthly newsletter, please email Susan at backpack45 “at sign” yahoo.com