The Thursday Picture – TBT Alpine Pond

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Today’s Thursday Picture was taken about a year ago.

This is a view of Alpine Pond, which is adjacent to the Daniels Nature Center in the Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve.  This preserve is one of my favorite places to hike in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

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The views west from the Ipiwa Trail, which is part of the Bay Area Ridge Trail, are fantastic.  With over 10 miles of trails, from easy to challenging, the Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve is a good place for every age group to enjoy some time outside.

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View of Horseshoe Lake from the Sunny Jim Trail.

After parking in the large gravel parking lot at the main entrance off of Skyline Boulevard, take the Sunny Jim Trail to the connection with the Ipiwa Trail.  Enjoy the great views of the Santa Cruz Mountains while you follow the trail to the Alpine Pond.  Loop around the pond and head back the way you hiked in to the preserve.  This makes a nice 4 mile loop with a total of 600 feet in elevation gain.

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Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve is only about a 45 minute drive from California’s Oldest Public University, San Jose State University, which is located in the heart of downtown San Jose.

 

So, where are you hiking this weekend?

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

 

 

The Thursday Picture: Sun on the Grinder

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Today’s Thursday Picture was taken on the Priest Rock Trail in the Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve.  I like this shot of the sun as it is filtered by this large oak.  Ironically, it was taken in one of the few spots on this trail that has some shade.

The Priest Rock Trail is a challenging hike from the trailhead near Lexington Reservoir up past the Limekiln Trail junction.  As I was stopping for a water break, a mountain biker passed me…pushing his bike up the hill.  This particular section of trail was in the sun for 2 miles with very little shade.  The mountain biker just said to me, “Welcome to the Grinder.”

I eventually turned around and took the Limekiln Trail on the way down.  My modified loop was 6.1 miles with over 1,200 feet of total elevation gain.  I know that it is no Mission Peak hike…but, the Grinder could go on the list of hikes that would help you train for Half Dome.  If you want to take on the Grinder, I suggest you try it in the Fall or Spring.  This is a tough summer hike.

So, where are you hiking this weekend?

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

 

 

The Thursday Picture – “Going to the Woods is Going Home”

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“Going to the Woods is Going Home” – John Muir

Today’s Thursday Picture was taken on a 7 mile loop hike that I did on Memorial Day.  My 24th hike of the 52 Hike Challenge started out at Stevens Creek County Park, looped up the Coyote Ridge Trail to Fremont Older Open Space Preserve, and then returned via the Tony Look Trail that winds past the Stevens Creek Reservoir through…Stevens Creek County Park.  I would estimate that half of this hike is exposed to the sun.  So, spots like this wonderful, shady section of trail really helped cool me down!

How close is Stevens Creek County Park to San Jose State?

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It’s an easy 45-50 minute drive from California’s First Public University in downtown San Jose to Stevens Creek County Park!

Spartan Note: Silicon Valley companies hire more Engineering Graduates from San Jose State University than any other university in the United States!

 

So, where are you hiking this weekend?

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

 

 

 

The Thursday Picture – Lines and Shapes

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Today’s Thursday Picture was taken in San Mateo County near the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District’s La Honda Creek Open Space.

 

I work in Engineering and Construction.  In this world, straight lines represent order.  Engineers love order.  I know that I do.  I know that we all seem to be pretty good with numbers, and most of us are common-sense types of people.  But, sometimes, it drives me nuts.

For example, I will be out hiking, and catch myself observing that a trail dip isn’t at quite the right angle…or, I wonder why this cattle fence is angled the way it is…

Luckily, when I should be out enjoying myself in the wonders of the natural world, my “left brain” will kick in and shut down my “engineer brain.”

Most of the time.  LOL

Get out on the trail!  The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District has some fantastic trails for you to go outside and breathe.

Where are you hiking this weekend?

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Thursday Picture – Color on the Trail

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Today’s Thursday Picture is of Aqualegia elengantula commonly known as Columbine.

CORRECTION:  Thanks to some sharp eyed readers who are “in the know” about flowers, I believe that the correct name of this flower is a Aquilegia formosa !  Thank you Cindy!  Please visit Cindy’s great blog, “Dipper Ranch.”  Cindy always has something interesting to read!

I took this shot on the Zinfandel Trail at the Picchetti Ranch Open Space Preserve in Cupertino, California.

Where is Picchetti Ranch OSP?  I am going to try something new starting with this post.  Because San Jose State University is centrally located in downtown San Jose, I will be referencing all of my hikes with a Google map that shows a distance from SJSU to that location.  I’m going to call this section,

“How far from San Jose State?”

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Picchetti Ranch OSP is only a short 30 minute drive from San Jose State Universtiy and downtown San Jose.

So, where are you hiking this weekend?

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

 

The Weekly Photo Challenge: Future

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The Weekly Photo Challenge: Future

I took this picture this week while on a field visit to some projects we are working on to expand access to the Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve.  The Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve is part of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District which, along with the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority , was created by the smart taxpayers living down there in that valley we are viewing from this trail lookout.  That’s not just any beautiful green valley.  In fact, you are looking at the southern half of the world famous Silicon Valley.  Yes, the home of Apple, Google, Facebook, Cisco Systems, Adobe, and thousand of other big and small companies that are working on the future of networking, biotech, web, space exploration, aviation, etc.

If you look really hard…and, zoom in just a bit…You will see the main campus of California’s oldest public university – San Jose State University.

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San Jose State University’s Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering  is regularly ranked among the top five Engineering programs in the country.  It should be no surprise that San Jose State University supplies more Engineers to Silicon Valley firms than any other university in the world.  What may surprise you is that the Sierra Azul OSP is located only about 15 miles from San Jose State University and downtown San Jose.

So, thinking about the future, in the valley where people work on the future everyday, the smart taxpayers of Silicon Valley have decided to set aside vast amounts of the surrounding mountains for future generations to enjoy.

Where are you hiking this weekend?

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

 

 

 

The Thursday Picture – Mule Ears

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Today’s Thursday Picture is of Wiethia Helenioides commonly known as Gray Mule Ears.

I came across this large yellow flower while hiking at Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District’s La Honda Creek Open Space Preserve.

Here’s another shot of the Gray Mule Ears plant:

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I’ve spent a busy week in Southern California “hiking” around several college campuses on tours with my wife and daughter.  It is an exciting time in our family as our daughter prepares to go off to college next year!

Some of our daughter’s favorite campus tours were at Loyola MarymountPepperdine, UCLA and UC Irvine .  She is looking to study Biology.  I am looking forward to hiking this weekend to get some good shots of more wildflowers in the Santa Cruz Mountains.  Although, I can see that in addition to wildflowers, we will be needing to search for scholarships! 🙂

Where are you hiking this weekend?

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