The Hike for the Ridge Trail
May 15 - June 20, 1999

Bob Cowell and Dinesh Desai

I, Dinesh Desai, first proposed this hike to the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council in the summer of 1998 as a way to raise public awareness of the Bay Area Ridge Trail and to build public support for closing the "gaps" between trail segments. The idea was immediately embraced by the Trail Council, and it promised to help make the hike a reality.

I chose my friend Bob Cowell as my hiking partner. We had hiked together the California coast from the Oregon border to San Francisco in 1995 and from San Francisco to the Mexico border in 1996. On long walks, a compatible hiking partner is more important than almost anything else and Bob and I had gotten along great on the two previous long walks.

The basic premise of the hike was to walk the entire planned 400-mile Bay Area Ridge Trail, the completed sections as well as the gaps. The gaps were to be hiked by traveling across private lands with owners' permission or by using existing public roadways. No vehicle was to be used for any part of the travel.

Since there were hardly any campgrounds along the route, I didn't consider backpacking a viable option. I decided that we would day hike and spend the night at the home of a Trail Council volunteer. We would start out each morning at a trailhead accessible by car and end in a similar location at the end of the day. We were then to be picked up and hosted for the night. The next morning, we were to be dropped off at the same location we were picked up the night before.

Dinesh Desai and Bob Cowell begin the Hike for the Ridge Trail

On May 15, 1999, we embarked on our five-week trek to hike the 400 plus mile loop through nine counties along the ridgetops encircling San Francisco Bay. On June 20, we completed the circle, returning to our starting point. This was the Hike for the Ridge Trail, the first accomplished trip on the full proposed route of the Bay Area Ridge Trail entirely on foot.

This material originally appeared on the Web site of the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council. The original material has been modified slightly to reflect more accurately its current placement. It appears here with the permission of the Trail Council.

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May 2005