For most peaks you start at the bottom and climb to the top, but not Table Mountain, #87 on my Sierra Club Nifty Ninety list. No doubt the spot does look like a peak from some direction, but for most hikers you start on Skyline Boulevard and then hike downhill over 600′ feet in Upper Stevens Creek County Park, to a place where the trail flattens out, the map and GPS say you are at the “summit” and you can turn around and start back up.

Despite the contradictions, though, the Table Mountain hike was quite enjoyable. The early morning light broke through the trees on Charcoal Road as I headed down, revealing the busy Silicon Valley below, eerily quiet. The crisp December air and the solitude (I saw no-one in the 5+ miles round trip) were refreshing. Freshly cut piles of underbrush showed evidence of recent fire prevention efforts.

For the return I chose the longer single-track Table Mountain Trail which winds in and out of the thick bay and redwood forest.

Only three peaks to go.