As mentioned in my introductory post, a primary motivation for this blog is to share my experiences hiking the system of trails designated as the Bay Area Ridge Trail. This trail system is a work in progress, with approximately 330 miles of trails currently. The segments are not all contiguous at this time. In fact, another 220 miles of trails are planned, give or take, to fill in the current gaps between segments. This is a truly ambitious project to create a greenbelt all the way around the San Francisco Bay Area! In general the trails are multi-use, with all sections available for hiking and many for biking and/or equestrian use. There’s extensive information, maps, etc on the official Bay Area Ridge Trail web site. Here is an overview map, which was last updated in late 2009.
Also, there’s an excellent official guide book (Bay Area Ridge Trail, by Jean Rusmore), published by Wilderness Press and endorsed by the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council.
My hiking strategy is really quite simple: depending on the season and how much time I have, when I want to hike a section of the trail I select one that fits my constraints. Though I will make a lot of specially designated day trips, particularly for the segments that are farther from home, I also like to combine a hike with another activity when that works out.
Since I’m data oriented, I always hike with a GPS to track my route, distance, time, and elevation profile. I also generally wear a pedometer and carry a camera. I often hike solo and, without the option of a car shuttle, usually do out-and-back rather than point-to-point hikes. Depending on the availability of trail heads, this can either simplify or complicate the logistics!
Since there are so many trail segments, I also want to be able to keep track of which ones I’ve completed and the remainder I have to look forward to. Similar to my multi-season Tahoe Rim Trail hike, I am collecting data in a spreadsheet. I will try to share something interesting and unique about my experience hiking each segment.