Entire Blog - Display the entire Blog for all years. This is a large file!
|Cumulative climbing:||10 feet|
Low-Tide Beach Walk, December 29, 2013 - In what has become an annual tradition, Alice Mestemacher hosts a walk on the beach for friends and family near the beginning/end of the year. A day on which a super-low tide occurs is chosen, and the route starts at Rio Del Mar Beach and goes north across Seacliff and New Brighton Beaches, then beneath the cliffs of Capitola to the center of town where we stop briefly before turning around and hiking back the other way.
This year we hiked in daylight, watching the sun set just as we finished the hike. The beach was more crowded than usual, probably due to the sunny, warm weather we were enjoying that day.
After our walk we retired to Dharma's Restaurant and enjoyed hearty meals.
Jack and his Lure, November 2013 - I kept Jack for Thanksgiving weekend while Laura and Michael spent the holiday in Paris. I discovered that Jack's favorite activity was to chase the lure. We spent over an hour one day with the lure. I'd twirl it in a circle and try to keep Jack from catching it. But, try as I might I couldn't hold him off for more than a couple minutes before I got tired, dizzy, or careless, or he got lucky. When he caught the lure he didn't want to let it escape.
Even when we weren't playing with the lure, he'd go to the spot where I had stored it, with the lure on the roof of the garage (so he couldn't jump up and get it—he can jump and grab things 6-7 feet high), he'd stare up at it, then at me.
After an hour of play, he would get thirsty, then take a nap on his bed in front of the garage door.
|Cumulative climbing:||2500 feet|
|Link to:||Low-Key Hill Climb Results|
LKHC: Montara Mountain, November 23, 2013 - Frank Paysen and I carpooled to Montara for today's climb.
Since I was planning to go on foot, we decided that Frank would drop me off at the trailhead on CA1, then he would go back and find a place to park, do a warm-up ride, then the timed climb. Meanwhile I would do a short warm-up on the road into McNee Ranch under the old Monterey Pines, then start my climb forthwith.
I ended up needing more warm-up than that, and the short walk up Old San Pedro Mountain Road to the restroom gave me just enough extra. Here at the bottom of the hill winds were gusting with enough strength that I worried it might be very windy at the summit. Fortunately, the winds abated as the sun rose.
Gary Gellin had come out the day before to mark the start and finish and every 1/2 mile to the finish line. So, I knew exactly where the clock would start. I especially appreciated the markings nearest the finish line.
I started at a brisk walking pace. When I got to the point that the road pitched upward, I realized I had forgotten to apply some sunscreen lip balm and to put on my knee strap. I tried to do these while walking, but it became too much of a hassle to carry all the crap I had while carrying out this minor operation and to maintain a good speed on the trail. So, I stopped, got everything taken care of, then resumed. That cost me about 30-45 seconds. I tried to compensate by pushing a little bit more than I might have otherwise on the first climb.
I found I could keep about 3-4 mph, maybe 5 mph if I made big strides, the latter only possible on low grades. On the steep stuff I didn't lose too much speed due to legs as heart and lungs became the limiting factor.
Half-way up I paused to chat with and to photograph Lisa Penzel who was on her way down after checking out the route. That cost me about 15 seconds, but the pause allowed for some recovery.
I saw a couple other hikers on the trail who appeared to be climbing too sedately to be motivated by a clock, and a few other cyclists descending who may or may not have been doing the Low-Key climb.
Near the top of the middle steep section between miles 2 and 1.5, where the road runs atop graded granite, my legs and lungs both protested. The feeling was similar to that felt when I start too hard on a climb at high altitude. Legs felt like mush and I just wanted to sit down.
I paused once again nearer the finish at a spot with a nice view to the northwest to shoot a panorama. That cost me another 10-15 seconds that may have been partially offset by the effect of recovering.
By this point I would have been happy to finish in under an hour, and I knew that unless I was lucky enough to be the only participant on foot today, my score would be a "discard" in the overall accounting. My true goal for the day was some unfinished business from my last hike up Montara Mountain, to get to the summit of South Peak.
When I saw the finish line in sight about 50 yards away, I broke into a clumsy jog where anything with concentrated mass attached to me bounced and pulled in all directions. I was glad no one was around to witness my awkward finish.
I crossed the line and kept going at a recovery pace. The trail to South Peak leaves the main road across from the spur road leading to North Peak. This unmarked trail allows linemen access to the power lines running through the valley between North and South Peaks.
Last spring I had tried walking this trail and found it too overgrown with juicy poison oak. Today the poison oak was mostly dormant, and what had been overgrowing the trail had been cut down no higher than a few inches. Someone had done some serious pruning. The way was easier today.
The trail descends 250 feet, then climbs just as much up the ridge to the south. At the power pole closest to South Peak the trail continues along the power line, but my route up South Peak diverged.
I would have to bush-whack my way to the summit. But first I had to traverse a slippy-slidy section. Climbing was easier, and I felt greater confidence placing my feet to avoid a slip. While descending I grabbed some sturdier branches of the nearby bushes to help belay me should my shoe grip fail.
Once past the slide area I had to boulder-hop through knee/waist-high oak plants. A hint of a use trail led through the bushes. I took it in the hope that it might have offered the easiest passage through.
When I got to the high point, a large boulder with a rusty screw drilled into it, I could see some sort of marker about 20 yards further through the bushes, but lower. I decided I had reached the high point, then rested for a while and snapped some photos.
As I descended the valley between South and North Peaks, Frank called me on the radio to report that he had arrived at the top. We met atop North Peak, where I took his summit photo.
We then went back to the finish line where a small crowd had gathered to watch the finishers. I took a bunch of finishing photos. Then, when there was a lull in activity I hiked up to the top of West Peak, then back again.
A few more finished, then I started down. I might have waited longer and photographed more finishers, but that would keep Frank waiting an unreasonably long time. He was on his bike and would be waiting at the bottom for about an hour while I plodded down on foot. Expressing an abundance of caution Lisa Penzel joined me on foot as she did not feel comfortable descending the steep upper summit road. A few steep spots on the descent had me mincing my steps to reduce my risk of slipping.
I tried to photograph as many climbers as I could on the way down, although I missed a few when I couldn't get my camera out of its bag quickly enough.
When we got to asphalt surface on Old San Pedro Mountain Road Lisa decided to ride down the rest of the way. I tried to contact Frank by radio but got no reply. So, I picked up my pace, arriving at the bottom shortly after noon. I found Frank in the parking area on CA1 a couple tenths of a mile south of the McNee Ranch entrance.
|Cumulative climbing:||1960 feet|
Michael's Summit Loop and Kings Creek Truck Trail, October 7, 2013 - David and I had hiked last August 4th up the Saratoga Toll Road from its southern reach, then down to the San Lorenzo River and along and old logging road/trail next to the river and back to the trailhead. At that time I had alternatively considered Michael's Summit Loop, but when we chose to hike the Saratoga Toll Road I put Michael's Summit Loop on my short list to do in the future.
