The Thursday Picture: Sun on the Grinder


Today’s Thursday Picture was taken on the Priest Rock Trail in the Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve.  I like this shot of the sun as it is filtered by this large oak.  Ironically, it was taken in one of the few spots on this trail that has some shade.

The Priest Rock Trail is a challenging hike from the trailhead near Lexington Reservoir up past the Limekiln Trail junction.  As I was stopping for a water break, a mountain biker passed me…pushing his bike up the hill.  This particular section of trail was in the sun for 2 miles with very little shade.  The mountain biker just said to me, “Welcome to the Grinder.”

I eventually turned around and took the Limekiln Trail on the way down.  My modified loop was 6.1 miles with over 1,200 feet of total elevation gain.  I know that it is no Mission Peak hike…but, the Grinder could go on the list of hikes that would help you train for Half Dome.  If you want to take on the Grinder, I suggest you try it in the Fall or Spring.  This is a tough summer hike.

So, where are you hiking this weekend?

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



The Thursday Picture – Stand Still!


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…


I think he must have been protecting his territory…


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.


So, where are you hiking this weekend?

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

Climbing Kamet in the Himalayas


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…


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 :


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:


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:


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:


1-2015-11-23 15.56.501-DSC_6358

1-2015-11-08 11.08.22

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



Thanks for visiting my hiking / photography blog!

– Dale


As always…

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



The Thursday Picture – Bay Trail


Today’s Thursday Picture was taking last Sunday on my hike at Ravenswood OSP in East Palo Alto.  I’m usually hiking in the mountains surrounding the Silicon Valley.  However, in my quest to hike in every MROSD by the end of 2015, Ravenswood was next on my list.  I’m glad I visited.  Running adjacent to the southern San Francisco Bay, there is a large tidal marsh that is teeming with all sorts of birds like sandpipers, avocets, and the endangered California Clapper Rails.  My knowledge of shore birds is something that I need to improve!

While I was visiting Ravenswood OSP, there was construction of an education center going on at the adjacent Cooley Landing Park, which is part of the City of East Palo Alto.  I’m looking forward to returning later in the year when the center is completed.

The trails at Ravenswood are all flat…and, are very family friendly.  The trails are part of the San Francisco Bay Trail.  From their website: “The Bay Trail is a planned recreational corridor that, when complete, will encircle San Francisco and San Pablo Bays with a continuous 500-mile network of bicycling and hiking trails. It will connect the shoreline of all nine Bay Area counties, link 47 cities, and cross the major toll bridges in the region. date, approximately 338 miles of the alignment–over 67 percent of the Bay Trail’s ultimate length–have been completed.”


I really liked the special concrete treatment included as part of the walk way around the southern part of Ravenswood OSP.


If you need a change of pace from the redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains, I would encourage you to check out Ravenswood OSP.

Where are you hiking this weekend?

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

The Thursday Picture – “Z” Ridge Trail


“Z” Ridge Trail – Taken at Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve in the Santa Cruz Mountains west of San Jose/Silicon Valley.  One of my favorite places to hike in the Bay Area, this trail is also part of the Bay Area Ridge Trail system.

About 350 miles of Bay Area Ridge Trail are currently open to hikers.  Another 200 miles are yet to be developed and opened up.  When done, the Bay Area Ridge Trail will completely circle the entire Bay Area!

Work has been crazy the last several weeks!  My team has been working hard to accomplish some design milestones while also supporting projects in construction.  We’ve also been watching a lot of volleyball lately.  So, between work and volleyball, I haven’t been able to hit the trail a lot.  I’m hoping to do some hiking this weekend.  Hmm, where should I hike?

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

The Thursday Picture – My Break Room on the Trail

1-DSC_5723Today’s Thursday Picture was taken on the Ridge Trail in Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve.  Once again, hiking in the Santa Cruz Mountains of Northern California, I often wonder, “Is this one of best places in the world to live, work and play?”

I plopped down onto the grass, pulled out my trusty Liberty Bottle, dug through my backpack for one of my trail snacks (a PB&J Sandwich), and just enjoyed the view.  I swear, the hills looked greener and the Pacific Ocean looked bluer than in this picture.

Where are you hiking this weekend?

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

“The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark” John Muir


Well, I certainly got a good look at my part of the world in 2014. I started off back on January 20, 2014 with my first hike of last year at Picchetti Ranch Open Space Preserve in the Santa Cruz Mountains here in California. If you follow my blog, you will know that my goal for 2014 was to hike at least 20 times for a total of 100 miles. I chose to reduce the number of hikes because our youngest daughter was selected for a club volleyball team back in November, 2013. Her volleyball tournaments take up a good number of weekends that I may otherwise be hiking. Although, I really enjoy sitting in a gym watching Casie and her teammates fly after volleyballs just as much as I really enjoy sitting on a log watching a red tail hawk fly lazy circles in the sky.

At 3.6 miles, My first hike at Picchetti Ranch was also one of my shortest hikes. I did spot a coyote…which I considered a good omen for the year! I did not spot any mountain lions…which were spotted at this OSP later in 2014.  I was lucky enough to see all sorts of critters in 2014…like this beast spotted at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park:

Banana Slug Pursima Creek Redwoods OSP

I wrote about my favorite trail snack in 2014…my PB&J on Whole Wheat!

Thursday Picture

I also traveled to Southern California in 2014 and hiked to the summit of Mt. San Jacinto.   At 10,834 feet, this would be the highest elevation that I reached in 2014.  The trail to get to the summit and back is a long 13 mile round trip hike. Normally, I am struck by the altitude sickness bug…but, this year, after much research, I planned ahead, took regular water breaks, and felt fine at the summit.  Here I am taking a break about 1 mile from the summit.


I was nearly eaten alive in 2014 by mosquitoes at Fremont Older OSP back in August…luckily, I still had my stash of bug juice in my pack from hiking in the Sierras!


But, no matter how many bugs that latched on, I kept on hiking and saw some wonderful sights here in California in 2014!







So, where will I go in 2015? I’d like to explore even more of the great trails at the Mid Peninsula Open Space Preserve, the Santa Clara Open Space Authority, the Santa Clara County Parks, the California State Parks, and the National Parks here in California. I think that I will also venture to the East Bay Regional Parks this year…I’m sure my faithful KEEN’s have another several hundred miles left in them!


Hiking Up on the Ridge Trail Hike No 31

As always, if you’re looking for me, I’m over the hill