2017 – The Big 65

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It is fitting that I begin with the end in mind.  This is a shot from hike number 65 of 2017.  I’ve never hiked this much in my life…or, taken as many pictures.  This shot was taken at the high point of the Folger Ranch Loop Trail in the newly opened La Honda Creek Open Space Preserve in the mountains of San Mateo County.

My longest hike:  La Honda Creek Open Space Preserve – I hiked the Harrington Creek/Folger Ranch Loop for a total of 9.1 miles!

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This shot is taken from the top of the long climb up the Harrington Creek Trail to the upper pond.  I waited at the top for about 12 hikers who were behind me.  One of them slowly passed me at the top and, after stopping to suck in some air, coughed out, “that’s a grinder!”  So, there you go, my new name for this section of the trail is, “The Grinder.”

Greatest total elevation gain: Deer Springs Trail to Suicide Rock in the San Bernardino National Forest = 1,928 Feet!

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The view from Suicide Rock looking south west.IMG_1421.jpgHere I am dangling my feet over the edge….I’m surprised that the picture isn’t blurry!  LOL!

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Hiking amongst giants!  Muir Woods National Monument

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Best spot to stop and watch hawks soaring above a valley:  Sierra Vista Trail, Sierra Vista Open Space

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I nailed my personal challenges this year:

  1. I completed Santa Clara County Parks “Magnificent Seven Challenge” at the John Nicholas Trail, Sanborn County Park, Santa Clara County Parks (above).

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2) I also completed the 52 Hike Challenge on the spectacular Mt. Umunhum trail, which is part of the Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve.

Finally, I became a member of the Volunteer Trail Patrol for the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space Preserve.  I really enjoy meeting and helping hikers, bikers, and equestrians while I’m on the trail.  I plan on keeping up this “calling” in 2018!

Phew!  2017 was quite a year for me on the trail.

I completed 65 hikes that totaled 261.6 miles.  The total elevation gain for all 65 hikes was 32,997 feet.  My average hike was just over 4 miles.

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So, what’s in store for 2018?  I would definitely like to improve my iPhone and SLR photography.  So, look out for more pictures to be posted this year.

I also plan on going after the 52 Hike Challenge and Magnificent Seven hike challenges again.  What are the challenges you are going to take on this year?  Any suggestions for me?

I’ve also signed up to run my first Spartan Race this upcoming March!  This will be my first OCR race!  I haven’t done a pull up in 20+ years…so, training for this race should be….interesting!

As always, if you’re looking for me, I’m over the hill.

2016 – By the Numbers

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So…what does my record of 52 hikes look like?  Hike 52 looked a lot like one of my favorite places to hike, Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve (above).

I completed 52 hikes.

Longest Hike:  Pinnacles National Park = 9.5 Miles

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Greatest total elevation gain:  Mission Peak, East Bay Regional Parks = 2,047 feet!

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Talles Trees:  Big Basin Redwoods State Park 

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Best spot to hike along a creek on a cloudy day: Uvas Canyon County Park

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That’s our youngest daughter Casie…picking up the pace!

I completed 52 hikes that totaled 254.2 miles.  The total elevation gain for all 52 hikes was 33,782 feet.  My average hike was just over 5 miles.

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Phew!

What to do for 2017?  Well, I do know that I am going to take up the Pix In Parks challenge and hike the “magnificent 7.”  I’m also going to try to take some longer hikes…increase my mileage.  Stay tuned!

As always, 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 – I Like Big Rocks

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I like big rocks and I can not lie,

You other hikers can not deny…

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Because big rocks force me to be spry…

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Yo, some of ‘dem make me feel like I’m going to fly…

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Big Kahuna Likes BIG ROCKS

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All of these snaps were taken at Pinnacles National Park in Central California.  I tried to do my best “Kanye Scowl.”  Unfortunately…I had so much fun hiking around those big rocks…that, I couldn’t help but smile!

How close is Pinnacles National Park to San Jose State?

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It’s 95 miles from California’s first Public University to the West Gate of Pinnacles National Park!

So, where are you hiking this weekend?

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

 

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.

 

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.