So, today we got around to hiking it.
We started off by hiking a few tenths of a mile up the Saratoga Toll Road, then turning right on an unmarked road that descends to the River and up the opposite side. This unmarked road is the start of the Kings Creek Truck Trail.
Kings Creek Truck Trail climbs through redwoods, tanoaks, and big leaf maples up to the ridge to the east. After turning and running south along the ridge for a few tenths of a mile it descends to the east down to Kings Creek. At the top of the descent to Kings Creek Michael's Summit Loop meets Kings Creek Truck Trail.
Our original plan had been to hike only the loop, but I was curious to explore the section of Kings Creek Truck Trail down to Kings Creek. It would, in effect, "close the loop" for me as this was the only section of Kings Creek Truck Trail that I had not yet explored.
I suggested that David wait for me here at the top of the ridge or to continue on and wait for me at Michael's Summit so that he wouldn't find the hike too taxing. But, in spite of our ability to stay in contact by radio David didn't want us to separate. He offered to accompany me down to Kings Creek provided I didn't get impatient with him on the climb back out.
So we continued down Kings Creek Truck Trail. Not far down the hill we reached a gate, the state park boundary. The gate was ajar, and it looked as if a lock was missing or had been cut off. We continued down and shortly reached a junction.
We first explored the branch to the right. It did not go far until we reached an open gate with a sign warning us off. In spite of the warning not to park here, an abandoned car had been defiantly parked in dried mud next to the gate.
We turned around and took the left fork. This road zig-zagged down through the forest, past encampments, piles of scrap metal and other junk, trailers that appeared to have been abandoned, and other assorted scrap and post-industrial detritus. The place felt like a time warp. Although no one was about, David was certain that we would be unwelcome had the keeper of the junk discovered us poking around. We observed from the road.
On one side of the road the junk's owner appeared to have an affinity for mannequins and other life-sized figurines. On the other side a more substantial collection of scrap metal had been cast into various piles.
A 1950's era diesel bus from the Santa Clara County Transit District fleet with 1970s paint scheme had been converted into a dwelling, although it looked barely habitable now. All along the road rusted and most-likely non-operation pickup trucks from the 1950s and 1960s had been parked. Lower down a trailer appeared to be uninhabited and abandoned, based on my quick glance through the windows.
At one point we heard a motorcycle coming up the road ahead of us. We stood aside. It's rider swept around a corner and then turned left into a driveway immediately before of us. Either he did not notice us on the road or he paid us no mind. We continued on.
A long hike back to the van would have been to head down Kings Creek Road, then up CA9, about 9-10 miles altogether. But, going back up the Truck Trail would be easier, even with the extra climbing.
So, we headed back up past the encampments and junk piles. A low moan of machinery could be heard out of sight up the driveway the motorcyclist had driven. We continued on and saw no one.
When we got to the state park gate, I attempted to close it, but the gate had shifted over time relative to its post and the bar would not clear it. I jammed it in so that it would stick and not swing open. The chain would have to remain dangling as there was no lock or hook with which to secure it. We then pressed on up to the ridge.
Less than a minute after we had left the gate, we heard a pickup truck climbing up the road below. It was driving slowly as if its driver was looking for something (or more likely taking care not to hit too deep a rut or too high an obstacle). The truck paused when it reached the road heading into the state park. I could see the blue roof of the cab.
The truck continued up toward the gate in front of which stood the abandoned station wagon stuck in the dried mud.
I entertained the notion that we had been reported and someone had been dispatched to investigate, to look for us. But, it was more likely the pickup truck driver was just searching for the address at the end of the road.
When we reached the ridge we turned left and started up Michael's Summit Loop trail. The trail signs were facing traffic going the other direction, and since the trail was difficult to follow in places, we had to proceed with deliberation.
The trail itself was covered with leaves, duff, branches, and other debris as if a storm had just blown through and was only just distinguishable from the surrounding ground. Clearly this trail was infrequently traveled and not maintained to the same standard as other trails within the park. I would not have wanted to try hiking it in the dark, at least not on my first visit.
The trail climbed steeply then leveled off, then climbed steeply again. David complained that I was getting too far ahead of him and that he couldn't find the trail. I waited for him.
Shortly we arrived at the high point on the ridge and not long after we arrived at a clearing encircled by several half-cut logs set up as benches. A narrow view of Ben Lomond Mountain could be seen through the trees.
We stopped here to rest and to eat our late lunch.
After lunch we continued on Michael's Summit Loop trail, descending the western side of the ridge into a forest of many tanoaks and an occasional clump of redwoods, the latter more densely found near the now-dry watercourses. The late afternoon sun cast a pleasing glow on the forest.
By the time we got near the bottom of the trail David was starting to think of little more than the upholstered seat in the van, and our remaining hike back to the van went without incident.
Lee 'Fuzzy' Mitchell Memorial, September 29, 2013 - I attended Lee 'Fuzzy' Mitchell's Memorial with Ron Bobb and Zach Kaplan. It had been a few years since I had seen Lee, and it has been even longer since I have ridden a formal bike event or double century. Fortunately, I never needed his help on the road, but he always had a friendly wave or word of encouragement and was always recognizable in his Bike Van as he patrolled the course looking for cyclists in need.
Visiting Leonard, September 5, 2013 - I spent the afternoon visiting friends from my days at UCSC, Leonard Scoggin and his mom. Len was visiting for a week from Boston. The trip was on short-notice when a room in his mom's house opened up and was vacant between the end of summer and the start of the UCSC school term.
We stopped at the local credit union and did some shopping for his mom. Then we enjoyed lunch at Saturn Cafe, capping it off by splitting a Chocolate Madness.
After dropping off the groceries we drove up into campus and toured some of our old stomping grounds, including a stop at the Music Center (built after we graduated in 1989) where we ducked into an open practice room where Len warmed up his chops on a well-used upright, playing from memory through movements from a couple of Beethoven's sonatas and Debussy's Clair de Lune.
