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Heaven: 1,500 Feet Above Oakland

Our first Fall excursion of 2013 offers a win-win response to an age-old question: What's more important -- length or girth?

At Redwood Regional Park, there's no need to compromise. Home of the East Bay's largest (and thickest) growth of Coastal Redwoods, the mighty trees on this land -- which 200 years ago grew past heights of 100 feet -- once served as a guideposts to help sailors navigate through the treacherous Golden Gate, 16 miles away.

NOTE: This hike is now closed to RSVPs. If you're on the Waiting List, here's how it works.

GETTING THERE

A series of bright blue signs to "Chabot Space & Science Center" guide you from either of two exits off of Highway 13 -- Joaquin Miller or Redwood Rd. -- right into the parking lot at 10000 (Ten Thousand) Skyline Blvd. in Oakland. How easy is that?

Important: Our Meetup point is in the BACK PARKING LOT of the Space Center. As the steep driveway from Skyline Blvd. levels off and the Space Center comes into view, you'll see a parking garage on your right and a dozen head-in parking spots on your left. Pass them up and follow the driveway that swings to the right of the Space Center (ignore the signs that tell visitor's not to drive beyond that point). You'll pass employee parking on your right -- keep going to the back parking lot, which sits just below the observatory plaza. The back parking lot will be empty except for Trustees, it's free, and it's where our trail starts.

THE HIKE

The comment I invariably hear when I lead first-timers into Redwood Regional Park goes something like this: "Wow. I can't believe this is Oakland! Has this always been here?"

You betcha. Much of boomtown San Francisco was built from the first-growth redwoods which once towered here (no worries; today's second-growth trees are nearly as majestic). When Alameda County broke off from Contra Costa County 160 years in order to gain more influence in state politics, the counties divided the precious resources of what is now Redwood Regional Park right down the middle. One more geeky factoid: The term "rainbow trout" was coined in this park, where the species spawns.

But you don't have to care about the history to dig this wondrous place. Redwood sits atop the Oakland Hills, perched high above downtown Oakland, Alameda and the bay. Much of this hike takes place under a canopy of redwoods so thick that it's often hard to tell when it's raining. And when it's foggy, this place is hauntingly beautiful. Even on the brightest days, the dappled sunlight plays tricks on the eye and the mossy branches can appear to be fog-shrouded.

This hike differs from any of other Circle of Trust & Beer outings on a number of fronts: we start the hike going downhill; it's less than 6 miles; and, just over an hour into the hike, we'll push the pause button at an awesome meadow called Redwood Bowl to munch, explore and socialize. In fact, the entire hike, even with the Redwood Bowl hiatus, should be complete in 3 hours.

But don't be lulled into thinking this is a walk in the park. We're going to climb, baby -- about 1,200 feet on two leg-burning hilles. After a couple of relatively soft hikes (Wildcat Canyon & Portola Redwoods State Park) to recruit fresh blood for The Circle, it's time to start gearing up for our fall climbing season - our most intense yet - which will culminate in a trip to the summit of Lake Tahoe's Mount Tallac in late October.

THE BEER

Monaghan's On The Hill is conveniently located right around the corner from the Joaquin Miller exit on Highway 13, just 2 miles from our trailhead. It's a hybrid place that's not sure whether it wants to be a nice restaurant or a sports bar, but the split personality works -- this place is immensely popular among the highlanders in (Oakland's) Westminster/Montclair area. We'll take over the outside deck - and let the Circulating begin!

Who's in?

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  • Tom

    It was another excellent hike with a group that continues to get better and better. Thanks Brian for organizing this!

    October 1, 2013

  • Nick s.

    Great day, great company, great organizer - who could ask for anything more? Well done that Brian and all of you for making it happen.

    October 1, 2013

  • Monique

    Thanks to Brian for organizing the hike and everyone who attended making it a fun Sunday. Being a beginner hiker, this has been an amazing experience! Everyone is supportive - willing to huff & puff with you, but also good motivators. I'm hooked! Can't wait for the next hike. :)

    September 30, 2013

    • Brian Patrick H.

      Thanks for the kind words, Monique -- and thanks for the awesome GROUP REVIEW, too. You're a great addition to The Circle!

      September 30, 2013

  • Michael P.

    Damn. I neglected to check my email on Saturday and missed out. My apologies if my place on the wait list prevented anyone else from attending.

    See you soon.

    1 · September 30, 2013

  • Nick s.

    Great hike, great company - well done that Brian!

    September 30, 2013

    • Brian Patrick H.

      Thanks, Nick - great to see you back in the loop!

