Briones is a favorite with us! Our 16th peak

Peak Walk in Briones

I really didn’t expect that we would be this far along on the list of 90 peaks when we started out because I thought we would have to fit the challenge in with all of our other activities—however, doing as many peaks as we can make time for has become somewhat of an obsession. Today we did #16 on the Nifty Ninety Peaks challenge with our friend Patricia Schaffarczyk, who has become as crazed as we are.

Briones PeakThe four of us, including her dog, Boo, returned to Briones Regional Park to climb Briones Peak. It’s elevation is 1,483 feet with good views of Mt. Diablo and the green hills surrounding the park. There are several trail heads into the park; we took our usual one, off Bear Creek Road near Orinda. 

We are continuing to have sunny, clear skies with temperatures in the mid-70s. Fine for hiking, but a bit eerie when we think about the fact that what we really need is some rain.

My fitbit read 14,000 steps and 5.25 miles at the end. I’d rate it as a easy-moderate hike with a level start and then a gentle climb to the peak. From the parking lot (which has a water faucet and porta potties), we took the Old Briones Road to Briones Crest Trail, and looped back on the Valley Trail to join Old Briones Road again.

Briones cattle grazing

Safety tips around cows in Briones

The cows, that keep the weeds and other vegetation somewhat mowed, were out, but not in great number. For those that have concerns about cows on the trail (and I sometimes am one who does), keep these park district guidelines in mind: “Safety Tips for Hiking Near Grazing Animals.” To summarize, the cows are usually docile, but it is wise to avoid getting between the mother and her calf and just keep moving slowly along the trail while talking normally and allowing the cows to get off the trail. It is also important to have control of your dogs and not allow them to harass the cows.

Likewise, though I have yet to see anyone on horseback in Briones who seemed fazed by hikers, we should remember some simple guidelines when encountering equestrians on trails: they have the right-of-way, and it is advisable to ask if their horse is ok with passing those on foot (especially with hiking poles). If necessary, hikers should step off the trail — and on the downhill side.

Briones tree with mushrooms at base
mushrooms/fungi at base of rotted tree

Briones, even without climbing the peaks, remains one of our favorite regional parks. If you hike there during the week, you pretty much have the trails to yourself.

Carry water, wear a hat and sunscreen, and as the season progresses, go early in the day before the temperatures start to climb.     

Hiked Feb. 8, 2018. Peak 16 for us.

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