Monday, May 19, 2008

Ohlone Wilderness Trail

It has been sometime since I blogged here.... several things happened this last year. I trained to run a Marathon with Asha For Education & raised money to help poor children in India get basic education.
I ran San Francisco half marathon & Silicon Valley full marathon in 2007.
For someone who had never run more than 30 minutes on a treadmill, this was a big accomplishment for me. I tried backapacking for the first time; went to wild cat camp in Point Reyes area with few Sierra Club members.

During my last Mt Whitney hike, I had thought about doing it again... so applied for the day hike permit. A few of my fellow co-workers decided to come also.

Last week Radu (one of my co-worker), who's also coming to Whitney asked me if I wanted to go for Ohlone Wilderness 50K run happening on Sunday May 18th. Radu runs 30-40 miles almost every weekend, so it would have been a piece of cake for him. I was definite that I am not ready for this, given that I'm running not more than 5 miles at a stretch these days.

It had been a month since we got the permit & it was about time I started practice hikes. Last time, I did it with Srikanth & we did gradually increasing hikes. This time since I was already running and more active, I wanted to do the bigger hikes. I told Radu that I can do 20 miles hike from Sunol to Rose Peak & back. Radu was ok with that & we decided to do it on Sunday starting from Sunol @ 9AM.

Both of us packed 2.5 lt water & some enery gels, salt tablets, power bars and reached Sunol around 9AM. I bought the Ohlone Wilderness Hiking permit at the gate. Radu decided to leave his cell phone in the car, I decided to carry it - it'll prove to be worth more than anything later in the day.

It was a hot day, we decided to take it slow, conserve our energy and hope to make it to Rose peak. We were passed by Jean Pommier (Radu recognized him) around 9:45 AM or so; he'd win the race in less than 5 hours.

We reached Backpack camp soon; stopped there to have some energy gels.
Good view of Mission Peak from here.

Backpack camp has a water faucet; although it says it's not pottable, we drank it and poured tons of it on our heads & legs. Once we started the climb again, next half mile was probably the steepest uphill on the entire trail. We kept talking about the the clock time we'd be able to make it to Rose Peak... it was moving slowly.. 12PM, 1PM, 2PM.... Sun was not helping, temperature would have been in 90s; whenever we were on the ridge, wind made it a bit easier, for the rest of the time, it was pretty open; there were a few trees providing the shade. We would take occasional breaks under the trees. Around noon or so, I saw Rajeev Patel coming by... he's been Marathon coach with team Asha several years ago. I recognized him as he shows up sometimes on our Saturday long runs. I introduced myself, he mentioned that another Asha runner, Arun Sharma is also coming behind.

It was around 1 PM, we had gone down a pretty steep downhill and stopped in the shade to take some gels. We started the climb again, around the turn we saw the Regional Parks Police truck come by. We gave him the way & continued forward. We were hoping to get to next Aid station soon; just after a few minutes we saw 4-5 people standing together, I told Radu looks like it's the aid station. Very next minutes it didn't feel right as they were standing under the open Sun.

Once we got a bit closer, one of the woman seems like was trying to ask us something. We soon figured she was asking if we had a cell phone; luckily I did. They were not on the trail, but between trail in the middle of the hill. Another guy, I think his name was Bill shouted to me to call 911. Not knowing what's going on, Radu & I started to climb towards them. In the meantime, I also took out my phone from my pack & called 911. I gave the phone to Bill and continued to see what was going on.

There was a race participant lying down and groaning, he seemed semi-concious. There were about 7-8 of us now surrounding the runner; using scarves & bandanas to keep him in shade from Sun; trying to keep his body cool by putting water on his head & core.

Bill was explaining the 911 guy what had happened & asked them to inform the Sunol Regional Parks Police guy who passed by 10 minutes ago. After about 15-20 minutes, I saw Arun Sharma coming by. As soon as he came he did something, we should've done long ago... he took out the shoes & socks of the guy & poured water on his feet & legs. Then we soaked our bandanas & put it under his feet & massaged his legs to increase the blood circulation.

Soon Regional Park Police chopper came by with the medic.

Medic started working on the runner by providing him oxygen bag & taking his vitals. Everyone was helping as needed & asked. We were trying to talk to the runner but he wasn't reposnding. Although he was unconcious, he kept on trying to vomit something; there was some water or something which was coming out. We helped put him on the stretcher. The Park Ranger also came by. It seemed like runner's condition was not improving; his pulse was ranging between 155-170.

Soon Stanford Life Flight crew came in another helicopter. They started working on him. They put in some drugs in him. He started to vomit again & might have swollowed his tongue. The nurses were able to get him in better condition before readying to take him to the hospital.

All of us helped carry him to the chopper.

It was 2:45 PM already, we had spent more than an hour and a half here, we decided to turn around and hike back to Sunol. It was late for us to continue on to Rose peak. Ravi, who was volunteering at the Race Aid stations was there and he decided on hike back with us. We took a few water bottles from the Parks Police and headed back.

Now, I was trying to be more than cautious. Anytime, my head or legs felt hot, I poured water on it. Ravi & I even filled water from this pond on the way to cool us off. It was really dirty.. but at that time I didn't want to run out of drinking water, Backpacker camp was still good 4 miles or so. We stopped at every 15-30 min when we got crossed some shaded area.

At backpacker camp all of us generously used faucet water to soak ourselves. My shoes & socks were filled with water. We sat the table & tried to dry 'em & clean off the all the prickly stuff. My head had started to hurt by now as I skipped on eating anything solid till now. Radu gave me a power bar which helped some. We decided to start and take the road to Sunol via Little Yosemite instead of the trail which we had come by.

Soon, we reached the waterfall; we went down and soaked our feet in the water and enjoyed it like a good day's end.

Ravi had biked from Sunnyvale to Sunol in the morning. So, we gave him a ride. When we reached Fremont, we decided to go by Chaat Cafe & have some good & real food. I enjoyed Samosa & Garam Chai. Now that was the real good end to the day like this for us.

I hope the runner is alright now.


Blogger claytonia vices said...

Found your photo blog today and really and really enjoyed the travelogues and the amazing pictures. I will soon be going into the archives for more...

Keep clicking :)

3:17 AM  
Blogger Sri said...

Very well documented hike. I am glad to see that you were able to help the hiker who fell sick. Kudos.

2:03 PM  

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