“Speak softly and carry a big stick”

It happened in 1972.  My Boy Scout Troop, “Troop of the Eagle”, was camping at Pinnacles National Monument.  Yes, the same Pinnacles National Monument that was founded back in 1908 by this famous American:

T_Roosevelt

It was late afternoon, and had been raining steadily since we arrived around lunch time. My patrol was getting hungry…to tell the truth, we were 11 and 12 year old boys that were always hungry. We had planned to cook something easy for dinner…our world famous aluminum spaghetti. We found that if we lined our cooking pot with aluminum foil, it helped us clean up faster! Of course, the spaghetti had a bit of a metallic taste…but, we were 11 and 12 year olds who were often ruled by our stomachs. Anyway, we were getting hungry but were unable to get a good fire started to boil water for the pasta. The rain was coming down like buckets, we were cold and wet, and there was mud everywhere.  Some of us had started to break into our pack of Oreos.  Desperate times…

Thankfully, some of the Dad’s who were chaperoning the trip came over and showed us how to start a fire in these very wet conditions. I flashed back to our wet camping trip and the miracle of fire when I saw this “how-to” on one of my favorite outdoor blogs, “Hiking the Trail.”  It looks like this was re-blogged from another great web site, Fix.com.

This is a fantastic graphic on how to start a fire (and get your aluminum spaghetti cooked up real quick!):


Source: Fix.com

So, where are you hiking this weekend?

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

Hike No 9 – Fremont Older OSP – Several Trails!

Cupertino, California is most famous today for being the home of Apple Computer and Hewlett Packard…legends of high tech Silicon Valley.  But, take a drive west on Prospect Rd., up into the hills overlooking Cupertino, and you will find yourself in the country at Fremont Older Open Space Preserve.  http://www.openspace.org/preserves/pr_fremont.asp

Fremont Older and his wife Cora settled here on these rolling hills in 1914.  Fremont was the Managing Editor of the San Francisco Bulletin, and was known as a famous Populist newspaperman in his day.  If you are interested, more on Fremont can be found here:  http://www.sfhistoryencyclopedia.com/articles/o/olderFremont.html

Of course, my reason for being at Fremont Older OSP was to hike and explore this scenic part of Silicon Valley.  I parked at the very end of Prospect Road, grabbed a map at the Trailhead, chatted with a couple of the Rangers who were heading out to patrol, and headed up on the Cora Older Trail through a stand of Oaks trees and wildflowers.

Cora Older TrailCora’s trail climbed up 200 feet for about 1/2 of a mile to the junction of the Seven Springs Trail.  At this point, I left the shadows of the Oaks and was hiking on bright green, rolling hills – former hay fields.  Wild flowers were sprinkled on both sides of the trail.  Well, I wanted to get to Hunters Point to check out the view, so I turned left at the junction and proceeded on first the Hayfield trail and then the Ranch Road trail.  I did stop along the way and took some pictures of the flowers along the trail…here’s one of my “best”…IMG_0666

After another 1/2 mile or so, I reached Hunter’s Point…I didn’t see any big game to bag…actually, the only thing that I saw to hunt was $10 million giant homes spread out to the east.  Oh well, I would have to keep climbing to get a better view.  Heading west, I hiked across the rolling hills and met several other families who were enjoying the day. While taking another break to try and capture a lizard on camera, I turned around and saw the Silicon Valley spreading out below me…From Hayfield TrailI also saw several California Golden Poppies along the trail as I headed to yet another trail named after Coyote’s…The Coyote Ridge Trail.  I hope you have a map in hand…because the Coyote Ridge trail is pleasant hike along the ridge that gradually starts to drop…over 600 feet in a little over a mile.  This trail ends up at Stevens Creek County Park if you want to explore that park.  At the bottom of the hill, I turned around and hiked back up the Coyote Ridge Trail and those 600 feet.  I was rewarded with more great views from the top of the ridge!  If you continue south on the ridge trail you will climb to the top of Maisie’s Peak…but, that would have to wait for another day.  I took the Toyon Trail at the fork – turn left – which is shared with horses…I heard several riders on horseback behind me while hiking on this trail…but, never saw one!  This trail travels through densely packed native oaks, toyon, and a large stand of eucalyptus trees!  Because of a rain shower earlier in the week, the trail had a deep earthy, damp smell.  The smells of the damp earth, the squish of my boots on the muddy trail, the toyon bushes and the native oaks transported me back in time to when I was a Boy Scout hiking at Camp Stuart…nearly…yikes…40 years ago!  Those happy memories carried me the rest of the way back down the hill and to my car.Fremont Older OS Hike No 9  20130401

I would rate this 5.5 mile hike as easy/moderate.  There are a couple of sections of fairly steep climbs…particularly on the Coyote Ridge Trail.  The views particularly along the Hayfield trail are quite peaceful.  Of course, the Toyon Trail has some sort of mystical power…perhaps you will have the same experience if you try hiking here!  Bring a map…there are several short trails that are interconnected.  My route combined a couple of out and backs and one big loop!  Trails: Cora Older > Seven Springs > Hayfield > Hunters Point > Hayfield again > Coyote Ridge > Toyon > Hayfield > Cora Older

That’s 9 hikes and 55.2 miles…31 hikes and 144.8 miles to go!