Saturday, April 21, 2007

Hike up El Toro, Morgan Hill.

Today we hiked up 'El Toro'....

Wikipedia says.. El Toro means "The Bull" in Spanish. According to a local legend, author Bret Harte named the hill when he climbed it and discovered two bulls fighting near the summit (they subsequently chased him back down). The official name shown on USGS maps is simply El Toro. Elevation at the summit is about 427 m (1403 ft).

The Annual Spring Hike up El Toro is the only time when you can officially hike up there as it is private land, so there were at least a couple of hundred people who took the chance. There are two start times, 7:45 am and 9:45 am, and we went to the later one this time. We had planned to get up earlier but as it turned out, the hill was covered in low cloud first thing this morning, so it may have been cooler, but the view would not have been as spectacular as it was later. The hike itself is about 1.5 miles to the top- all up hill.

Kudos goes to a Morgan Hill Scout troop who had cut in steps and erected a rope hand rail for the particularly steep and dry final part of the hike (climb!), without which it would have been impossible to make it down in particular. The soil underfoot was very dry and therefore very slippery. Kudos also to the Morgan Hill Historical Society who sponsored the event, warned us to bring gloves (for the rope) and even award you a certificate when you make it all the way to the top and back down again, This hike was not for the faint-hearted and is correctly described as a "moderate to difficult" hike. However it was a well organized event, and we'll be signing up next year!

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