The Thursday Picture – TBT Yosemite

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Today’s Thursday picture was taken way back in September of 2006. My Dad and I took a long weekend trip to explore Yosemite National Park.

We had a great time. We stayed in a tent cabin at Curry Village and explored Yosemite Valley, Olmsted Point, had a terrific lunch surrounded by Tuolumne Meadows, hiked along the Merced River, looked at planets, stars, and the space station at Glacier Point, and ate great pizza at Curry Village.

Here is one of my favorite pictures of my Dad and I…taking a break from our adventure.

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Yosemite National Park: http://www.nps.gov/yose/index.htm

Where are you hiking this weekend?

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

Silicon Valley’s other Golden Triangle

Silicon Valley is known throughout the world as the center of innovation, where entrepreneurs can turn an idea into gold. In fact, one area of the valley is known as the “Golden Triangle” because of the large numbers of high tech firms concentrated there.

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“Looking down on the marine layer covering Silicon Valley”

Well, if you travel through Saratoga on California State Route 9 up into the Santa Cruz Mountains, there is another “Golden Triangle” for hikers! Park at Vista Point where SR 9 intersects Skyline Boulevard. Here you will find multiple trail heads located in the Golden “Skyline” Triangle. Saratoga Gap Open Space Preserve, Sanborn County Park, and Castle Rock State Park are all located in this area. The Bay Area Ridge Trail also travels through the Golden Skyline Triangle.

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This past Sunday, I had a great day exploring the Bay Area Ridge Trail

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My 16th hike of the year started out at Saratoga Gap OSP on the Bay Area Ridge Trail, continued on this trail into Sanborn County Park, crossed over SR 9 into Castle Rock SP where I did a big loop on the Service Road and Loughery Woods Trails. I returned to my car by backtracking on the Bay Area Ridge Trail. The hike was a little over 8 miles with over 1,000 feet of total elevation change. Some of the trails were through pine and native oak, some through shrub, and some on gravel fire roads.

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I would classify some of these trails as moderate/difficult.

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But, there are many other family friendly to very challenging trails located at the Golden Skyline Triangle. As is the norm in this area, the trails are maintained very well with ample signage to guide hikers, er, pedestrians…along the trail!

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The California State Parks, Mid Peninsula Open Space District, and Santa Clara County Parks websites provide very good area information and trail maps.

I can’t wait to spend more time exploring Silicon Valley’s other Golden Triangle!

Links:

The Other Golden Triangle:
Castle Rock State Park – http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=538
Sanborn County Park – http://www.sccgov.org/sites/parks/parkfinder/Pages/Sanborn.aspx
Saratoga Gap Open Space Preserve – http://www.openspace.org/preserves/pr_saratoga_gap.asp

The Bay Area Ridge Trail – http://www.ridgetrail.org/

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

The Thursday Picture – California is Mountain Lion Territory

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A 6 year old boy was attacked by a Mountain Lion in one of our open space areas, the Picchetti Ranch Open Space Preserves in the hills above Cupertino, California this week. At the time of this post, the boy is expected to recover from his injuries.

Even though almost half of California is Mountain Lion territory, attacks are very rare here in the Golden State. From the Santa Cruz Pumas Website (See the link below): “Before the attack on September 7th, the last attack anywhere near here was in Morgan Hill in 1909 when a rabid mountain lion attacked a woman and her child. Throughout our daily lives, we face many risks greater than being attacked by a mountain lion. For example, approximately 82 people are fatally struck by lightening each year. Between 2005 and 2013, 251 people were killed by domestic dogs in the US. In contrast, in the US and Canada between 1890 and 2004 (that’s 114 years), there were 88 mountain lion-related injuries, and 20 human fatalities associated with mountain lions.
Over half of California is mountain lion habitat, and many thousands of people recreate in mountain lion country each day without incident. Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District estimates that its parks alone have an average of 5,400 visitors each day. That’s 2 million people walking, hiking, and biking in mountain lion country every year. People very seldom see them, let alone have a negative interaction with them. The big cat was acting unusually.” http://santacruzpumas.org/mountain-lion-faq/

The California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife located the Mountain Lion and ended up killing it because of its atypical behavior. Although I feel bad that the Mountain Lion was killed, the reality is that this particular Mountain Lion was acting unusually: It attacked a human. It attacked in the middle of the day. It attacked a small child that was in the immediate presence of several adults. I think that the DFW acted properly. What do you think the DFW should have done?

I’ve hiked several hundred miles in Northern California over the past several years. In fact, I hiked on this very same trail back in January. However, I’ve only seen foxes, black tail deer, rabbits and other small wildlife. I have seen a mountain lion once when I was hiking up in the Sierra Azul mountains. The mountain lion was crossing a road probably 150 yards from me. I know that I had passed a group of 3 black tailed deer about 30 minutes prior to seeing the big cat in the distance. Maybe this Mountain Lion was tracking the deer…who knows? I don’t think that this unusual incident will keep me off the trail.

