2017 – The Big 65


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!


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!


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!


Hiking amongst giants!  Muir Woods National Monument


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


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).



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.


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.

The Thursday Picture -Tunnel View: A Look Back

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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 Weekly Photo Challenge: Future


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.


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 Thursday Picture – Feeling Young



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!


The Weekly Photo Challenge – Time


The Weekly Photo Challenge – Time

Our daughter Casie discovered this hummingbird nest in our backyard about a week ago.  Since then, every time we have checked our new backyard guest, the Mother Hummingbird has been sitting contentedly in her nest.

I believe that she is a Calypte Anna – According to the Audubon site:

“Incubation is by female only, 14-19 days. Young: Female feeds the young, sticking her bill deep into their mouths and regurgitating tiny insects, perhaps mixed with nectar. Age of young at first flight about 18-23 days.”

14-19 days.  Time.

What are you doing over the next 14-19 days?

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


The Weekly Photo Challenge: Vibrant


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!




Sierra Vista View

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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 Three Above:  I took this shot on the Sierra Vista Trail in the eastern foothills above San Jose/Silicon Valley.

Located just above the City of San Jose’s Alum Rock Park is the Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve.  There are some fantastic hiking trails in both Alum Rock Park and Sierra Vista OSP with some pretty views of the eastern foothills above San Jose.  This is one of my favorite hikes along the Sierra Vista Trail.  It’s not unusual for me to see several Red Tailed Hawks soaring above this valley.

If you’re looking for a good out and back Half Dome training hike, try starting out from Alum Rock Park on the North Rim Trail/Weather Trail/Todd Quick Trail and continue up the hill and take the Boccardo Loop Trail to the Sierra Vista Trail/Lower Calaveras Loop Trail.  It’s about 14 miles out and back with a total elevation gain of well over 1,200 feet.  It’s not as steep as Mission Peak in Fremont…but, it is a good long, scenic trail.

Where are you hiking this weekend?

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