We then went back to his mom's house where we waited for Nicholas Mitchell to pick up Len for dinner and to watch while Nicholas did his evening radio show at KUSP. While we waited, Len's mom told us about her life in Batista's Cuba in the 1950s, of meeting Fidel Castro, coming to the United States as a student (University of Louisiana), and coming home once during college after the revolution when she was advised by her family to stay in the US and not to return to Cuba.
|Cumulative climbing:||3320 feet|
El Sombroso, September 4, 2013 - Frank Paysen and I hiked to El Sombroso and back via the Limekiln, Priest Rock, Kennedy, and Woods Trails.
We started our climb on the mostly shady lower reach of the Limekiln Trail. The morning air was comfortably cool, although we both sweated heavily as we climbed the steep trail.
After climbing what seemed like a long time beside a noisy quarry operation we finally broke out into the open and could look down into the quarry and across the canyon. A short distance from here we arrived at the crossing of the Priest Rock and Limekiln Trails.
We turned right and continued on "Rollercoaster Ridge", the upper part of Kennedy Trail that rises and falls, not gaining much altitude between the top of Priest Rock Trail and Limekiln Trail.
From the junction with Limekiln Trail we continued on Woods Trail until we got to the dual-track access road to the PG&E towers on the summit of El Sombroso. We walked this access road to its end just over the top of El Sombroso, where we paused to enjoy the view to the southeast.
After our break we returned up the PG&E access road to Woods Trail, retraced our steps to the junction with Limekiln Trail and descended Limekiln Trail.
The upper part of Limekiln Trail descends the ridge north of Soda Spring Canyon, then falls off to the north side of this ridge, crosses two creeks that fall into Soda Spring Canyon, then climbs a short distance to the top of Priest Rock Ridge where it crosses Priest Rock Trail.
We turned left and climbed some distance on Priest Rock Trail, looked for the trail's namesake--we found a modest rock almost obscured by vegetation but fenced off, so we thought that might be it--, stopped under a transmission tower to take another break and to enjoy the view, then descended to Alma Bridge Road.
Not too far from the bottom we saw the only wildlife on our hike. A garter snake that had been sunning itself on the trail, slithered off to the side, then froze. We stood over it and took photos while it eyed us suspiciously. After a few minutes we moved on and let it continue with its life.
It was a tough hike but good training for our upcoming Mammoth trip. We saw few other trail users, and most of those we saw were on the lower reach of Priest Rock Trail toward the end of our hike.
|Cumulative climbing:||2150 feet|
Sanborn County Park, August 28, 2013 - Frank Paysen, Bogdan Marian, and I met in downtown Saratoga, then carpooled to Sanborn County Park for a hike. Weather was sunny and warm but not hot.
My initial plan was to hike a loop of approximately 8 miles, hitting The Peak (3000+ ft) and Sunnyvale Mountain (2840+ ft). But, Frank had counted on a longer, more intense workout.
We climbed the Sanborn Trail as a loose group, stopping to take photos (Bogdan and I) or getting a good workout (Frank). When we got to the Skyline Trail, I suggested to Frank that he head over to Summit Rock for a 12+ mile loop while Bogdan and I took a more leisurely pace, then meet back at the car or at the Sanborn Trail.
So, Frank headed over to Summit Rock while Bogdan and I went southeast over The Peak, where we found two "married" trees as near to the summit of The Peak as we could tell, then on to Sunnyvale Mountain where only a young Douglas fir tree marks the summit.
No views can be seen from either summit. In fact, few viewspots exist anywhere in Sanborn Park, the hills and ridges being thickly covered by forest.
On the agenda for the day was to explore a fire road, marked "1.2 mi" on our map, that descends to a viewspot at the park boundary, then continues on Gaetti Road through a residential area that eventually connects to Sanborn Road below.
The fire road descends to a clearing, then passes a sign, "Not A Through Trail", before descending steeply for another mile. We were both hoping that we would be able to continue through rather than return up this road. On the way down we saw evidence of a new trail cut heading back uphill to the left. We would explore that if we were forced to return this way.
After a few more zig-zags, the road passed what looked like an old building site where only a partially-diassembled electric panel remained. The trail leveled off just before we arrived at the viewspot that offered a narrow view of the south bay and Mount Diablo to the north. We stopped here to enjoy lunch for twenty minutes. Then we proceeded past the gate and down to Gaetti Road, on the way passing another potential home site with a view of El Sereno Ridge and the upper reach of Bohlman Road.
Gaetti Road is a paved one-lane road that passes a few old buildings, a couple of unbuilt home sites, and a few houses that appeared to be occupied.
We did not take Gaetti Road all the way down to Sanborn Road, although in hindsight that might have been easier in spite of the extra distance required. My old topo maps show a road that heads northwest and downhill from Gaetti Road where it crosses the ridge. The only evidence of the old road is the right-of-way carved into the hillside that has been neglected for many years and is washed out (near the top) and overgrown (all the way down). We called this "Bushwhack Road", and although the going would be slow, I knew we had only 1/2 mile to go on it and that the trailhead was close enough to be in shouting distance below through the trees.
We pressed down Bushwhack Road, climbing over fallen trees and limbs, crawling under branches and dry poison oak vines, and forging our way through knee-high brambles. In less than a half-hour of this we emerged onto the road through the walk-in campground.
We investigated some of the walk-in camp sites before heading down to the trailhead to await Frank's return.
The Raccoons Ate Well, August 28, 2013 - Unless the weather is unusually cold or wet in the summertime, I sleep with my bedroom windows wide open. This gives me fresh air through the night. It also allows me to enjoy (or not) all of the sounds of nature and man that occur during the nighttime hours.
Last night I witnessed nature's less pleasant sounds.
Out of a sound sleep I was awakened by the sound of something heavy scrabbling slowly up my backyard redwood tree. Squirrels move faster and more erratically, but this sound was slower as if made by a heavier creature moving with deliberation.
The redwood is about 50 feet from my bedroom window, but due to the way my casement windows open, the sound is amplified and reflected as if I'm listening through a megaphone with the small end placed over my ear. So, backyard sounds are heard as if they're right outside of my window.
I tend to be somewhat alert for sounds that are stealthy, and these were stealthy sounds. In addition I could hear some soft chattering, but I couldn't make out the words. I woke up from my semi-dream state and listened for a while before realizing I was hearing one or more animals.
Then, the most awful high-pitched shriek pierced the night air, louder than any jay or mockingbird. The shriek repeated in desperation for about five or six seconds before it went silent.
Something was going on in my redwood tree. I got out of bed, put on my glasses, went into my office, and grabbed my headlamp and camera in case I might be able to photograph something interesting.
I aimed my headlamp at the top of the tree. Clustered near the center of the tree's crown four sets of glowing eyes languidly peered down at me. Raccoons! That much was clear.
