Asian Americans Take a Hike — Up Mission Peak

I started noticing pictures of people on Mission Peak (located in Fremont, California) on Facebook a while ago. Asians ranging from The Daughter and her friends to retired friends of ours were posting pictures of themselves hanging off the pole on the summit. A search for “Asians Mission Peak” reveals that  groups like Asian Americans for Good Times 20s and 30s have set up meetups to hike it.  After Number One Son’s trip to climb it with his Asian friends got canceled, he proposed that the two of us go ourselves.  So this past Saturday morning, we went to check it out.

One of the entrances to Mission Peak Regional Preserve is located in Mission San Jose district of Fremont, a wealthy Asian ethnoburb of Silicon Valley. The preserve’s small parking lot was full, and there were so many people people parking on the streets to hike that it was almost half a mile walk from where we could find a place to the trail head. The trail was full of Asians of all kinds:  Indians, Chinese, and Filipinos. They were some young and some old, some families, some couples, and even some hipster Asians showing off a lot of skin and a lot of ink.

So what’s the appeal of hiking Mission Peak? I would say that it is a number of things. Part of the appeal that while doable, it is not an easy hike.  Out and back from the parking lot is around 6 miles, with about 2200 feet of climb in 3 miles. You can’t cheat and drive up it like other Bay Peaks like Mount Tamalpais or Mount Diablo. Also, it’s a natural setting close to the bustle of Silicon Valley – we saw a large flock of wild turkeys close to the parking lot. The view from the top is spectacular, as you can see as far as San Francisco.  It is said on a clear winter’s day, you can see as far as the Sierra Nevada mountains. Some people (The Daughter and her friends did this) hike it in the early morning to see the sun rise. Finally, it’s a cheap date, as there is no parking or admission fee.

Should you decide to give it a try, keep in mind that it is a moderately challenging hike.   There is almost no shade along the way, it can get hot during the summer and cold and muddy during the winter, so be prepared should you decide to go!  My glutes were sore the day after the hike.  Even though I run, the length and steepness of the climb was not something that I had trained for.  Did I think that it was worth the soreness?  Definitely, not only for the view and the quality time with Number One Son, but for the chance to check out an unusual Asian American scene.

[Flickr photo credit: Gaurav Chawla under Creative Commons license]

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About Jeff

Jeff lives in Silicon Valley, and attempts to juggle marriage, fatherhood, computer systems research, running, and writing.
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