This hike has occupied a very special place in my nightmares for a long time. One might call it boogeyman.
My first-ever overnight backpacking trip took place at the Sada's Spring campsite along Hobbs Road. Since it was my first backpacking trip and I had yet to feel the pain of an overburdened pack, I eagerly attacked what is commonly known as the steepest trail in the Bay Area with 45+ lbs of gear. The shear exhaustion experienced during that backpacking trip planted a seed of dread whenever the name “Mt. Sizer” came about in conversation.
I eventually steeled myself and started my preparation for this hiking challenge (Six Pack of Peaks). The weekend of 3/23 was the weekend when my mettle would be tested. We set out from Henry Coe Park HQ at around 7:30 so that we could attempt the 14-mile day hike and be done before the heat really kicked in. Cue 2 hours of struggle, followed by 4 hours of coasting as my buddy and I put our boots to the ground and tackled this Boogeyman of hike. The first 5 miles are relatively easy, crossing a ridge or two on the way out to Middle Fork Coyote Creek. After crossing the knee-deep water, drying our feet off, and putting our boots back on, we started the 1.5-mile gut-buster of a hike up the ridge to Mt. Sizer. Every step reminded me of that day 11 months prior when exhaustion overcame my being, but my conditioning and preparation seemed to have paid off. When we finally crested the ridge and started the comparatively easy hike across the ridge to Mt. Sizer, my heart was soaring. We continued the hike, putting another 7.5 miles under our boots on the way back to the car, crossing back over Coyote Creek along the way.
This hike was definitely the hardest to prepare for psychologically due to past experience, but overall, it wasn't the toughest in terms of physical exertion. The initial 5 miles of the Rose Peak hike from Lake Del Valle lay claim to that honor.
Looking forward to completing SoCal and Oregon this year in addition to NorCal!