I could see a smaller creature moving restlessly on the end of a limb at the top of the tree then jump to an adjacent limb. That was a squirrel. Half way down the tree another raccoon stood guard, and a second squirrel was frozen, clinging to the trunk about six feet from the ground. At the base of the tree, one of the neighborhood feral cats stood looking up the trunk, but it ran off as soon as I pointed my light at it.
I watched for a while, but nothing other than occasional raccoon chatter could be heard. I went back to bed, only to be awakened twice more, spaced about 20 minutes apart, each time by a similar panicked shriek as I had first heard. It was a sound that would be difficult to sleep through.
The next morning I was unable to climb the tree to investigate what had attracted the raccoons to its crown, and although I did not see any evidence on the ground, I suspect that a raccoon family had raided a squirrel's nest and had eaten the baby squirrels, plucking them from their nest one by one before tearing them apart and devouring them while the parents were helpless to do anything other than to keep their distance lest they be attacked themselves.
The raccoons ate well last night. Sleep well that night, I did not.
|Cumulative climbing:||3160 feet|
Black Mountain, August 21, 2013 - Frank Paysen and I started from Rancho San Antonio County Park and hiked up the PG&E Trail from its start to the bench under the uppermost transmission tower.
After taking a short rest we decided we had enough time and energy to press on up the steep Quarry Trail to the Black Mountain Trail and continue again up to the summit of Black Mountain, where we stopped for a lunch break.
The air temperature was cool to warm, but we were sweating hard most of the way due to lack of a breeze. Even at the summit of Black Mountain there was no breeze, and many flies landed on us (and were swatted off).
We returned the way we had come on the Black Mountain and Quarry Trails, then we proceeded to descend the High Meadow Trail.
Frank wanted to descend the Rogue Valley Trail while I continued down the High Meadow Trail, stopping to enjoy the bench at the viewpoint along that trail to make up for Frank's slightly longer route. We kept in touch by radio a few times. Although we were not often separated by line of sight, we got reasonably good reception using operating in simplex (direct, radio to radio, not using a repeater) on a VHF band.
We regrouped near Deer Hollow Farm and then took the Coyote Trail to bypass the farm and the road and returned to the start.
Overall it was a long hike and tough for me as I hadn't been hiking as much lately as I ought to be, nor at what was today often a fast walking pace.
|Cumulative climbing:||0 feet|
Seacliff Beach, August 15, 2013 - Ron Bobb and I took a short walk from Rio del Mar north along a surprisingly busy Seacliff Beach to the end of the RV park where a wall that separates the RV park from a residential community has become an erstwhile memorial wall.
On our way back to Rio del Mar we walked out to the end of the pier leading to the Cement Ship (that is no longer accessible to the public). As we stood at the end of the pier I noticed that it swayed slightly as if enduring a continuous earthquake. Since winds were calm I assumed it was the surf beating against its support pillars that moved the pier.
|Cumulative climbing:||1990 feet|
Mount Madonna County Park, August 11, 2013 - Ron Bobb and I hiked a loop through Mount Madonna County Park.
We started from the Sprig Recreation Area trailhead on CA152 by climbing the Sprig Lake Trail. The trail climbed steeply up a hillside covered by redwood forest and then traversed along the edge of the campgrounds for the next mile until we reached Pole Line Road.
We crossed Pole Line Road and continued on the Sprig Lake Trail to the Bayview Trail. We turned right and continued up through a cool redwood forest, stopping for several minutes at a particularly nice glade before turning right on the Redwood Trail.
The Redwood Trail took us back across Pole Line Road to the Rock Springs Trail that we climbed up to the Hilltop picnic area near the enclosure holding the White Fallow Deer.
We stopped to examine a living male specimen of these unusual white deer and then took an extended break to eat lunch at a nice picnic table positioned under one of the few redwood trees growing in the large meadow nearby.
After lunch we hiked over to the Henry Miller Summer House to examine its ruins. The one wall left standing exhibited a curious contrast of building style and quality: the left side of the wall showed careful detailed stonework, but the right side appeared rough and uneven as if hastily thrown up or of having experienced severe weathering and/or subsidence.
After examining the Miller House we started our descent to the Merry Go Round Trail. Shortly before we reached the latter I realized I had left my sticks leaning against the lone redwood shading our picnic table at lunch, so Ron and I hiked back up the hill to retreive them.
With my hiking sticks in hands we continued down the Merry Go Round Trail, transitioning abruptly from cool redwoods and tan oaks to the hotter climate of chamise, manzanita, madrone, and toyon. With the lifting of the forest canopy we enjoyed some views as we descended. Further down we ran across a texting man and dog lying under the shade of an oak tree.
We explored the out-and-back on the Old Mine Trail, discovering that the trail ended short of anything interesting at all. We figured the mine must have been inside the impenetrable thicket that marked the end of the trail. Off to our right we could see an interesting lake, but the area was fenced off with barbed wire, and at this point of the hike neither of us felt like crawling through the barbs to get a closer look.
We continued down the Merry Go Round Trail, first on the ridgetop, then in a cool canyon shaded by bays and oaks. The trail descended with a steepness greater than I expected given the altitude loss shown on the map. Eventually we found ourselves back at Sprig Recreation Area and were happy to find that the car we had parked in the sun was now in the shade.
|Cumulative climbing:||1640 feet|
San Lorenzo River, August 4, 2013 - David and Bill started near the northernmost crossing of the San Lorenzo River along CA9. We walked a short distance along the CA9 to Saratoga Toll Road where we discovered the road sign had been removed, although the post was still standing.
We hiked up the evenly-graded Toll Road as far as Beekhuis Road, where we turned right and headed down Beekhuis Road and the steep unmaintained trail that runs along its right-of-way below the PG&E power lines to the bank of the San Lorenzo River, where we stopped for an extended break for lunch and to enjoy the quietude of nature.
Only the distant sound of an airplane and an occasional noisy motorcycle on CA9 far above could be heard. Occasionally, I thought I heard other voices, but we saw no one. In fact, we didn't see anyone on the entire hike once we left CA9.
After lunch we crossed the river and continued on the unmaintained use trail that ran down the center of an old overgrown logging road. This trail gradually turned into a road that was less overgrown the further downstream we walked.
Along the way we noticed numbers on posts next to the trail, although it wasn't clear to what the numbers were intended to draw the visitor's attention, if anything. We thought they might be distance markers, but they were placed too frequently for hundredths of miles or kilometers.
We crossed the river again at a paved ford before rejoining the Toll Road and returning to the car parked alongside CA9 on the same path we had come earlier in the morning.
|Cumulative climbing:||1170 feet|
Stevens Canyon County Park, July 31, 2013 - Frank Paysen and I hiked a loop in Stevens Canyon County Park and Fremont Older Open Space Preserve.
