Mission to Mission Peak

9 Nov 1996 - by Bob Bynum

On Saturday, November 9, 13 Peak Climbers ascended Mission Peak in Fremont. Participants were Debbie Benham (Leader), Anouchka Gaillard (Co-leader), Bob Strum, Lucia Gonzalez, Denise Gazdag, Bill Mac Master, Nancy Fitzsimmons, Sharon Wilkinson, Mark Cooney, Judith Dean, Kelly Maas, Joe Stephens, and Bob Bynum.

We departed from the Stanford Avenue trailhead at 9:05 AM and reached the summit at about 10:20 AM. Beginning at an elevation of 400 FT. and departing at 9:05 AM, we climbed 3.1 miles to the summit at 2517 FT. arriving at about 10:20 AM. This made for a rather leisurely hike where we could talk to one another on the way up. It was a warm day for November. At the beginning it was a bit cool with many participants starting out wearing full Gore-Tex suits and Polartec. As we progressed up the peak, however most people stripped down to shorts and T-shirts as we rapidly warmed up.

One of the things that I like about going on hikes is getting into interesting conversations with different people about different subjects. Several people discussed upcoming trips or reminisced about trips that they had been on during the past summer. Debbie Benham asked a number of people "Did you have a good Summer." Nancy Fitzsimmons and I talked about some of the trips that we had been on together. I had a very interesting conversation with Lucia Gonzalez. Lucia is a native of Costa Rica and we talked about the importance of rain forests in Central America and the Amazon Basin.

At the junction of the Hidden Valley Trail and the Peak Trail, we encountered a somewhat cooler breeze from the East that came through Mission Pass. From there we climbed to the top of the peak where there was a slight breeze, but the temperature was around 70 degrees. It was warm enough that many of us did not need to put on any additional clothing and we remained on the peak for about half and hour enjoying the view and good conversation. The visibility was OK, but not spectacular. Overall it was rather hazy. We could see San Jose, the Santa Cruz Mountains, all the Mid-Peninsula, and as far north as Mount Diablo. However San Francisco and Oakland were not at all visible due to thick cloud cover.

We descended by the Horse Heaven Trail that heads South towards Monument Peak and then West back to the trail head. This route took us south and then west giving us a different view of the western face of the peak. We arrived back at the trailhead at 12:20 PM. All of us had a great time and are grateful to Debbie and Anouchka for leading.

A Political Activist's Personal Perspective

As a resident of Fremont and political activist in this city, I must add my personal perspective. I have been hiking up Mission Peak since 1983. Every time I climb Mission Peak, I see more houses built on land that used to be open space. However the density of the development would be greater and the building would come much further up the peak if it were not for the efforts of Fremont Mayor Gus Morrison. While a councilman in 1981, Mr. Morrison led a successful effort to put a hillside preservation initiative on the ballot restricting development in Fremont's hills and prohibiting any construction above the toe of the hill.

Efforts at hillside development have not always been successful. Mr. Morrison was out of office from 1989 to 1991. During this time a pro-growth council approved much of the recent construction.

These past few months I spent a number of evenings working at campaign headquarters phoning voters and encouraging them to re-elect Mr. Morrison. Also I used my hiking skills to walk several precincts and pass out literature. This was the sixth election I have campaigned for Mayor Morrison and other Sierra Club endorsed candidates. We have been successful five times including this most recent election. Now with the new four year mayor term, Mr. Morrison will take our city into the new millennium.

My point in this section is that open spaces, trails, national parks, and the pristine wildernesses where we climb peaks do not just magically appear. These areas are the results of long hard campaigns by dedicated activists. Campaigning for candidates or causes that you really believe in is not only a service to the community, it is a great an adrenaline rush as peak climbing. I strongly encourage all of you to become involved.

Rich Calliger chimes in:

I think we all should send Bob a note of thanks for his efforts. I have been climbing/running MP since about 1976 and have seen an awful amount of encroachment. I know a lot more PCS'ers use this area than the recent reports indicate, and hence I hope you do not mind this "Political" statement "off-topic". Please donate/do what you can to help continue Bob's efforts in keeping this area "normal" and not housed-over.

Good job Bob!! I appreciate very much (as I don't ever seem to have enuf time to be as PA as you are) your efforts.

He is certainly one of the unsung heroes of hill-preservation!!. It is no fun to slog city streets knocking on doors! Thank You!!!

Bye - I am off up MP one more time (in the mud it looks like with all the rain!)

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