Union City to Milpitas
August 20, 2018
Distance: 24.0 miles Time: 7.50 hours Pace: 3.20 mph Elevation Gain: 3212 feet
With a semi-late start to the day after setting my alarm for 5:00 PM the night before I took BART from San Bruno to Union City. I wasn't overly excited about today's hike, but I'm eager to finish the East Bay section of the Bay Area Ridge Trail so that I can get to the more exciting North Bay sections. I much prefer forested trails to the long stretches of naked ridge line that makes up the majority of the East Bay.
From the Union City station I made my way through the Quarry Lakes Regional Recreation Area, which was mostly paved walking paths winding between a system of small lakes. Not much magic here, but it was interesting to see all of the water birds that live in the area, and I even saw two massive fish circling each other in the shallows as I walked by one of the lakes. According to a sign at the trailhead you can fish here for a $5 fee, but I never saw anyone making an attempt.
After rounding the lakes I hit Mission Boulevard, which reminded me of the main strip in my small hometown with many quaint little shops and an historic feel playing off the Spanish Mission San Jose, which is the main attraction of the district.
The mission was open for tours of the museum, cemetery, and surrounding buildings for $5, but rushed for time I decided to keep going after admiring from the street.
Not much further down Mission Blvd was Ohlone College and looming above it the beginning of the first real hiking trail for this trip.
The trail through this section looked very similar to the last couple hikes in the East Bay, sharing much of the hillside with cattle and some decent views of the cityscape below through the hazy smog.
Summiting Mission Peak at 2,520 feet was pretty awesome though...
It's strange finishing a hike and thinking it was mediocre. You want all of them to be an amazing cathartic experience, but the truth is that not all of them will deliver in some ways. My growing need to cover big distances makes every trip worth the effort, but some good eye-candy goes a long way too, and miles of grassy ridge just felt lacking.
Despite all of that, probably my favorite part of today's hike was the long ride home on BART. Legs numb and making every effort possible to hide my hiker's stench, I became immediately excited when I noticed that the train followed the foothills of the mountains I had covered over the last few hikes.
There's something about looking back at where you've come from that makes it all worth it...