Angel Island send-off

Angel Island send-off

We had our final “team hike” yesterday; it was a sendoff event with a short hike and potluck/picnic on Angel Island. The day started with an informational meeting on everything we need to know for the Grand Canyon trip. I got the trail assignment I wanted: The Grand View trail — the toughest of the trails. I’m also in the earliest group to leave, with a departure at 4:15 a.m. Ouch. But it’s good because we will be done with the hike before the hottest part of the day. The start of the hike though may be quick chilly. The rim gets down in the low 30s overnight this time of year.

After the meeting we caught the ferry from Tiburon to Angel Island and started on a quick hike up to the top of the island and back down (roughly 1.5 hours) Friends and family were invited to join us on the trek, so Markkus came along which was great. Even without training, he can out hike me. Somehow he just moves faster. (I’d like to blame it on carrying a big pack on my back, but I think maybe he’s just faster than I am!)

The picnic/potluck was a great way to socialize and talk about our blisters, gear, packing plans, etc. Mentor Barb brought some cupcakes that were much-touted before the hike; as a former pastry-chef, it’s no surprise they were such a huge hit both last year and this year. I’m hanging on to mine to eat on Tuesday when I finish a month of veganism.

For most the day ended at about 2 p.m. when everyone packed up and took the ferry back to Tiburon. Markkus and I decided to really enjoy the day though and went for a 3 hour hike around the perimeter of the island, which used to be a military base, immigrant quarantine and nike missile site. The old military buildings, like Fort McDowell (pictured below) have been either repurposed for tourist info or employee housing — or ripped of their fixtures and left alone. The empty, hollowed out buildings give the island a bit of a ghost-town feel, especially paired side-by-side with signs showing photos of the once lively buildings and grounds that were very busy and active through world war II and into the early 60s of the Nike missile era.

It’s really hard to believe that this time next week I’ll be on a plane heading home having already hiked the canyon. Wow. I can’t wait!