Pleasanton Weekly

News - May 20, 2011

Hike for Hope raises $70,000 for hospice services

More than 700 hikers, volunteers gather at Sunol Wilderness for benefit

Under perfectly blue skies, 672 hikers and 62 volunteers, including two on horseback and two on ham radio, recently gathered at Sunol Regional Wilderness to enjoy the wildflowers and to be part of Hike for Hope, the annual benefit for Hope Hospice.

This was not a typical hike. The day was filled with music, laughter, and reflection as hikers took to the hills in memory of a loved one.

"Having benefited from Hospice's help and support during the passing of my mother in 2010, we find special meaning in life's renewal as we enjoyed the wonders of spring on this year's hike," Mike Koch said.

The event's chair, Dolores Bengtson, and 13 committee members were joined by retired Pleasanton Police Chief Tim Neal and retired Amador Valley High School Principal Cyril Bonanno.

Families with children, some three generations strong, learned about animals, plants and flowers in the area from exhibits at an East Bay Regional Park District naturalist education trailer. Adults and children were drawn to the collection of pelts from animals and snakes living in the park areas.

Children also enjoyed "up close and personal" visits with mounted trail patrol volunteers who talked about park and trail safety and answered questions, part of the Hike for Hope's activities coordinated by Rich Guarienti of Dublin.

"Last year's hike through Sunol Regional Wilderness proved to be a great time for all no matter their age or experience," said Mike and Ann Koch of Alamo, who joined in the hike for the second year.

This year's hike yielded over $70,000 to be used by Hope Hospice for current and future services.

--Kathy Prado

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