Climbing Kamet in the Himalayas


2015 was a big year for me hiking.  No, I didn’t actually climb Kamet in the Himalayas.  However, the total elevation gain from all of my hikes did add up to 25,407 feet!  Kamet, pictured here, rises up to 24,446 feet.  Kamet’s elevation is the closest that I could find to the total elevation I gained while hiking over the year.

Of course, I didn’t need any oxygen on any of my hikes!  So, how did I do in achieving my hiking and photography goals for 2015?  As a reminder, here were my goals posted last year at about this time:

For 2015, I will hike at least 20 times for a total of 120 miles and complete at least 20 “training” hikes around my neighborhood at the base of the Sierra Azul Mountains here in Northern California.  I will also venture further out into the East Bay and up the San Francisco Peninsula to discover more trails, take more pictures, and write more about my adventures.  Finally, I would also like to hike in any OSP of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (MROSD) that I have not yet visited and explore more trails in the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority lands!

My year started out in one of the Open Space Preserves (OSP) that I have not visited:  Thornewood OSP in the Santa Cruz Mountains above the Town of Woodside.  I’ve now hiked in nearly every preserve of the MROSD.  You can tell this was my first hike because I have very cleverly provided a clue…


I did fairly well on my goals.  I actually went on a total of 20 “Regional Hikes” for a total of 105 miles and 39 “Training Hikes” for a total of 107 miles.  My Regional Hikes took place in the parks and open spaces around California that I visited.  As you can see, I’m still working on my outdoor photography skills.  I’m getting better at composition…but, light still gives me trouble sometimes!  Typical of my Regional Hikes was my 3rd hike (7.3 miles/1,089 feet elev. gain) at Russian Ridge OSP :


My 7th hike (3.9 miles/16 feet elev. gain) along the San Francisco Bay at Ravenswood OSP at Cooley Landing was my hike with the smallest elevation gain:


My 9th hike (8.6 miles/2,500 feet elev. gain) took me to the top of Tahquitz Peak in our San Bernardino National Forest .  This was my hike with the greatest elevation gain.  The hike was challenging, but the views from high up in the Sierra Mountains were spectacular:


In fact, like 2014, I hiked in some beautiful places and was able to spend a lot of time working on my outdoor photography skills.  Here are just a handful of my favorite shots of 2015:


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Unfortunately, one goal that I didn’t accomplish was to hike in the East Bay Regional Parks.  This will be a goal that I will carry over to 2016!

So, where will I go in 2016? I’d like to explore even more of the great trails at the Mid Peninsula Regional Open Space District, the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority, the Santa Clara County Parks, the California State Parks, and the National Parks here in California.  To help ease my “engineering brain” which compels me to assign numbers to my hikes, I’ve signed up for the 52 Hike Challenge.

I do know that whether the trail is flat…or, I’m squeezing by a railing on a trail up in the sky, DSC_6432

I will be having fun challenging myself while I explore California!


“I only went out for a walk…, for going out, I found, was really going in.”- John Muir



Thanks for visiting my hiking / photography blog!

– Dale


As always…

If you’re looking for me, I’m over the hill.



Weekly Photo Challenge: Gathering of Fungi


The Weekly Photo Challenge: Gathering

I came across this cool looking gathering of parchment fungi in the Santa Cruz Mountains while hiking around looking for a water line on a rainy day.

Our group was hiking down a very wet and muddy trail when this caught my eye.  I hit the brakes on my Keen’s and slipped and mud-skied to the side of the trail to get this shot.  Disclaimer: No old hiker/photographers were injured during the taking of this shot.

I didn’t have my Nikon with me today.  Luckily, I always have my iPhone 6 with me…and, with it comes a pretty decent camera!  I’ve taken so many shots up in the mountains with my iPhone 6.  Although my Nikon DSLR is a much better camera and takes incredible pictures, I always have my iPhone 6 with me.

The best camera is the one that you have with you to get the shot.

Where are you hiking this holiday weekend?

If you’re looking for me, I’m over the hill.






The Weekly Photo Challenge: Trio

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Trio.”

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I took this picture at the Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve that is part of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District.  This bridge is located just east of the Mindego Gateway staging area in the western part of the preserve.

