The Thursday Picture – Nikon Roo

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Today’s Thursday Picture was taken on my hike at Long Ridge Open Space Preserve on a very rainy and blustery Sunday.

Normally, being a very good Boy Scout (Troop 210 – Troop of the Eagle!), I am prepared for the rainy weather.  Heck, as you can see here…I am typically ready for any threat on the trail.

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However, I had to drop off my Volvo XC 70 (again) at the shop to get yet another thing fixed!  Of course, I left my Columbia rain jacket in the back of the Volvo.  So, that’s how I ended up on the trail on a very rainy and blustery Sunday without my rain jacket.  Unfortunately, I also haven’t been able to find my red cowboy hat for quite some time either…

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Being rather stubborn, I was determined to get my hike in while also trying to protect my trusty Nikon D40 from the weather.  I didn’t realize how silly – but effective – my “Kangaroo Pouch” was until another hiker passed me on the trail and said, “Nice Pouch!”

Yes, my Nikon Roo worked just great.  I was able to keep hiking and to keep taking shots.  My Nikon D40 survived this rainy and blustery day on the trail.  That’s my Nikon Roo story…how do you protect your camera on the trail?

Where are you hiking this weekend?

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

The Thursday Picture – Sometimes you just get lucky

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Sometimes, when I’m out hiking, I have problems with the light, with the sun being in the “wrong place,” or with the really interesting shot being just beyond the range of my lens.

And sometimes, when I’m out hiking, I just lift up my trusty Nikon D40, frame my picture, and press down on the shutter with very little adjustment.

Today’s Thursday Picture courtesy of the North Ridge Trail at the Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve in the Santa Cruz Mountains above San Jose/Silicon Valley.

Where are you hiking this weekend?

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

Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge – Labor Day Hike Photos

As my entry to “Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge,” I humbly submit some pictures from my Labor Day Hike along the Los Gatos Creek Trail and up (and, back down) St. Joseph’s Hill!

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I didn’t bring my trusty Nikon D40 on this hike.  All of these pictures were taken with my iPhone 6.

You too can take this hike.  I started at Vasona Park and made one 7 mile loop down the Los Gatos Creek Trail, climbed up to the top of the Dam at Lexington Reservoir, climbed up St. Joseph’s Hill, and took the Flume Trail back to Los Gatos.  A short hike through a nice neighborhood in Los Gatos will take you back to the Los Gatos Creek Trail.  There are a couple of good climbs (total elevation gain was 650 feet).  I would rate this as a moderate hike.  Bring plenty of water and a snack.

Visit the Santa Clara County Parks site and the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District site for more information!

Where are you going to hike this weekend?

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

The Thursday Picture – Which Way?

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Today’s Thursday Picture, although a bit late, was taken at the Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve off of Skyline Boulevard, in the mountains just west of San Jose/Silicon Valley.

Of course, here I am looking at one of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space Districts excellent trail maps.  I also hike frequently in the Santa Clara County Park System and in the California State Parks.  Both of these agencies produce excellent trail maps also.

Occasionally, I see other hikers who don’t seem to know how to read a map.  They are usually younger and had intended to rely on their cell phone GPS.  Unfortunately, even in many of the parks and preserves in the mountains above urban areas, there is no, or spotty, cell phone coverage!

Personally, my Dad showed me how to read a map waaayyyy back when I was a Boy Scout.  So, I’ve always been comfortable finding my way.  I worry about those folks I run into who are so connected to their phones that they are lost – literally lost – without them.

Where are you hiking this weekend?

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

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The Thursday Picture – High Sierra White Bark Pine

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While hiking along the Pacific Crest Trail to the Tahquitz Peak Fire Lookout in the San Bernardino National Forest this summer, I noticed several pine trees growing from the granite along the ridge trail.  I was particularly drawn to this interesting cluster of young cones surrounded by needles on several of these trees.

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However, I wasn’t sure just what kind of pine tree I was looking at!  Well, I’ve recently become a member of iNaturalist.org (Which is an online site and community for reporting personal observations of any plant or animal species in the world..Hoping that I have the correct tree!.).  I was able to compare my pictures to some pictures on this site to identify the type of tree in my picture.

I also found out that the Whitebark pine is threatened by:

  • an introduced fungal disease called white pine blister rust,
  • outbreaks of mountain pine beetles, and
  • increased competition from shade-loving trees caused by fire suppression
  • climate change

Please check out the Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation for more information and to help this group save this tree that grows in the upper elevations of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

That’s it for now.  We are helping one of our daughter’s get ready to move back to school…so, I better get back to work!

Where are you hiking this weekend?

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

The Thursday Picture – Short and Easy Hike off of the Skyline

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Today’s Thursday Picture was taken on a short hike I took at El Corte de Madera Open Space Preserve off of Skyline Boulevard.

There are well over 30+ miles in this preserve to hike, bike, or ride.  As always, check your trail map before heading down the trail.  Be advised that some trails are closed to use to bikes or horses.

This picture was taken on the Sierra Morena Trail that is just off one of the Mid Peninsula Regional Open Space District’s newer paved parking areas.  Although this hike was short and easy – less than a mile out and back with roughly 500 feet of elevation gain/loss – it passes through a very scenic mixed oak and evergreen part of the preserve.  This is a perfect lunch time hike if you are in the area and want to get outside!

I took this picture with my Canon A710.  As you can see, I continue to struggle where I come across mixed light on partially overcast days.  If you have any tips, please let me know.  I have very thick skin and am eager to become a better outdoor photographer!

Where are you hiking this weekend?

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

The Thursday Picture – Southern Sierra View

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Today’s Thursday Picture was taken from the Tahquitz Peak trail. The views from this trail at about 8,000 feet are fantastic.

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Located in the San Bernardino National Forest and the San Jacinto Wilderness, I took the Devil’s Slide trail from Humber Park up to the Saddle Junction.  From the Saddle Junction, turn south along the Pacific Coast Trail for about 1 1/2 miles.  The trail to the USFS Fire Lookout on the top of Tahquitz Peak is another 1/2 mile up (about an 800 foot climb) where you will be rewarded with a panoramic view of Southern California.

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On this day, from the USFS Fire Lookout, I was able to see the top of Catalina Island down to Palomar Observatory in San Diego!

Because this hike is located in a wilderness area, a USFS Wilderness Permit and an Adventure Pass are required.  Both of these can be picked up at the Idyllwild Ranger Station. One of my favorite hikes in the Southern Sierras!

So, where are you hiking this weekend?

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