52

Wow.  I did it.  52 hikes in one year.

Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve, one of my favorite places to hike, was just spectacular yesterday!


I pushed myself to get outside on many of my hikes.  But, once on the trail, I easily fell into my hiking rhythm.  I took some good pictures too.  Well, most of them were ok.  


Most of all, Given the choice, I opted to get outside.  


There is a lot of trail to explore…

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

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Look Up

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The Weekly Photo Challenge:  Look Up

I consider myself very lucky.  I love the outdoors and have so many great places to hike here in Northern California.  But, sometimes, I catch my “Engineer Brain” focusing on how many miles I’ve hiked, or which trail to explore on the map.

Occasionally, I catch myself doing too much of this…

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When, I should….well, look up.

I completed my 30th hike of the 52 Hike Challenge (see, there is my Engineer brain…LOL!) this past Sunday at California’s first state park.  Located only a little over an hour from San Jose/Silicon Valley, Big Basin Redwoods State Park is located in the heart of Redwood Country.  It is known for big trees.  Really big trees!

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Coast Redwoods make their home in many parts of the mountains that surround San Jose/Silicon Valley.  I find it to be interesting that a place that focuses so much on the future is surrounded by Coast Redwoods that are anchored in the past.  I think that it is a good balance.  If you are ever out this way on business or vacation, I strongly urge to take some time to visit Big Basin Redwoods State Park or, Henry Cowell Redwoods Sate Park and….look up.

So, where are you hiking this weekend?

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

 

 

The Thursday Picture – Feeling Young

 

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Today’s Thursday Picture was taken at Bear Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve in the Sanra Cruz Mountains above San Jose / Silicon Valley.  

These Coast Redwoods are probably well over 150 years old.  What is interesting is that I am writing this entry on my new Apple iPad 2 that my family gave to me for my 56th birthday.  I love it….although, I am going to have to get used to typing on a screen and not a keyboard.  I can’t help but feel young when hiking through one  of California’s forests!  So, I guess this kid will just have to keep learning new things…. Like typing on my iPad screen!

Any suggestions on what sort of cover I should get to protect my iPad2 while I’m out hiking?  I would like to experiment with taking pictures with my iPad2 and my iPhone 6 while also uploading them to my iCloud storage.  I can then access them on my iPad2 and write a first draft for my hiking blog.  Am I getting too ambitious?

So, what are you going to do to feel young 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 Weekly Photo Challenge: Circle

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The Weekly Photo Challenge: Circle

I took this picture while hiking down a hiking/equestrian trail in the Santa Cruz Mountains earlier this week.  If you look to the left of this trail, notice how these Coast Redwood trees are growing in a circle.

What you can’t see is the trees are growing around a stump of an old growth Coast Redwood that was cut probably more than 100 years ago.  One of the secrets of the longevity of our Coast Redwoods is that new trees will will sprout from the shallow roots of the “mother” tree…even if it has been cut down!  In fact, a DNA sample would reveal that these trees growing in a circle are genetically identical!

For more great hiking through the fantastic redwood forests of the Santa Cruz Mountains, try the trails through some of my favorite open space preserves and state parks:

Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve – Pursima Creek Trail

Big Basin Redwoods State Park – Berry Creek Loop

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park – Redwood Grove Loop Trail

 

Where are you hiking this weekend?

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Thursday Picture – Giant Jacket Giant Redwoods


Our youngest daughter had an English writing assignment that required her to go out into nature and record her observations.

Fortunately, we live close to the Redwoods here in California.  Even though it was a cold and wet day, we decided to go to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park to hike among the old growth redwoods.

She found a great “study hall” across from the John C. Fremont tree.  She also borrowed my jacket…it can get cool in the shade of 250 foot tall redwoods!

Where are you doing your homework this week?

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

“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!