A few weeks back, the OG hikers group were reunited after many years of non hikes together: Rosemary, Kimi, Minette, Florence, and me. The challenge: a ten mile, ranger-led hike on the Ramage Peak EBMUD trail. Rather than recount it, I'll steal liberally from a follow-up email from our fearless leader, Kimi:
"All five of us gave it a thumbs up! Highly recommended. However, it is not a hike to take without either a good map, or someone leading the way, or both. You need an EBMUD pass. The two car shuttle worked great. Lots of grass— Patty had a full scale allergy attack (ed note: and later suffered ten excrutiatingly itchy insects on my shoulder and arm, innocently suffered over our lunch break). One drawback was hearing the bullets popping from the shooting range in Chabot, an odd sound to hear int hemiddle of nowhere. Its 10 1/2 miles, a lot of up and down, but there is enough shaded trail that its tempting to consider hiking this trail in late spring/early summer.
By odd coincidence, on this very remote trail we were one of three groups of 15 to 20 people on the trail the same day. One was the Orinda Hiking Club. The other was INCH, who barely stopped to say one sentence to us. Their motto is: Less talking, more walking, "Some people like to hike to enjoy the beauty of nature...some people hike to achieve inner serenity...some people hike for the physical and mental challenge...we hike because we love to suffer!" They were doing a 20 miler up and back, and the previous week they had done a 32 mile hike in the East Bay hills. Crazy."