Protecting the Pretty Places


We got an extra early start for our longest hiking day, which clocked in at 18.5 miles with more than 2,500 feet of elevation gain.

Walking an old military road

The morning started out as a pleasant and easy stroll along an old military road from the 1800s. We hugged the edge of a long, narrow valley, hopscotching with the train tracks for the West Highland Railway.

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We had a rough start on our third day. First, the weather — which had been so bright and sunny the first 2 days — finally succumbed to its more typical forecast of drizzle, fog, and gray skies.  More problematic, though, were Rachel’s feet, which had succumbed to blisters.

Ben Lomond

We suffered through the first mile or so before finding a very scenic bench on which to assess feet and apply about five more layers of bandaids. Refortified by the bandaids and the view of Loch Lomond, we got back on the trail.

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After lunch at the bottom of Conic Hill, we set off along the shore of Loch Lomond. We were feeling pretty good about ourselves and expecting an easy walk along the lake to our destination for the day: the Rowardennan Hotel.

And the first part of the afternoon was, in fact, easy walking. The trail hugged the lakeshore and even wandered directly onto the beach in places.

Feet by Loch Lomond

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The hiking book: Hiking the San Francisco Bay Area (Falcon Guides)
The distance: 6 miles
The CityGirls rating: 5

We needed to get out of the city for a bit but didn’t want to drive too far, so we headed south to some of the protected land on the Peninsula. There’s a big slice of land on the Peninsula that is protected as state and county parks, fish and game refuge, and water district lands.

20130210_rocks-on-the-ridge

Sweeney Ridge is across the Peninsula from the airport and at the northern end of the chain of reservoir lakes that store water for the city of San Francisco.

In San Francisco, 85% of our water comes from Hetch Hetchy, a dammed valley in Yosemite National Park. The Hetch Hetchy dam and water system were created in the early 20th century to provide water for the Bay Area. The dam is owned by the city of San Francisco and provides water for much of the Bay Area.

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