Saturday, February 17, 2007

WBC Outings 1 and 2: Cowles Mountain

OK, OK, I'm late. I know. I'd intended to be blogging this stuff sort of "as it happened", but it turns out the tools to make the blogging easy are at home, and the time I have to blog is the stolen lunch hour at work... Sue me.

Anyhow, here's the first in a slew of entries to catch up on my activities with the Sierra Club Wilderness Basics Course (hereafter known as WBC) .

Since I grew up in the area, and went to PHHS, in it the shadow of Cowles Mountain, I'm fairly familiar with the WBC's first outing location. Cowles Mountain is probably the most popular hiking trail in the county, likely due to its location and elevation change rather than the interesting (or rather uninteresting) nature of the trail and its views.

The WBC use it as a good conditioning hike and as a method to gauge individual fitness levels for the participants. Its classed as a M3B hike using the Sierra Club Classification (Moderate, 3 Miles, 500-1000 feet of Elevation Change), and is a good yardstick against which to measure later hikes. In fact, the elevation delta is almost exactly 1000 feet from the trail base, so its easy to "guess" how you'd feel on a long M6C, which would be roughly equivalent to climbing Cowles twice. My time? Slower than average, but I think it reflects that I'm a slow climber: 42 minutes for the ascent. (36 was average). One experienced gentleman smoked me with a time of 26 minutes... yeowch.

We were required to do it once on either weekend, I chose to do it both times since I was breaking in a new pair of Lowa Trekkers (stiff all-leather), and I need the conditioning after taking so long off from jogging. Just look at that beer gut!

Click here to view my whole album for those hikes. I'll be doing similar albums for each trip as I post the reports here!

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