One a recent hike on the Buena Vista Trail, Sierra Club hikers take a break on a wooden bench dedicated to Brad Darrach. (Robert Bernstein photo)

This past Sunday our Sierra Club group hiked from the Romero Canyon trail to the Buena Vista Trail to the “hidden benches”. We had an energetic group of people for this fairly short, but very steep hike.

Here are my photos.

The hike is just three miles round trip. And the elevation gain is just 700 feet.

But most of that elevation gain happens in about half a mile! That is a 30-percent grade, as steep as the steepest street in San Francisco.

It is one of the few hikes where I strongly recommend a hiking pole or stick.

We were fortunate to have some overcast for much of the hike. It can be hot even in winter as there is little shade.

I usually recommend a liter of water, more than usual for such a short distance. The good news: There is no poison oak or other hazards, so people are able to dress light!

The first bench is a wooden bench dedicated to Brad Darrach, 1921-1997.

When I first did this hike in 2003 the bench was made of actual logs strapped together with rope. It was very beautiful.

But over the years, the rope decayed and it just fell apart. The new bench is not as artistic, but it is very solid.

Unfortunately, the spot is hemmed in with thick chaparral, so the view is not so great from the bench.

Here are my photos from 2003.

The new bench also apparently has some splinters! Avid hiker Lisa managed to get a nasty one in her leg when she slid over to make room for others.

Fortunately, visiting medical scientist Michael was able to use my Swiss Army Knife tweezers to patiently tease out Lisa’s splinter. Lisa was kind enough to let me share my photos of the process!

The second bench is made of stone, dedicated to Mark James Andros, August 16, 1952 – March 7, 1961.

This is in a very scenic spot, with sweeping views up and down the coast. It was our snack spot.

Robert Bernstein regularly leads hikes on local trails for the Sierra Club.

A second bench is made of stone abd dedicated to Mark James Andros.

A second bench is made of stone abd dedicated to Mark James Andros. (Robert Bernstein photo)