Blisters, views and tough inclines at San Bruno

Blisters, views and tough inclines at San Bruno

This Saturday’s team hike at San Bruno Mountain Park was by far the toughest yet. I suppose I may be saying that every week as each hike gets longer and more difficult, but this week was the first time I actually thought, ‘Will I really be able to hike back out of the Canyon in May?’

San Bruno Mountains are a very underappreciated bit of green space just south of the city of San Francisco. It’s a brush-covered mountain ridge that was saved from development by the local community. Hiking in San Bruno you can see the urban development all around you – South San Francisco (the “Industrial City” to the south, Daly City (suburban strip mall mecca) to the West, San Francisco to the north and the East Bay cities to the east. But we could also see the Pacific Ocean and the Bay. And the wildflowers on the hillsides, including poppies (pictured), buttercups and others that were in full bloom.

San Bruno State Park is home to several endangered butterfly species, a few of which only exist in the San Bruno mountains. Unfortunately we didn’t see any butterflies, but it is a little early in the season for that.

You can read more about the park at the San Mateo County park Web site

As for the hike itself, the first 45 minutes or so were a nice steady, not-too-steep incline to the top of the ridge. From there we hiked along the ridgeline to the West toward the ocean. As we neared the Pacific, the downhill incline became very steep. About halfway through the hike we found ourselves close to Highway 101 and Hitachi business headquarters.

The way back up the hill was very difficult. Though I workout regularly at step aerobics (my workout plan for tonight) and walk up a fairly steep hill to get to my apartment on a regular basis, I am definitely not in the best cardio shape for long, exceptionally steep inclines. I really started to question if I would even make it back to the top. Of course I did, at a somewhat slower pace than I would have liked. But there were a few emotionally trying moments along the way. And I’m sure it was nothing compared to what the Grand Canyon will be like.

The sunny weather was perfect for such an exposed hike – no trees or wind-blockers of any kind. I was a little windburned after the hike, but most of my post-hike complaints were about achy blisters on the bottoms of both feet. I’m going to buy some blister blocker this week and some liner socks to help prevent them in the future, but sheez, why the BOTTOMS of my feet!

Though a good overall hike, it was definitely one that tested me. Our next team hike is at Sunol, also known as “Little Yosemite,” and is bound to be even more trying for inclines. Hopefully by next week it’ll be that much easier.

You can view several photos from the hike here. To be honest I only took photos in the first 45 minutes or so of the 3.5 hour hike… the hike got a little tougher and I guess my mind was elsewhere toward the end;-)

Help the cause: If you haven’t already donated for the hike and would like to pitch in to help me reach my $3,500 minimum goal (and in turn help the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in their fight against blood cancers), log on to for more information and an online donation form. Rather donate via check? E-mail me for details.