Look Up

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The Weekly Photo Challenge:  Look Up

I consider myself very lucky.  I love the outdoors and have so many great places to hike here in Northern California.  But, sometimes, I catch my “Engineer Brain” focusing on how many miles I’ve hiked, or which trail to explore on the map.

Occasionally, I catch myself doing too much of this…

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When, I should….well, look up.

I completed my 30th hike of the 52 Hike Challenge (see, there is my Engineer brain…LOL!) this past Sunday at California’s first state park.  Located only a little over an hour from San Jose/Silicon Valley, Big Basin Redwoods State Park is located in the heart of Redwood Country.  It is known for big trees.  Really big trees!

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Coast Redwoods make their home in many parts of the mountains that surround San Jose/Silicon Valley.  I find it to be interesting that a place that focuses so much on the future is surrounded by Coast Redwoods that are anchored in the past.  I think that it is a good balance.  If you are ever out this way on business or vacation, I strongly urge to take some time to visit Big Basin Redwoods State Park or, Henry Cowell Redwoods Sate Park and….look up.

So, where are you hiking this weekend?

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

 

 

“Going to the mountains is going home.” – John Muir

20130127 Looking West from Saratoga Gap Trail Hike No 1

20130127 Looking West from Saratoga Gap Trail Hike No 1

Today’s Thursday Picture is from my very first hike that I posted on this blog back in 2013.  As a new year’s resolution, and with a little help from my daughter Kelley, I started my hiking blog, “I’m Over the Hill” to record my hikes and post some pictures of my adventures on the trail.  It was also a way to force me to take the time to exercise by doing something I really enjoy…hiking.

I chose Castle Rock State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains of Northern California as the location of my first hike.  I wanted to go to the mountains.  I suppose, a little like John Muir, I’ve always felt at home in the mountains.  Although this guy looks a little cold (I was!) before setting out on the trail:

20130127 Castle Rock Hike No 1

20130127 Castle Rock Hike No 1

I’m posting pictures from my first hike because I hit a significant milestone today.

“I’m Over the Hill” attracted the 100th follower and also earned the 1,000th “like” today!

Now, I’d like to think that my brilliant prose and my incredible shots had something to do with these achievements.  But, the truth is, when I am able to hike in so many beautiful parks, wilderness areas, and open spaces, it is just not too hard to post something of interest to the outdoor and WordPress communities.

So, I would also like to thank the folks at WordPress’ Daily Post for helping me to polish my writing and photography.

I would also like to thank the following organizations for being great stewards of our land and for providing me with so many beautiful places to explore:

The National Park Service

The Forest Service

The Bureau of Land Management

The California State Parks

The Santa Clara County Parks

The Santa Clara County Open Space Authority

The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District

I’ve only just begun!  So, are you going home this weekend?

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

 

 

Photo 101 – Glass, Squared

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Photo 101 – Glass, Squared

Glass covered Information board at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park in California.  This is really a beautiful park with a lot of great trails to hike.

I like how you can see the reflection of some ferns and Redwood trees in the reflection off of the glass that protects this information board.

Hey!  Wait a minute….there’s another reflected image in there too!

What the…

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

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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!

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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.

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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!

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

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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!

Links:

http://openspace.org/
http://www.openspaceauthority.org/
http://www.sccgov.org/sites/parks/Pages/Welcome-to-Santa-Clara-County-Parks.aspx
http://www.parks.ca.gov/
http://www.nps.gov/index.htm

Hiking Up on the Ridge Trail Hike No 31

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

The Thursday Picture – Palm Springs from Summit of Mt. San Jacinto

Looking down on N Coachella Valley and N Palm Springs from summit of Mt SJThis week’s Thursday picture is a view of the north Coachella Valley and Palm Springs from the summit of Mt. San Jacinto in Southern California.  I did this hike back in 2012.  I took the Palm Springs Tramway http://www.pstramway.com/  up to the Mountain Station at 8,516 feet.  The hike from the Mountain Station to the summit of Mt. San Jacinto is rated moderate/difficult because you will be hiking at altitude the entire 11 miles of this out and back.  The hike climbs approximately 2,300 feet and begins in Mt. San Jacinto State Park http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=636  where you will need to pick  up a wilderness permit to venture on to this trail.  Another great hike in Southern California!

Until next time, if you’re looking for me, I’m over the hill.