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Grant/Lick - March 8, 2009

Distance: 22.2 miles Ascent: 3632 ft. Moving time: 2:37 hours

It was a beautiful spring day today, but all the recent rain and associated trail closures limited our options. We decided that it would be fun to climb up to Lick Observatory from Grant Park to take advantage of both the cool weather (compared to summer) and the clear skies.

We started on Yerba Buena trail up to the point where it stops paralleling the road. The trail was very wet, so we crossed over the gate to "save the trail". We made pretty steady progress going up Mt. Hamilton Road all the way to the observatory at the top. Along the way, we stopped to watch a well fed coyote (larger than a good size dog) hunting in the open field just below the road. As we were riding, a large red-tailed hawk fell just in front of me...I could almost reach it. I didn't get a picture of either.

While we made good progress, we were passed by a few groups of road riders. It was a bit frustrating, but they had light bikes and no packs. We did catch one of them when they stopped to rest and, apparently, turn around.

We were surprised to find a little bit of snow at the summit. While it has been wet for the last week, it hasn't been cold enough to snow. I guess the summit was quite a bit colder. After a brief stop at the top, we put on jackets and leggings to head down. A bit of post-ride calculating showed that we came down about 3.6x faster than we went up. We were glad to have the warmer clothing as it seemed like the temperature was dropping and the high wind chill due to sweaty shirts.

We detoured off the road onto Canada de Pala trail and headed back up that hill. We decided to drop down Los Huecos and call it a day. This trail was fun and fast, though we did watch our speed due to some wet spots, loose gravel and new rain ruts.

This was a nice ride after all of the rain lately. The air was cool, the sun was out, the grass was green, and the animals were out. We all had a good time.

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