We started on Stevens Creek Road near the southern end of the Reservoir and hiked up the Lookout Trail before crossing into Fremont Older Preserve. We then took the Vista Loop Trail and Fern Trail before heading down Coyote Ridge Trail to the bottom of the Dam.
Without stopping we hiked back up the Tony Look Trail, taking a slightly adventurous detour along the bank of the reservoir where we stopped for a short lunch. We continued up a narrow, steep ridge, and through thickets of chamise and oak on an overgrown use trail that had us crawling a short section on hands and knees before rejoining the Tony Look Trail that we took back to the car.
|Cumulative climbing:||1610 feet|
Butano State Park, June 23, 2013 - David and Bill Bushnell hiked a loop in Butano State Park. We started up the Little Butano Creek Trail, then climbed Goat Hill Trail to Olmo Trail that we climbed eastward before descending (mostly) on the Gazos Trail. We then took an out-and-back route down the Candelabra Trail to gaze upon the threatening spikes of the Candelabra Tree, like something out of a Harry Potter film, before returning to the car by way of Goat Hill Trail and Olmo Trail.
Travel from Boston to Home, June 18, 2013 - This is a small collection of photos I took while I was en-route home from a family reunion on Cape Cod.
Visiting Len, June 17, 2013 - On my way back from visiting family in Chatham, MA, I stopped for the afternoon at the Boston Museum of Science where Len, an old college friend of mine, works. We saw the Dead Sea Scrolls and a number of the permanent exhibits. I found the Mathematics room the most interesting and wished I had had more time to spend there and at the other exhibits, but alas, the museum closed at 1700 that day.
|Cumulative climbing:||40 feet|
Harbor Coves, June 16, 2013 - I walked around the point in the clockwise direction along the tide line. This time I had the company of family members: Janice, Camille, Lily, Ed, Natalie, Heather, Bob, Pam, and Pippin.
|Cumulative climbing:||40 feet|
Chatham Beach, June 15, 2013 - Laura and I walked to the beach to join Ed, Janice, Heather, and their families, who were already there. Then the two of us, Linda, and Ryanne walked down the beach for about a mile before returning the same way. I detoured to explore a driftwood monument that appeared to have been built at the high point of the sand dune separating the Atlantic Ocean from Morris Island.
|Cumulative climbing:||40 feet|
Harbor Coves, June 14, 2013 - I walked from Aunt Pam's house in Chatham along the tide line to the small beach that belongs to the local homeowner's association, then walked back to her house on the road.
Travel from Enfield, CT to Chatham, MA, June 13, 2013 - The second leg of my travel from home to a family reunion on Cape Cod was a drizzly half-day's drive through the Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachussetts countryside, taking neither highways nor toll roads, until I got impatient with traffic on US44 near Taunton.
Travel from Home to Enfield, CT, June 12, 2013 - I took a few photos on the first leg of travel from home enroute to a family reunion on Cape Cod. This first leg was from home to Enfield, CT where I spent the night at a clean but spartan Red Roof Inn.
|Cumulative climbing:||0 feet|
Palo Alto Baylands, June 9, 2013 - David and Bill Bushnell took a short walk on the levees at the Palo Alto Baylands. We started by visiting the windsurfer launch area, then walked out past the end of the Palo Alto Municipal Airport runways, watching a few planes take off and land in the gusty cross-winds, including one WWII restoration whose pilot gave us a good show by taking off fast and low. We finished by walking out the boardwalk to the observation deck at the edge of the marsh, where the Bay actually begins.
|Cumulative climbing:||2050 feet|
Portola State Park, June 1, 2013 - David and Bill Bushnell, Frank Paysen, and Bogdan Marian met on a warm day at the Park 'n' Ride at Page Mill Road and I-280 where we carpooled to the Tarwater Trailhead in Pescadero Creek County Park to hike a loop through the cool forest.
We started our hike by heading mostly downhill on the Upper Coyote Ridge Trail and then down Coyote Ridge Trail into Portola State Park, crossing Peters Creek and then hiking through the campground. Along the way we stopped many times to capture interesting scenes to photograph, although some photos would have looked better later in the day with a less-overhead sun.
We then took the park maintenance road south to its crossing of Pescadero Creek, detouring briefly on a footpath that went through a small old growth forest near the creek's banks.
After climbing the short hill up to Old Haul Road we crossed the road and continued up the Portola Trail, climbing roughly half-way up Butano Ridge. Along the way we stopped to admire a small flowing brook and waterfall. On the way down Butano Loop Trail we passed a pair of horseback riders who must have turned around not long after we passed them as we saw them again down at Pescadero Creek.
Because we had stopped many times Frank got ahead of us and scouted out a good place to take our lunch break by the edge of Pescadero Creek below the Bridge Trail Bailey bridge. We ate lunch while watching the water bugs create ripples on the still surface of the creek. We also spied a crayfish moving slowly along the bottom of the deepest section of the creek
While we were there the horseback riders returned, bringing their horses down to the creek to get water. The horses drank enthusiastically. One of them knelt in the cool water, much to the alarm of its rider.
After lunch we climbed up to the bridge, hiked across, and then turned right on Tarwater Trail. We climbed Tarwater Trail up through a moist redwood forest carpeted with oxalis before starting a gradual climb back to the trailhead. About a half-mile from the end we passed the enormous castle-like Tarwater Tree that also looks like a great organ high upon the wall of the forest cathedral.
As one approaches the Tarwater Tree from below, one enters a small redwood forest after walking through mostly madrone and fir. Then one comes upon the Tarwater Tree. But, above the Tarwater Tree the forest returns suddenly to madrone, fir, and oak.
|Cumulative climbing:||2290 feet|
Monument Peak, May 23, 2013 - We (David and Bill Bushnell) started from the Tularcitos Trailhead in Ed Levin County Park in Milpitas for a hike up Monument Peak. We took the standard trail route up, Tularcitos, Aqua Caliente, Monument Peak trail, and then took the Monument Peak Road, Aqua Caliente, and Tularcitos Trails down afterward.
Except for a few spots in the shade of the trees, the grass had all but gone completely brown. On the way up we encountered a tail without its squirrel, a cricket, and two black bulls lounging on the trail, leaving us no option but to encourage them gently to move so that we could proceed. We herded the beasts some distance down the trail before they bounded off the trail down the slope where the incline was more gradual. We didn't want to try passing them on the trail.