      September 30, 2013

  • Rich C.

    Really fun Sunday hike. Everyone who attended was fun to hang out with and talk to. The group also kept a solid pace to make it a nice work out but not too strenuous. The beers after were delicious and well earned.

    1 · September 30, 2013

  • diane

    I'm a wimp! Too beat up from Tough Mudder to hike today. I wish I could still drink with You though

    September 29, 2013

    • Brian Patrick H.

      No worries, Diane! That's a badass competition. And you're always free to join us for the apres-drink.

      September 29, 2013

  • diane

    Brian, thanks for adding me. I'm on my way home from the Tahoe Tough Mudder. If my legs are still able to hike at noon I will be there!!

    September 29, 2013

  • Tom M

    Made it - from double digits on the Wait List! Now I get to hike and drink beer on Sunday instead of work!

    September 28, 2013

  • Julie P.

    ( :

    September 27, 2013

  • Rich C.

    woohoo! Just got confirmation. Looking forward to this hike.

    1 · September 27, 2013

  • Anita

    Thanks for adding me today, unfortunately I already made other plans. Next time!

    September 27, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Had hoped this would be my first circle hike, but the proverbial something has come up... Enjoy all!

    September 26, 2013

  • Piper

    Made it off the waiting list. Woohoo! See you all on Sunday!

    September 26, 2013

  • Joanna S.

    Sadly, Team Mountain View will have to do without me as I've had other plans come up out of the blue. D'oh!

    September 5, 2013

  • Julie P.

    So, I have my kids Saturday! I'm about to try to remove myself from the waitlist... ) :

    September 19, 2013

    • Julie P.

      Thanks Eric! I dunno how I got the 21st etched into my brain! in that case, I'm still waiting...

      September 19, 2013

    • Julie P.

      It's a good thing, too cuz I still can't figure out how to get OFF the waiting list anyway!

      September 19, 2013

  • Gary

    2nd hike w the Circle. Dig the redwoods, the vertical, & the beer! See ya eom.

    September 5, 2013

  • Mitch

    Damn, I was #1 and I have to cancel ;( Next time...next time

    September 18, 2013

  • Anna W.

    also excited to be there, if anyone bows out :)

    September 6, 2013

  • Rich

    Redwoods AGAIN?! This looks F*****t*****y awesome.

    September 5, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Not that I don't love you fine people, but I'll be in a tent by a lake. There may be hiking and there WILL be beer, but alas no Brian and company.

    September 5, 2013

    • Eric

      Then I plan to make it on time!

      1 · September 5, 2013

  • Julie P.

    Excited to try my first hike with this group, if anyone bows out. ( :

    September 5, 2013

27 went

  • Brian Patrick H.
    *CLUB 66* 100-HIKE VETERAN/30 Semi-Circles-2016: 5/2, Organizer
    Event Host
  • Harshal
    19-HIKE VETERAN/4 Semi-Circles (TOP 100 PBR)
  • Jen
    23-HIKE VETERAN/4 Semi-Circles (Top 100 PBR)
  • Tom M
    25-HIKE VETERAN/15 Semi-Circles (TOP 100 PBR)
  • Eric
    13-HIKE VETERAN/3 Semi-Circles (PBR: 42)
  • Christa
    TWO-TIMER (1 Semi-Circle)
  • Piper
    22-HIKE VETERAN/6 Semi-Circles (AUGUST PBR: 20)
  • John R.
    17-HIKE VETERAN/6 Semi-Circles (AUGUST PBR: 33)
  • Merle
    25-HIKE VETERAN/9 Semi-Circles (TOP 100 PBR)
  • Reid
    *CLUB 66* 23-HIKE VETERAN/3 Semi-Circles (TOP 100 PBR)
  • Sarah
    10-HIKE VETERAN/2 Semi-Circles (TOP 100 PBR)
  • Tom
    14-HIKE VETERAN/5 Semi-Circles (PBR: 38)
  • Nick s.
    THREE-PEATER
  • Monique
    13-HIKE VETERAN/4 Semi-Circles (TOP 100 PBR)
  • Rich C.
    TWO-TIMER (1 Semi-Circle)
  • Robert
    TWO-TIMER
  • Randy P.
    48-HIKE VETERAN/14 Semi-Circles (Top 100 PBR)-2016: 2/0
  • Rich
    12-HIKE VETERAN/3 Semi-Circles (PBR: 45)
  • Polly
    SIX-HIKE VETERAN/1 Semi-Circle (PBR: 85)
  • A former member
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  • A former member
  • A former member
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