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This bridge is part of the Ancient Oaks Trail which winds through some native oaks on the western side of Russian Ridge OSP.  Located largely in the mountains and foothills of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties above San Jose/Silicon Valley, the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District provides 62,000 acres of open space, like Russian Ridge OSP, open to hiking, biking, and equestrian uses.  If you’re either living in the Bay Area or just visiting, and want to enjoy the outdoors, check out the trails of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District.

So, where are you hiking this weekend?

If you’re looking for me, I’m over the hill.

52 Hike Challenge


I’ve been meaning to sign up for the 52 Hike Challenge for many months.  I enjoy hiking, I have a hiking/outdoor photography blog, and I like to challenge myself.  I also consider myself strongly influenced by my left brain genes.  Analytical.  Logical.  Objective.

My left brain compels me to create a spreadsheet where I log all of my hikes for the year.  I log the date, the location, the miles hiked, and the total elevation gain.

As I always do, I logged in my hike up Harwood Hill in the Sierra Azul just south of my neighborhood.  When checking the totals, I realized that I hiked my 52nd hike for 2015…today.


I guess that it is time to head up the trail again starting tomorrow…

Where are you hiking this weekend?   Can you guess at what National Park this picture was taken?

If you’re looking for me, I’m over the hill.

The Thursday Picture – Southern Sierra View


Today’s Thursday Picture was taken from the Tahquitz Peak trail. The views from this trail at about 8,000 feet are fantastic.


Located in the San Bernardino National Forest and the San Jacinto Wilderness, I took the Devil’s Slide trail from Humber Park up to the Saddle Junction.  From the Saddle Junction, turn south along the Pacific Coast Trail for about 1 1/2 miles.  The trail to the USFS Fire Lookout on the top of Tahquitz Peak is another 1/2 mile up (about an 800 foot climb) where you will be rewarded with a panoramic view of Southern California.



On this day, from the USFS Fire Lookout, I was able to see the top of Catalina Island down to Palomar Observatory in San Diego!

Because this hike is located in a wilderness area, a USFS Wilderness Permit and an Adventure Pass are required.  Both of these can be picked up at the Idyllwild Ranger Station. One of my favorite hikes in the Southern Sierras!

So, where are you hiking this weekend?

If you’re looking for me, I’m over the hill.

The Thursday Picture – Bermuda Buttercup


Today’s Thursday Picture was taken on Hike Number 2 this year at St. Joseph’s Hill Open Space Preserve.  The Oxalis Pes-Caprae is a non-native species that made it’s way to California sometime in the past.  Pretty flower that is listed as an invasive plant.  Think of them as “flower gangs” messing up the neighborhood.  I’m always tempted to grab some of these and pull ’em out of the ground.  Of course, I never do…I guess that I will have to volunteer at one of Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District’s “get rid of non invasive plants workdays!”

Where are you hiking this weekend?

If you’re looking for me, I’m over the hill

“Speak softly and carry a big stick”

It happened in 1972.  My Boy Scout Troop, “Troop of the Eagle”, was camping at Pinnacles National Monument.  Yes, the same Pinnacles National Monument that was founded back in 1908 by this famous American:


It was late afternoon, and had been raining steadily since we arrived around lunch time. My patrol was getting hungry…to tell the truth, we were 11 and 12 year old boys that were always hungry. We had planned to cook something easy for dinner…our world famous aluminum spaghetti. We found that if we lined our cooking pot with aluminum foil, it helped us clean up faster! Of course, the spaghetti had a bit of a metallic taste…but, we were 11 and 12 year olds who were often ruled by our stomachs. Anyway, we were getting hungry but were unable to get a good fire started to boil water for the pasta. The rain was coming down like buckets, we were cold and wet, and there was mud everywhere.  Some of us had started to break into our pack of Oreos.  Desperate times…

Thankfully, some of the Dad’s who were chaperoning the trip came over and showed us how to start a fire in these very wet conditions. I flashed back to our wet camping trip and the miracle of fire when I saw this “how-to” on one of my favorite outdoor blogs, “Hiking the Trail.”  It looks like this was re-blogged from another great web site,

This is a fantastic graphic on how to start a fire (and get your aluminum spaghetti cooked up real quick!):


So, where are you hiking this weekend?

If you’re looking for me, I’m over the hill.