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A new mission for mission hiker

Ron Briery and Beppe Sala walk into the courtyard at Mission San Miguel in April during their journey to visit all 21 of California’s missions on foot. Of this next trip, Briery said, ‘I’m just taking a hike, and anyone is welcome to join me.’
Ron Briery and Beppe Sala walk into the courtyard at Mission San Miguel in April during their journey to visit all 21 of California’s missions on foot. Of this next trip, Briery said, ‘I’m just taking a hike, and anyone is welcome to join me.’ dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

The man who trekked through San Luis Obispo County in April as part of his quest to visit all of California’s 21 missions is organizing another trip. This time, he’s inviting the public to join him.

Plans call for Ron Briery, a 1963 Arroyo Grande High School graduate, and his crew to depart from Mission San Luis Obispo on April 14.

Those who join his journey would take side roads and trails to reach missions in San Miguel, San Antonio, Soledad, Carmel and San Juan Bautista by April 30 — covering a distance of about 250 miles.

“This isn’t any kind of official tour,” Briery, 66, said. “I’m just taking a hike, and anyone is welcome to join me.”

Last spring, Briery and his Italian friend Beppe Sala hiked 800 miles from San Diego to Sonoma in about two months.

Briery said he walks to embrace history, specifically along El Camino Real, which was designed to connect the missions by a day trip to each location.

This time, he picked a group of missions along the Central Coast and Highway 101 because of the more rural landscape and because it might attract those who enjoy a scenic walk, he said.

Those interested in joining can do the full trip or simply parts of it.

Briary said it’s best to go at one’s own pace. He also suggested bringing a tent, sleeping bag, backpack and “a good pair of hiking shoes and an adventurous spirit.”

He expects to walk an average of 15 miles per day, but no more than 20 miles in one stint.

Participants can also arrange for a family member to retrieve them by car if needed.

Those interested can contact Briery, now an Oregon resident, at rdbriery@yahoo.com.

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