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.

Buzzards Roost and the 52 Hike Challenge

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I can see the finish line.  It’s kind of like standing on the trail looking up at the summit.  In this picture, the summit is reaching Buzzard’s Roost at Big Basin Redwoods State Park.  The hike to Buzzard’s Roost is a fairly challenging 5 mile round trip hike with well over 1,000 feet of elevation gain.

Challenging….but, not too crazy.  This hike is similar to the 52 Hike Challenge.  The 52 Hike Challenge can be as challenging as you make it.  I’m lucky….I live in Northern California where there are many different trails from crazy tough, like the Mission Peak Trail  or, hiking in Pinnacles National Park  to great hikes that are a short drive from downtown San Jose in the Santa Rosa Open Space.

The point is, to #OptOutside.  I’m so close…three hikes to go!

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

 

Hike 30 – “Look UP”

Hike 20 – “I Like Big Rocks” 

The Thursday Picture – Sierra Azul


Today’s Thursday Picture was taken at Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

This “Trail selfie” was taken on the Priest Rock Trail – AKA “the grinder.”

This was also hike #27 of my 52 hike challenge.  I finished hike #47 in the Santa Cruz Mountains above my home here in California.

I am very thankful to have so many trails provided by Santa Clara County Parks, Los Gatos Parks, Santa Clara County Open Space Authority and the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District.  

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 Weekly Photo Challenge: Vibrant

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The Weekly Photo Challenge: Vibrant

I took this week’s photo challenge shot at Rancho Canada del Oro in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains just south of San Jose’s Almaden Valley.  These berries are on a California Native, the Heteromeles arbutifolia !  Commonly known as the Toyon bush, or, sometimes, Christmas Berry, I see this native plant probably every time I go hiking in the Santa Cruz Mountains.  Rancho Canada del Oro is just 30 miles from Levi’s Stadium!

If you look really closely, you will see that I was photobombed while on the trail!

So, where are you hiking this upcoming Super Bowl Weekend?

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

 

 

 

The Blue and the Green

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I’ve been nominated by my friends, Kathy Bauman and Laura Better-Henry, to participate in a seven day nature photography challenge. I will post one nature video/photograph every day for seven days.

Day Five Above:  I took this shot on the Longwall Canyon Trail in the Rancho Canada Del Oro Open Space Preserve located in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains just a short drive from San Jose’s Almaden Valley.

I hiked here on the last day of January, 2016.  It had rained the night before, so the trails were fairly muddy in places.  It started out cloudy and threatened to rain some more.  However, I stayed dry – although it did get windy and cold along the ridge line – for most of this 6.75 mile hike.  The sun did start to peak through as I was hiking back to the nice staging area off of Casa Loma Road.  Now, parts of this hike up to the the ridge line are quite steep.  However, the view from the ridge along Bald Peaks Trail is spectacular.  I was able to see downtown San Jose, Oakland and San Francisco from the trail!  I was also able to see Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, home of Super Bowl 50, from the same trail!  Rancho Canada del Oro OSP, along with neighboring Calero County Park  offer hiking, biking, and equestrian trails for everyone!

Where are you hiking this weekend?

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