The Thursday Picture: Sun on the Grinder

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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.

 

 

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.

 

 

The Thursday Picture – Lines and Shapes

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Today’s Thursday Picture was taken in San Mateo County near the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District’s La Honda Creek Open Space.

 

I work in Engineering and Construction.  In this world, straight lines represent order.  Engineers love order.  I know that I do.  I know that we all seem to be pretty good with numbers, and most of us are common-sense types of people.  But, sometimes, it drives me nuts.

For example, I will be out hiking, and catch myself observing that a trail dip isn’t at quite the right angle…or, I wonder why this cattle fence is angled the way it is…

Luckily, when I should be out enjoying myself in the wonders of the natural world, my “left brain” will kick in and shut down my “engineer brain.”

Most of the time.  LOL

Get out on the trail!  The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District has some fantastic trails for you to go outside and breathe.

Where are you hiking this weekend?

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Thursday Picture – Mule Ears

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Today’s Thursday Picture is of Wiethia Helenioides commonly known as Gray Mule Ears.

I came across this large yellow flower while hiking at Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District’s La Honda Creek Open Space Preserve.

Here’s another shot of the Gray Mule Ears plant:

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I’ve spent a busy week in Southern California “hiking” around several college campuses on tours with my wife and daughter.  It is an exciting time in our family as our daughter prepares to go off to college next year!

Some of our daughter’s favorite campus tours were at Loyola MarymountPepperdine, UCLA and UC Irvine .  She is looking to study Biology.  I am looking forward to hiking this weekend to get some good shots of more wildflowers in the Santa Cruz Mountains.  Although, I can see that in addition to wildflowers, we will be needing to search for scholarships! 🙂

Where are you hiking this weekend?

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

 

 

 

The Weekly Photo Challenge – Landscape

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The Weekly Photo Challenge: Landscape

We had been hiking along this old ranch road checking on the condition of a berm on the south side of a ranch pond.  About 30 cattle scanned us and decided to trot off.  They weren’t sure what to make of these two humans…one carrying a camera and a large clipboard.

I was actually looking at the condition of this road when I looked up.  Sometimes, when I am out hiking or driving my truck at La Honda Creek Open Space Preserve, I am overwhelmed with the vibrant colors of nature.  No, I haven’t done any “post processing” to boost the greens and blues shown in this picture.  This is what we typically see when working in the coastal mountains of San Mateo County, California.

You too can enjoy these vibrant spring colors by visiting the La Honda Creek Open Space Preserve …but, entrance to this preserve requires a permit.  Visit the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District’s Permits page to find out how you can enjoy La Honda Creek OSP.

Where are you hiking this spring weekend?

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

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The Thursday Picture – Feeling Young

 

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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 – State of Mind

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The Weekly Photo Challenge – State of Mind

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”
― John Muir, The Mountains of California

 

We had been in the field most of the day.  Checking the condition of a bridge and a ranch road.  We were figuring out what repairs were needed.  Finally, we stopped for lunch on a crest that overlooked the hills rolling down to the Pacific Ocean…and, to take a deep breath and just look around.

You too can visit the La Honda Creek Open Space Preserve …but, entrance to this preserve requires a permit.  Visit the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District’s Permits page to find out how you can enjoy La Honda Creek OSP.

It looks like rain this weekend in California.  Put on your rain gear and get outside.  Where are you going to hike?

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

 

 

 

 

The Thursday Picture – Mindego Hill

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Today’s Thursday Picture was taken on the Mindego Hill Trail at the Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

This terrific view looking west towards a fog covered Pacific Ocean over miles of forested coastal mountains is just one of the special places at this preserve.  The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District is set to open yet another open space area this coming March!

On March 30th, a new portion of trail will allows visitors to hike out to the peak of Mindego Hill.  I’ve been looking at this peak for a few years now, wondering when I will get the opportunity to hike out to the peak.  For a quick peak at the Mindego Hill Trail Extension, check out this video shot for Doug McConnell’s “Open Road” television show here.

If you would like more information on how you can take part in the Mindego Hill Trail Extension grand opening, visit the Mindego Hill Grand Opening page here.

I can’t wait to hike out to the Mindego Hill Peak for the great views….and, for a surprise or two!   Moo!

Where are you hiking this weekend?

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