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 Thursday Picture -Tunnel View: A Look Back

2003-11-08 16.48.54

Tunnel View, Yosemite Valley, around 1960.

The Thursday Picture this week was taken by my grandfather, Dale Lackey.  I’m thinking that this easily recognizable landmark was taken on a family trip to Yosemite sometime around 1960.  The more things change…

Yes, our family has been taking trips to Yosemite for a long time.  You might even say that when we are asked to #FindYourPark, Yosemite National Park is on the top of our list!  Which reminds me, I am way overdue for a trip to Yosemite National Park!

Where are you hiking this weekend?

If you’re looking for me, I’m Over the Hill.

 

 

The Thursday Picture – Mule Ears

DSC_0180

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:

DSC_0178

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.

 

 

 

The Thursday Picture – Flume Fun


Today’s Thursday Picture was taken on the Flume Trail at St. Joseph’s Hill Open Space Preserve in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Located just minutes from downtown Los Gatos, California, this preserve sees heavy use by hikers, bikers and families.  I typically park at Vasona Park and hike the Los Gatos Creek Trail up to St. Joseph’s Hill.  There are some steep sections of trail…so, hiking here can be a good workout.  However the scenery so close to an urban area makes the sweat well worth it!

My hike: A nice 7 mile loop with 650 feet of total elevation gain.  Park at Vasona Lake County Park.  Take the Los Gatos Creek Trail south to the pedestrian bridge at Church St.  Cross the bridge and hike through the parking lot past the historic Forbes Mill.  The Los Gatos Creek East Trail head is located just to the east of Forbes Mill.  Follow this trail that runs parallel to Los Gatos Creek for about 1/2 mile.  The trail will end with a short climb up a hill that leads you to the Town Of Los Gatos’ Novitiate Park.  This park borders St. Joseph’s Hill OSP and the Flume Trail head.  Head south on the Flume Trail for a little over .5 mile and continue to the end of this trail where it intersects the Jones Trail.  Continue south on the Jones Trail for a mile where you will exit the OSP and walk north along Alma Bridge Rd. for .5 mile to Lexington Dam.  Hike down the paved trail that traverses the north side of the dam where it connects back up to the Los Gatos Creek Trail.  Follow the Los Gatos Creek Trail for about 3 miles back to Vasona County Park!  This was hike number 16 of my quest on the 52 hike challenge!

 

Where are you hiking this weekend?

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

The Thursday Picture – Stand Still!

DSC_0194

Today’s Thursday Picture was taken at Santa Teresa County Park in San Jose’s Almaden Valley.

This Calypte Anna (Anna’s Hummingbird) perched on spent wildflower right as I started hiking up the steep switch backs of the Stile Ranch Trail.  As I switched lenses…this scrappy guy kept shifting on his perch…

DSC_0192

I think he must have been protecting his territory…

DSC_0196

Stand still will you buddy!

Santa Teresa County Park is one of my favorite places to hike in the winter and spring.  There are many birds and wildflowers, rolling green hills, and interesting vistas not far at all from busy San Jose/Silicon Valley.

DSC_0261

So, where are you hiking this weekend?

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

The Thursday Picture – Indian Warrior

 

IMG_0034

It’s a TBT Thursday Picture!  I took this shot of an Indian Warrior (Pedicularis densiflora) back in January, 2015.

I was hiking through the Thornewood Open Space Preserve when I came across several of these bright red flowers.  The Indian Warrior is a California Native perennial herb.  I see them most often in our Oak forests.  The Thornewood Preserve is a small preserve with only about 1.5 miles of trails.  This is one of our preserves where dogs on leash are allowed.  I remember seeing several beagles, full of energy, along the Bridle Trail.  The Beagles, barking and dragging their human through the second growth douglas fir and redwoods, were having a great time!

Where are you hiking this weekend?

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

 

The Thursday Picture – Stay on the Trail!

1-DSC_0230

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.