Date: May 21, 2012.
Sometimes I get struck by a crazy idea for an adventurous outing, and it keeps bugging me until the plan is carried out. This was one of those cases. One night, I woke up with a thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool to go up Mission Peak in the dark and see all the Bay Area lights?” Some internet research on the next day proved that this was not only possible, but even not entirely illegal (summer park closing times are late enough to see the sunset and get back down to the parking lot before the curfew time!)
For some strange reason, things kept getting in the way of carrying out this brilliant plan. At first, I got sick and spent a weekend in the hospital. Then, there was the challenge of actually finding a date and time which would work for all the people who wanted to join the adventure (I had invited some colleagues from Logitech, and a surprisingly large number of them showed interest). After trying out what must have been 5 different dates, we finally agreed on an unusual choice for a hike, Monday after work.
The scheduled date was less than 2 weeks after I got out of the hospital, so I was a little worried about making it to the top. Still, it was important to try. With the thoughts of taking it one step at a time in my head, we started on our way up the hill. Despite the post-hospital “out-of-shape” difficulties, I was enjoying the hike more than our last trip to the top of Mission Peak. It was much cooler (temperature-wise), the grass was greener, and there were wild turkeys to stare at for entertainment.
And then there were the views… In the beautiful golden light of the setting sun, they were simply breathtaking.
These views actually made it even more difficult to keep going; the temptation to stop and keep looking was very great. However, we were determined to make it to the top in time to see the sun go down, so we kept trudging along.
Sunset at Mission Peak
We did make it to the summit before the sun set, although it was very close. The sun was already very low when we finally huffed and puffed our way up the last steep and rocky section of the trail. It was great to finally be able to take out the thermos of hot tea, and enjoy the last minutes of sunset while sipping the hot and delicious drink.
Unfortunately, the weather was not fully cooperative. Before the sun was fully down, we were suddenly enveloped by thick fog. It went from us being able to see all the way across the Bay to less than 3 meter visibility in about 5 minutes. It also got very cold very quickly, with the humidity of the fog and the strong breeze working together to chill to the bone. Still, satisfied with the amazing views we had been able to see, we started our way down the hill. In the first couple of minutes of the descent, we met a couple of poor souls who were just a couple of minutes late to the show, and who would arrive to the summit only to see fog all around.
Bay Area Lights
Apparently, the fog only covered the summit of Mission Peak. About half way down, we able to see the valley below again. My goal of seeing the Bay Area Lights from the Mission Peak was achieved (with some bonus points for cow silhouettes)!