The Thursday Picture – Indian Warrior

 

IMG_0034

It’s a TBT Thursday Picture!  I took this shot of an Indian Warrior (Pedicularis densiflora) back in January, 2015.

I was hiking through the Thornewood Open Space Preserve when I came across several of these bright red flowers.  The Indian Warrior is a California Native perennial herb.  I see them most often in our Oak forests.  The Thornewood Preserve is a small preserve with only about 1.5 miles of trails.  This is one of our preserves where dogs on leash are allowed.  I remember seeing several beagles, full of energy, along the Bridle Trail.  The Beagles, barking and dragging their human through the second growth douglas fir and redwoods, were having a great time!

Where are you hiking this weekend?

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

 

Reminder of Spring

DSC_0128

In the midst of a wet winter here in California a reminder of Spring.

I took this shot after hiking to the top of Mission Peak in the Mission Peak Regional Preserve.

This was a challenging hike with about a 2,000 foot gain in a little over 3 miles.  Tough hike but, great views!

Where are you hiking this weekend?

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

 

 

The Thursday Picture – Fluorescent Forest

 

DSC_0268

Today’s Thursday Picture was taken on the Alec Canyon Trail at Uvas Canyon County Park in Santa Clara County.

No photoshop tricks were done to this image.  These are the colors that caught my eye as my daughter and I hiked back down this steep trail after visiting the Triple Falls about an hour earlier.

One part dead oak tree.  One part fungi.  One part moss.  Wham!  Nature supplies a great photo opportunity.  I just did a little adjusting of my Nikon D3300 for the existing light and pressed the shutter button.

Now, I just need to get a little better at being able to identify different types of fungi and moss!

Where are you hiking this weekend?

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

 

 

 

Climbing Kamet in the Himalayas

kamet-peak

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…

DSC_4350

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 :

1-DSC_5770

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:

DSC_7973

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:

DSC_8600

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-DSC_02391-DSC_8685

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

 

DSC_6496

Thanks for visiting my hiking / photography blog!

– Dale

 

As always…

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

 

 

The Thursday Picture – Stay on the Trail!

1-DSC_0230

Today’s Thursday Picture was taken at the Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve in the foothills above San Jose/Silicon Valley.

I hike a lot.  Before this year is over, I will have gone on over 50 hikes.  Many of my hikes are up Harwood Hill in the Sierra Azul Mountains above my neighborhood.  I’ve also hiked this year on trails in National Parks, California State Parks, Santa Clara County Parks, Santa Clara County Open Space Authority, and the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space Authority.  All of these agencies struggle with maintenance budgets that just barely allow them to maintain our trails and the natural environments around them.  When hikers venture off marked trails, like these clowns above, bad things can happen to our trails, parks, and open spaces:

  • Surface vegetation, animal habitat, fragile soils, and/or entire communities of life can be trampled beyond recovery.
  • Organic matter, such as leaves and even the soil itself, helps protect land from the erosive forces of rainfall and wind. Walking, biking, or riding your horse off trail disturbs the protective cover and can accelerate erosion. Do not use shortcuts.
  • Damage to surface vegetation can disrupt natural processes and may destroy a food source or otherwise harm wildlife habitat. Be careful where you step.
  • In some areas, disturbing rocks can leave a visible impact for hundreds of years. Lichen-coated and time-varnished rocks are irreplaceable. Leave rocks where they lay.

If you look closely at this picture, you can see how these hikers….uh….er….those look like black tailed deer.

Never mind.

Where are you hiking this weekend?  Wherever you go, Please do stay on the marked trails!  See the California State Parks information about staying on the trail above and here!

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

 

 

 

 

52 Hike Challenge

52hikechallenge_o

I’ve been meaning to sign up for the 52 Hike Challenge for many months.  I enjoy hiking, I have a hiking/outdoor photography blog, and I like to challenge myself.  I also consider myself strongly influenced by my left brain genes.  Analytical.  Logical.  Objective.

My left brain compels me to create a spreadsheet where I log all of my hikes for the year.  I log the date, the location, the miles hiked, and the total elevation gain.

As I always do, I logged in my hike up Harwood Hill in the Sierra Azul just south of my neighborhood.  When checking the totals, I realized that I hiked my 52nd hike for 2015…today.

1-DSC_6249

I guess that it is time to head up the trail again starting tomorrow…

Where are you hiking this weekend?   Can you guess at what National Park this picture was taken?

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

The Thursday Picture – View from my Truck

IMG_1201

I’ve decided to add a new feature to my hiking blog, “I’m Over the Hill.” My new feature, “View from my Truck” will be published on occasion when, well, I have an interesting “View from my Truck!”  Of course, all of my “View from my Truck” pictures will be taken when I am parked!  😀

I am fortunate to be working in a profession where my projects really require me to get outside and away from my office at least 2-3 times per week.  I was taught the value of “dirty boots” engineering and construction management as a young engineering technician.  In other words, you can’t design or oversee an infrastructure project from behind your desk.  I am convinced that dirty boots engineering and construction management leads to better infrastructure improvement projects.

Fortunately, my dirty boots philosophy takes me out to some beautiful spots.  For example, this picture was taken from my truck on an old logging road in the Santa Cruz Mountains.  I like how the clouds seemed to draw the eyes down to the valley.  Look for many more “View from my Truck” entries over the next year.

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