Have you ever seen a large cat or bear while hiking?

Links:

Santa Cruz Pumas – http://santacruzpumas.org

Article from the San Jose Mercury News –
http://www.mercurynews.com/newsvideo?ndn.trackingGroup=90757&ndn.siteSection=mercurynews&ndn.videoId=26715173&freewheel=90757&sitesection=mercurynews&vid=26715173

Mid Peninsula Open Space District – http://www.openspace.org/preserves/pr_picchetti.asp

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

“I” – The REI Used Gear Sale

The REI garage sale. The mother lode of marked down hiking and back packing gear! The voice: “Attention REI Shoppers, if you have a ticket with “D” as in dog, come to the back of the store to get in to the used gear sale!”

Groans drift across the store…My ticket is “I” as in India….Argh! A group of about 30 of us gaze jealously at those chosen few who are sifting through tubs of marked down poles, socks and SPF 50 hats…the voice: “Attention REI Shoppers, if you have a ticket with “E” as in Echo, come to the back of the store to get in to the used gear sale!”

No! A married couple leaves the room of treasures with two bags of hiking boots! Argh! That pair on top looks like KEEN Targhee 2 – size 13! Argh! Must…slow…breathing…and…relax…

The voice:
“Attention REI Shoppers, if you have a ticket with “F” as in Foxtrot, come to the back of the store to get in to the used gear sale!” Argh!

“I”

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50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act – Another Great American Idea!

Devil's Slide Trailhead - Hike No 20

Today we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act. Another Great American Idea! Back in 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Wilderness Act into law. By enacting this law, the United States was the first country in the world to define and protect wilderness areas through law. In 1964, 9.1 million acres in 13 states were protected as wilderness. Today, we have over 109 million acres of protected land in 758 areas in 44 states. California is one of the states that has the most acreage of wilderness protected…forever.

Tahquitz Peak from the trail head Hike No 20

View of San Bernardino and beyond from Tahquitz Peak Trail Hike No 20

Garner Valley and Lake Hemet from Tahquitz Peak

I’ve been fortunate to hike in several wilderness areas, like the San Jacinto Wilderness, and, with each step, each amazing view, and, each stop on the trail to listen to the sounds of unspoiled wilderness, I’m reminded of the great foresight of those Americans who decided to protect our wilderness areas.

If you are interested in finding out more about our Wilderness Areas and the 50th Anniversary, check out these links:

http://www.wilderness.net/NWPS/wildView?WID=522
http://www.wilderness50th.org/index.php

So, where are you hiking this weekend?

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

The Thursday Picture – Arachnid Story

So….I’m hiking in the Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve that is in the hills overlooking San Jose. I was hiking on the spectacular Boccardo Loop trail…If you live in or near the Bay Area, you must hike in this park. The views are incredible! Anyway, it was a beautiful, sunny California day…after about an hour of hiking, I came across this little fella who was also out for a hike.

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I calmly slowed down and closed in to get some great close up shots of this tarantula with my Nikon. Although scary looking, I’ve read that the bite of a tarantula is less painful than a sting of honey bee. Another fun fact is that tarantula’s are popular pets! “Here Rex…Daddy’s got a juicy beetle for you!”

On a side note, I’m thinking of entering a master’s track and field meet. Heck, when I first saw this critter, I must’ve jumped 14 feet into the air. I didn’t think to take a selfie of myself jumping….so, for illustrative purposes, I will use this picture of Olympic great Bob Beamon smashing the long jump record at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.

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I think that I can medal…

Links:

http://www.openspaceauthority.org/trails/sierra.html
http://www.openspaceauthority.org/trails/pdf/SV%20trail%20map%202-10.pdf

Where are you hiking this Labor Day Weekend?

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

The Thursday Picture – Bugs! Why did it have to be Bugs?

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Bzzzzzzzzzzz…crunch…slurp….”OUCH!”

I took a vacation day on Monday and hiked at Fremont Older OSP in the hills of Cupertino and Saratoga, California.

While I always enjoy hiking…I felt like I was spending half of my time trying to keep horse flies and gnats from eating me alive!

Maybe this was the reason…

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The last time that I used this bug juice, my buddy Greg and I were setting up camp at Lone Pine Lake on the Whitney Trail in the Southern Sierra Mountains. I don’t generally like covering myself with bug juice…but, sometimes it is either use the bug juice or, becoming a human smorgasbord for the bugs. I highly recommend this product made by 3M. Get the hands free – easy application bottle:

http://www.amazon.com/3M-Ultrathon-Repellent-Hands-Free-SRL-12HF/dp/B002JVB44E/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1408599789&sr=8-3&keywords=ultrathon+insect+repellant

Other than the bugs…it was another great day hiking on one of the Mid Peninsula Open Space Preserves!

Links:

http://www.openspace.org/preserves/pr_fremont.asp

So, where are you hiking this weekend?

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