The Thursday Picture – Volcanic Color!

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Today’s Thursday Picture was taken on the Juniper Canyon Trail in Pinnacles National Park in California.  It was breezy all day…nice hiking weather!

With the wildflowers blooming, the native grasses and the volcanic rock, this scene repeated itself for most of the day along the trail.

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Coastal Larkspur – Delphinium decorum

Wildflowers were everywhere!

 

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Bush Poppy – Dendromecon rigida

Thanks to Calflora for the flower identification!

It looks like a busy weekend for me this upcoming weekend.  I don’t know if I will make it out on the trail.  Where are you hiking this weekend?

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

 

Climbing Kamet in the Himalayas

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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…

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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 :

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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:

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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:

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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

 

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Thanks for visiting my hiking / photography blog!

– Dale

 

As always…

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

 

 

The Thursday Picture – Stay on the Trail!

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Today’s Thursday Picture was taken at the Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve in the foothills above San Jose/Silicon Valley.

I hike a lot.  Before this year is over, I will have gone on over 50 hikes.  Many of my hikes are up Harwood Hill in the Sierra Azul Mountains above my neighborhood.  I’ve also hiked this year on trails in National Parks, California State Parks, Santa Clara County Parks, Santa Clara County Open Space Authority, and the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space Authority.  All of these agencies struggle with maintenance budgets that just barely allow them to maintain our trails and the natural environments around them.  When hikers venture off marked trails, like these clowns above, bad things can happen to our trails, parks, and open spaces:

  • Surface vegetation, animal habitat, fragile soils, and/or entire communities of life can be trampled beyond recovery.
  • Organic matter, such as leaves and even the soil itself, helps protect land from the erosive forces of rainfall and wind. Walking, biking, or riding your horse off trail disturbs the protective cover and can accelerate erosion. Do not use shortcuts.
  • Damage to surface vegetation can disrupt natural processes and may destroy a food source or otherwise harm wildlife habitat. Be careful where you step.
  • In some areas, disturbing rocks can leave a visible impact for hundreds of years. Lichen-coated and time-varnished rocks are irreplaceable. Leave rocks where they lay.

If you look closely at this picture, you can see how these hikers….uh….er….those look like black tailed deer.

Never mind.

Where are you hiking this weekend?  Wherever you go, Please do stay on the marked trails!  See the California State Parks information about staying on the trail above and here!

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

 

 

 

 

52 Hike Challenge

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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.

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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.

Celebrating The Wilderness at Yosemite

  
On the anniversary of the signing of the Wilderness Act, Dad and I were enjoying Yosemite National Park back in 2006.

   
 
What a great trip!  We explored all over the park.  One of my fondest memories was admiring the starry night up at Glacier Point.  I remember sitting with him and waiting for the space shuttle to fly over…setting up his telescope…the Milky Way…wow!

  
What a great man and Dad my Father was…

Although I miss him, I feel like he is with me whenever I am out hiking.

Where are you hiking this weekend?

If you’re looking for me, I’m over the hill…with my Dad.

“Going to the mountains is going home.” – John Muir

20130127 Looking West from Saratoga Gap Trail Hike No 1

20130127 Looking West from Saratoga Gap Trail Hike No 1

Today’s Thursday Picture is from my very first hike that I posted on this blog back in 2013.  As a new year’s resolution, and with a little help from my daughter Kelley, I started my hiking blog, “I’m Over the Hill” to record my hikes and post some pictures of my adventures on the trail.  It was also a way to force me to take the time to exercise by doing something I really enjoy…hiking.

I chose Castle Rock State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains of Northern California as the location of my first hike.  I wanted to go to the mountains.  I suppose, a little like John Muir, I’ve always felt at home in the mountains.  Although this guy looks a little cold (I was!) before setting out on the trail:

20130127 Castle Rock Hike No 1

20130127 Castle Rock Hike No 1

I’m posting pictures from my first hike because I hit a significant milestone today.

“I’m Over the Hill” attracted the 100th follower and also earned the 1,000th “like” today!

Now, I’d like to think that my brilliant prose and my incredible shots had something to do with these achievements.  But, the truth is, when I am able to hike in so many beautiful parks, wilderness areas, and open spaces, it is just not too hard to post something of interest to the outdoor and WordPress communities.

So, I would also like to thank the folks at WordPress’ Daily Post for helping me to polish my writing and photography.

I would also like to thank the following organizations for being great stewards of our land and for providing me with so many beautiful places to explore:

The National Park Service

The Forest Service

The Bureau of Land Management

The California State Parks

The Santa Clara County Parks

The Santa Clara County Open Space Authority

The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District

I’ve only just begun!  So, are you going home 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:

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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, Fix.com.

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


Source: Fix.com

So, where are you hiking this weekend?

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