Was it a (hike) joke?

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Trip Report
California, United States, North America
Date Climbed/Hiked:
Jul 5, 2006
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Was it a (hike) joke?
Created On: Mar 13, 2007
Last Edited On: Mar 13, 2007

I am sure this can't be a hike...

So, on the sidelines of what got planned as a trip, because my wife had a conference there, I end up looking up climbs in the area. And what do I find – one of the mountains (it can hardly be called even a hill) I decide to climb in a day and back was Copernicus peak, supposedly the highest peak in the San Jose and Santa Clara county.

First View of the Laboratory

From below, when I was on the never-ending winding road up, I managed to get a first glimpse of Lick Laboratory, the place where usually people park their cars to hike up the peak. The lick laboratory is an interesting place, which houses the Shane telescope.
The Observatory building
The Shane telescope is, even today regarded as one of the most productive telescopes in the world. It has a 120-inch reflector, which took quite a while to make.
Inside the Observatory...

The (joke) climb

Returning back to the hike / climb, I reached the lick laboratory and parked my car just outside its entrance. And then the wondering starts – where in the hell is this Copernicus peak? I looked around, and recognized the firetower in the distance.
Walking towards the peak..
So, I started walking towards the firetower. I passed a cop’s house, and I wondered if I will get in trouble, if I go and climb up those few feet, as the Copernicus peak is legally, not supposed to be accessible. After the laboratory entrance, the road turns left a little bit, and there, you see the gate, which is fenced, and has “Warning” signs on it.
It is Illegal to go up there !
Instead of passing through the gate, I passed through a hole in the barbed wire fence,
But, there is a way through the fence..
which took me to the small trail leading up to the firetower, and hence the summit of the peak. The trail led to the base of the firetower, from where, it is just a couple of steps up the tower. After I went all the way to the top, I realized one thing that “probably” the trek was meant to start from the base of the mountain, instead of, from where I had parked my car. Now, THAT, I am sure, would have been a good hike !

The view from the top was splendid, as it was a pretty day.
The observatory
I took quite a few photographs, and thought of taking mine, myself. I was glad that the $180-2001-Fuji-Finepix-Camera I had, had a timer on it, otherwise I would have had to call the cop to take a picture of me
An overdressed guy at the end of the walk...
(not a very good idea, right?). So, after a couple of photos, I started back towards the car. In about 20 minutes, I was driving down the winding path.

It was a good day out of San Francisco, but the only thing that bothered me was that I was “seriously overdressed” for the party. By party, I mean the trek, and “overdressed” meant, practically looking like a fool, with a cap, sunglasses, and a small hydration pack, filled with 3 liter water and a couple of bars to munch on.

With an ultra-short trek like that I am pretty sure I came back, with all the water and the bars in my backpack. And, also, I am sure if somebody would have seen me “prepared for the hike”, they would have burst into laughter…



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McCannster - Mar 14, 2007 12:57 am - Voted 10/10


Welcome to Bay Area Hiking. ;)

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Was it a (hike) joke?

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