Silicon Valley looks like a microchip from up here.
The Peak Trail starting at Ohlone College is a glorious 4 mile uphill hike through patches of beating sun and herds of black grazing cattle. Following the contour of the California Coast Range, the trail shows the developed areas around the south edge of the San Francisco Bay to its west and endless waves of hay-yellow fields to the east. Towards the Bay, greenery is intersected by red roofs and highways, while towards central California lie only a handful of cottages and an endless supply of dried grass.
Once at the top of Mission Peak, the perspective gained is amazing. Visibility was only at about 70% the day I went, but I could still see the outlines of the mountains on the other side of the Bay shielding views of the Pacific from the little dwellings of the South Bay below. Roars from Highway 880 and 660 could still be heard miles below, though the cause of their noise looked like tiny toy cars zooming through small model towns. Meanwhile, only silence was heard towards the east, where a few reservoirs and personal plantations could be seen. Overhead, an occasional bird or drone flew past.
The sense of accomplishment once at the top is palpably felt by the swarms of hikers trying to take a selfie at the totem pole marking the trail’s peak. It’s a popular trail, and the dozens of Snapchats sent from the top prove the half day hike is worth it.