When we got to the summit area we explored the tall KICU-TV antenna and one of its massive guy-wire anchors. Then we hiked the road a couple tenths of a mile further to Monument Peak itself, where we stopped for summit photos (1, 2), and to enjoy lunch in the lee of some rocks. A cool breeze was blowing at about 20 knots over the summit.
Near the summit we investigated an alien-looking bell-shaped device anchored to the ridge. A thick cable attached to it led off toward one of the transmitter bunkers. I thought it might be an omnidirectional high-frequency antenna of some sort since most every other piece of equipment anchored to the ground in the area is an antenna or its support hardware.
From Monument Peak (2594ft) itself one can see most of the major peaks around the bay, especially to the south. San Jose and the Sierra Azul to the south were barely visible through the thick haze. On the same ridge looking north one can see Mt. Allison (2658ft), but Mission Peak (2517), the lowest named peak is hidden behind Mt. Allison.
An unnamed peak immediately to our north, "Peak 2600+", higher than Monument Peak, appears to have been leveled to allow construction of a radio transmitter that was never built or had been dismantled. I wondered why Monument Peak was named when Peak 2600+ would have had greater prominence before its leveling. We did not visit Peak 2600+ on this trip, but I did visit its summit on my last trip to the area in 2006.
After lunch we headed down the road, climbing over one gate that was locked closed at the Mission Peak Preserve/Ed Levin Park boundary, and stepping gingerly over a cattle grate with a bar spacing wide enough to trap the leg of a careless hiker. I can see now why the park encourages visitors to use the trail and not the road.
We took the road mainly for the change of scenery and to enjoy a more consistent and gradual down-grade. The trail had some very steep uphill sections.
The entire day we saw only five people on the trail: two hikers descending the final tenth of a mile as we were starting, two people in a car that had been visiting one of the remote transmitters on the mountain, and one man hiking up the road with his young high-strung Vizsla female that "woofed" and yipped at us as we stood passively on the trail talking with her owner.
At one of the shady stream-crossings we stopped to take a break and have a snack. As we sat on some logs near the crossing some cows with yearling calves came down the trail from the other direction looking for a drink from the creek. They weren't quite comfortable enough with our presence to take a drink, but one cow approched the creek closely and stared at us for a long time, its ears pricked forward. As we got up to leave, then walked up the trail, the beasts climbed up the slope to join others in the herd.
Overall it was a nice cool, breezy day for this hike that has almost no shade over its entire distance. Fortunately, several comfortable spots are available on the summit to sit and enjoy the view out of the wind.
|Cumulative climbing:||2410 feet|
Montara Mountain, May 11, 2013 - David and Bill Bushnell hiked to the summits of Montara Mountain from San Pedro Valley County Park in Pacifica.
Our hike started up the Trout Farm Loop Trail alongside Brooks Creek through a lush forest of eucalyptus, wild raspberry, fiddlehead fern, houndstongue, and other water-loving shrubs. In some places the forest was overrun with vines and other lush vegetation that reminded me of hiking in Hawaii, though about 10 deg. F cooler.
We turned left at Brooks Creek Trail and pressed on up to the top of the ridge where we joined the Montara Mountain Trail. On our way up Brooks Creek Trail we passed under some large manzanita that reminded me of the manzanita in Henry Coe State Park, and passing an open spot where we could see across the canyon a gap in the vegetation on the mountainside where Brooks Falls makes its appearance in wetter years.
When we got to the ridge top we found a nice bench standing at the junction, but it was occupied. We continued a short distance further and found an unoccupied bench where we stopped to enjoy the view of Pacifica.
After our rest we continued up the Montara Mountain trail as it zig-zagged at an easy grade up the surprisingly steep terrain. We passed a trail crew hard at work clearing overgrowth and improving drainage. It looked like hot dusty work as we were already above the fog layer, and here the temperature was well into the 80s F.
At Montara Mountain Road we turned left and continued up to the summit area. Each time we rounded a false summit we could see the road climb further. Sun beat down on the rocky road, turning it into a solar oven, or so it felt.
We headed directly for the North Peak, the highest of the summits on the ridge, standing at 1898 feet. We were only partially successful finding a shady spot to sit and enjoy our lunches and the view. The best we could do was to shelter under a few threadbare branches of a moss-covered shrub while flies swarmed us.
As is often the case, the actual summit of a mountain can have calm air while the nearby slopes get wind. Although not much of a breeze had been blowing, what little breeze there was died completely at the summit.
Still, we enjoyed the views to the north and east, especially. The view to the south and west was partially blocked by the antenna farm at the summit.
On our way down, we explored a use trail that led down the south slope of the peak toward South Peak, the southernmost summit of the mountain. At first the use trail was easy to follow, if steep and slippery with gravel in places. David waited for me in the hot sun at the top of one such steep pitch while I explored the faint trail as it pushed through waist-high vegetation beneath an electric line, the trail having originally been used by PG&E to service the line.
I saw that I'd have to bushwhack through some juicy poison oak to continue. I thought briefly of continuing without David and asking him to wait for me, but there was no comfortable place for him to sit in the shade. In fact there was very little shade to be had anywhere in the summit area. To avoid the tedium of standing in the hot sun he would probably try to follow me down the steep slippery section of trail and might injure himself. So I chose to turn back and leave this bit of exploration for another trip, perhaps when the poison oak was less juicy I could forge a path through and gain the summit of South Peak.
Applying a dose of moderate effort and willpower we climbed back up to the road. Then we detoured up Middle Peak where we found a large peace sign formed by large stones. I took a panorama shot to the northeast and contacted Frank again by radio where I had a clear shot to the repeater on Mt. Allison above Fremont.
After exploring Middle Peak we headed over to the westernmost summit of Montara Mountain unimaginatively and redundantly called "Peak Mountain". The use trail to Peak Mountain was easy to follow. I stopped to examine a shallow cave on its northeast face, then pressed on up to its summit. David followed a few minutes later when I relayed back to him that climbing up was worth the effort.
The view from Peak Mountain was more satisfying than the other peaks we reached, mostly because this peak had no antenna farms. We had unobstructed views north, west and south. Only our view to the east was obscured slightly by the higher Middle and North Peaks. It was also while we stood atop Peak Mountain that the weather cooled slightly but significantly. A breath of cooler air could be felt, and it was a welcome relief from the hot dry and still desert-like air and unrelenting sun we had experienced for the last couple of hours on the mountain.
After taking more photos we hiked back to the road and descended to the trailhead, stopping again at the bench at which we had rested on our ascent. We then took Montara Mountain Trail the rest of the way down, winding our way through a thick grove of eucalyptus near the bottom. By the time we arrived back at the trailhead, fog was blowing in over Linda Mar.
|Cumulative climbing:||2270 feet|
Eagle Rock and Little Basin, May 1, 2013 - David and Bill Bushnell spent the better part of a day exploring the newest addition to Big Basin Redwoods State Park, the area around Eagle Rock and Little Basin.
In the summer of 1988 while I was a student at UCSC I made my first trip up to the then-staffed USFS lookout tower at Eagle Rock, commanding a view over all of Big Basin Redwoods State Park from the northwestern end of Ben Lomond Ridge. On that occasion I had ridden the short distance in from Empire Grade Road near the Lockheed Santa Cruz Facility. Later in 1992 I rode up Eagle Rock Road from Little Basin. But, I hadn't been back to this spot since then.
Our hike started at the bottom of the Eagle Rock Trail at the small turnout near the Little Basin entrance sign. The trail started steeply uphill, then descended to cross a creek before climbing gradually through a quiet forest of mostly tanoak with an occasional redwood or douglas fir. After we had hiked about half the distance from the car the trail climbed steeply up the remaining hill, crossed a rickety arch bridge, and passed a couple of nice view spots, the second of which was 0.15 miles off the trail but worth the extra distance and climbing as it offered a bench in the shade and a sweeping view to the north and east.
After enjoying this second view spot for several minutes while eating lunch we pressed on up to the top of the ridge where the trail ends at a road. We turned left and continued up to the old, abandoned, and now vandalized lookout tower, long since left to decay.
Due to the tower's proximity to Empire Grade Road, it has attracted vandals, graffiti artists, and partiers leaving broken beer bottles strewn about its interior. We poked around the tower, went inside and up to the middle level. There as no way to reach the top level. The last flight of stairs appeared to have been on the outside of the tower and had been removed. I'm not sure the upper walkway around the tower would have been safe to stand upon in any case.
Then, after a quick visit to the nearby outhouse, we climbed to the south summit, Eagle Rock itself, a short distance from the lower north summit on which the tower had been constructed.
While David enjoyed the sweeping view from this surprisingly precipitous perch--the east side of the rock being a nearly sheer drop of 100 feet or more--, I updated Frank Paysen by radio on our progress. From Eagle Rock I was able to reach many nearby repeaters and a few in the east and north bay area. My signal must have been able to diffract over the tops of the mountain ridges to the north.
Since the summit of Eagle Rock offers no shade and since the day was warm, we did not linger for too long. Our route down from Eagle Rock took the road toward Empire Grade. But, before we reached Empire Grade Road we turned right on Eagle Rock Road and descended a wide, well-graded and apparently (judging by the wear and tear) little used road that descended down to Little Basin. It was this road I rode up on my bike in 1992.
When we got to Little Basin we stopped near the headwaters of Scott Creek for a short snack break and then hiked the short Tanbark Loop Trail, taking the Pig Ridge Cutoff, around Little Basin. We stopped to catch the view of Buzzard's Roost and the Eagle Rock Lookout in the distance and once again to enjoy a snack before heading down into Little Basin and back out its main access road to the waiting car and the comfort of its upholstered seats.
Overall, this was an excellent hike in a quiet corner of the mountains. The only downside was the long drive from home. I plan to return again this year and include a hike to Buzzard's Roost.
|Cumulative climbing:||30 feet|
Baylands Walk with the Dogs, April 19, 2013 - David and Bill Bushnell took a short walk in the Palo Alto Baylands with Laura's dogs, Kumba and Jack.
Kumba had walked many times at the baylands with David and was accustomed to enjoying the entire rear seat of the car. Today with Jack taking half the seat, Kumba was not happy.
We hiked about a mile and a half out the trail alongside the bay, taking the footpaths near the water to allow the dogs to sniff, before turning back and returning to the car.
|Cumulative climbing:||2440 feet|
Windy Hill Open Space Preserve, April 13, 2013 - Bogdan Marian, recovering from a class 3 separation in his right shoulder after suffering an unfortunate spill from his bike, and his girlfriend, Pauline Henry, joined us (Bill and David Bushnell) at Alpine Road and Willowbrook Road for a hike in Windy Hill Open Space Preserve.
We started on the Hamms Gulch Trail, then continued alongside Corte Madera Creek on the Eagle Trail until we reached Razorback Ridge Trail. We climbed the Razorback Ridge Trail for the next hour, rising into cooler and windier conditions.
The sound of the wind hissing through the fir trees was a pleasant sound that evoked clean mountain air. We climbed in short sleeves, our exercise only just enough to keep us comfortably warm as the air was cool with a touch of dampness.
I had forgotten how many switchbacks we had to climb and near the top twice incorrectly predicted our imminent arrival at the junction with the Lost Trail. Near the top the trail passes through several thick sections of western houndstongue (Cynoglossum occidentale) that were not as spectacularly blooming as they had been last year.
After taking a short break while I added a pad to my heel and contacted Frank Paysen by radio who was sitting at home recovering from an illness but would have joined us if he had been well, we continued north along the Lost Trail.
We passed the junction with Hamms Gulch Trail and continued up to the summits of Windy Hill (1905 and 1920+ ft) where the wind was slightly less strong than a short distance down the slope.
After taking a few photos and doing another radio check with Frank to update him on our progress (including a direct contact on VHF between our two handhelds at 0.5 watts--Frank was near downtown San Jose, about 15 miles distant) we headed down the Spring Ridge Trail on the direct path back to the starting point.
|Cumulative climbing:||1810 feet|
Los Trancos Trail, April 5, 2013 - David and Bill Bushnell hiked the Los Trancos Trail, short loop, clockwise. We started with most of the climbing, then descended alongside Los Trancos Creek before returning over the lower ridge and down the Steep Hollow Trail to the trailhead at Oak Glen picnic area.
Although we brought Microspikes for our shoes, we did not need them. The use trail over the recent slide had been repaired a few days earlier. Steps were carved into the earth. These will last until the next wetter-than-normal season or earthquake. Still, we did not complain this time.
Weather was slightly cooler than last week, but still warm enough to hike in short sleeves, although we did not stop to rest anywhere along the way, except for a short pause at the summit to enjoy the view in the clear air and interesting clouds. A steady cool wind was blowing at the top of Trapper's Ridge, but no where else.
After we got home we both discovered one tick on each of our bodies. Unlike most other trails that get more traffic, the Los Trancos Trail is somewhat overgrown in places, creating opportunities for ticks to latch onto hikers passing through. Fortunately, neither of us was bitten.
|Cumulative climbing:||2120 feet|
Los Trancos Trail, March 30, 2013 - David and Bill Bushnell hiked the short version of the Los Trancos Trail loop at Foothills Park. The short version takes the Steep Hollow Trail from the Oak Glen area rather than the Los Trancos Trail from across from the Park headquarters building.
In spite of the light rains this winter everything was green and lush, though not as thickly lush as it normally is. Grass was less than a foot high in most places, and wildflowers were much more sparse than in a usual year.
The weather was warm and humid, uncharacteristically so for California. In fact it felt more like the weather we had last October in Hawaii.
Our only adventure was a bit of Class 2 scrambling along Los Trancos Creek where the trail had slid out, probably last November or December when most of our rain fell. I can't recall the last time we had to do a scramble on this trail.
The bypass was steep enough to require steps for easy travel. I managed to scramble up with some effort--the footholds were poor and the handholds tiny. David had trouble. There was some risk of slipping down the big slope into the creek, a slide that could end with something broken, so he backed off. I returned down the bypass and the two of us found a detour along the creekbed that both of us could manage under our own power.
The bypass was easier in the downhill direction, so if I were hiking the loop clockwise I'd stay on the trail. Later near the end of our hike David had a word with a ranger about the trail. The ranger told us he was planning to hike out there during the week to work on it.
Overall we had a good time with more adventure than we had bargained for on this normally quiet, moderately easy hike.
|Cumulative climbing:||1560 feet|
Almaden Quicksilver County Park, March 19, 2013 - Frank Paysen, Gino Cetani, and Bill Bushnell hiked a loop from the McAbee Creek trailhead. We hiked up the Senador Mine Trail and continued alongside Guadalupe Creek on the Guadalupe Trail. Then we climbed up to the dam at Guadalupe Reservoir and walked across the top of the dam, looking for an easy access to Hicks Road.
A path to Hicks Road looked possible, but the obvious route would require a dry spillway and a walk or crawl down the face of the dam that had been painted with glossy paint, presumably to cover graffiti. something we might hazard if we were more desperate to get across. We turned back and continued our hike up Guadalupe Trail to Mine Hill Trail.
After further climbing I started to feel the bonk coming on, but I figured we'd reach a nice picnic table or bench at Providencia Pond, so I soldiered on. A short distance further we turned off the inclined Mine Hill Trail and took the level Providencia Trail and then descended Enriquita Trail to Providencia Pond where no picnic table was to be found even though a symbol for one was indicated on the park map.
Frank wanted to explore to the end of Enriquita Trail, but by that point I was really starting to bonk, so I picked a spot in the shade where a stream running down the trail had carved a now dry trench deep enough to offer a place to sit comfortably. I ate a sandwich and an energy bar while Gino and Frank pressed on to the bitter end where Frank reported some old structures and other artifacts of minor interest. By the time they returned to where I had stopped to eat, I had finished eating and was catching up on email.
On the hike back up past Providencia Pond and continuing up Providencia Trail to Mine Hill Trail I felt much better. In fact, it was like night and day. Once we got back onto Mine Hill Trail we headed back downhill toward Guadalupe Reservoir where we could see and hear a large flock of seagulls busy squawking on the surface of the water.
At Guadalupe Trail we veered right and continued down Mine Hill Trail, then steeply down Cinnabar Trail to New Almaden Trail that we took through the cool forest all the way back to Senador Trail and then downhill, back to the trailhead.
Overall it was a good hike with greater distance than I had expected, but I felt less sore at the end than I had felt after last week's hike.
Thanks, Frank, for organizing this outing.
|Cumulative climbing:||1670 feet|
Almaden Quicksilver County Park, March 13, 2013 - Frank Paysen, Gino Cetani, and Bill Bushnell met at the Mockingbird Hill entrance of Almaden Quicksilver County Park for a hike of about seven miles in length.
As Frank who was the most familiar with the park and its trails created the route. We climbed the steep Hacienda Trail, then zig-zagged up Mine Hill on the Randol, Day Tunnel, Great Eastern, April, and Mine Hill Trails.
When we got to the top of the ridge we headed east on the Castillero Trail, detouring to climb to the summit of Mine Hill where we ate lunch and took more photos, then descended through English Camp and down the Mine Trail and back to the trailhead the way we had come.
Weather was warm but not too hot. Everything was still green and as lush as could be expected given the paltry amount of rain we've had so far this year.
|Cumulative climbing:||980 feet|
Fremont Older Open Space, March 1, 2013 - Frank and I hiked two short circuits in Fremont Older Open Space. Since I wanted to hike a shorter distance than Frank, I parked at the Regnart Road trailhead while Frank started at Stevens Creek Reservoir.
We kept in touch by two-way radio until we met on Hayfield Trail. We then proceeded to the summit of Hunter's Point, then hiked the Seven Springs Loop Trail, our circuit around the northern part of Fremont Older.
Once back at Hayfield Trail we traversed across to the southern section and took Toyon and Bayview Trails. Frank wanted extra distance so he took a longer loop on Toyon and Vista Loop Trails while I headed straight for the summit of Maisie's Peak and found a place to sit to enjoy the view. The summit would be more inviting if a bench were available.
Once Frank arrived at the peak we began the hike back to our respective trailheads.
This was a short hike of about the right length for me as I haven't hiked since November. Weather was warm and slightly humid.
|Cumulative climbing:||40 feet|
Low-Tide Beach Walk, January 12, 2013 - In what has become an annual tradition, Alice Mestemacher hosts a walk on the beach for friends and family. A day on which a super-low tide occurs is chosen, and the route starts at Rio Del Mar Beach and goes north across Seacliff and New Brighton Beaches, then beneath the cliffs of Capitola to the center of town where we stop briefly before turning around and hiking back the other way. Usually the last 1/4 of the hike is in darkness. This time I brought my headlamp, although we could have managed without it.
Today we enjoyed the company of Alice Mestemacher, Ron Bobb, David Bushnell, Laura Bushnell, Bill Bushnell, Michael Thompson, John, Karen, Judy, Anna, Glenn, Jules, and for part of the walk, Einar, Anne, and Aurora.
All photos were taken hand-held except for the last shot of the moon where the camera was placed on a fixed object.
Jack Visits, January 2013 - I took care of Jack, Laura's 6-month old puppy (ridge-less) Ridgeback for four days. Aside from sleeping, eating, and pooping, Jack played with his toys, took walks, and especially enjoyed playing with brooms.
I discovered his interest in brooms when I was trying to sweep some debris off the driveway with the push broom. Jack wouldn't stay away and kept attacking the business end. I think the motion and the hissing sound of the broom being swept across the pavement must have activated his chase instinct.
So that the my push broom wouldn't get trashed from his biting and gnawing, I found an old whisk broom that had been sitting in my closet and let him play with that.
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