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 – National Wildflower Week!

5-DSC_6387I

It’s National Wildflower Week!

1-DSC_6258

You can check out the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on the internet for more information.

3-DSC_6336

To find out what these type of wildflowers these are that I discovered at Pinnacles National Park, check out the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower site.

4-DSC_6360

Where are you hiking to enjoy some wildflowers this weekend?

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

The Thursday Picture – Hiking as the Sun Fades

1-DSC_9911

Taken on an early evening hike at Long Ridge Open Space Preserve on the Long Ridge Trail just about one year ago today.

I had an interesting encounter with a deer on the ridge to the right of this picture while hiking.  It was very late in the day, the sun was heading towards a rest in the Pacific, and I had encountered no other hikers or bikers.  I had a strange feeling that something was watching me as I was hiking back to my car.  When I turned around, there was a deer staring at me.  I don’t carry a zoom lens on my Nikon D40…so, I wasn’t able to get a clear shot of the deer.  As I continued down the trail, I had the same feeling.  Again, when I turned around, there was the same deer, on a ridge looking straight at me.  Maybe it was my imagination, but I swear that the deer was following along as I hiked out of Long Ridge.

Maybe he was wondering just what the heck this hiker was doing so late in the day.  I had the feeling that he was urging me to get going so that the natives could have their park back for the night.  Do Black Tailed Deer have a Neighborhood Watch program?

I think that it is time for another early evening hike at Long Ridge OSP.  I wonder if I will see the big guy again?

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

The Thursday Picture – Mountain Creek amongst Redwoods

1-IMG_0026

This week’s Thursday picture was taken at Thornewood Open Space Preserve in the Santa Cruz Mountains of Northern California.  Just a short drive from Palo Alto, this small OSP is another quick get away for folks living in Silicon Valley to easily escape their cubicles and walk among the Redwoods.

This was also my first hike of 2015.  As you may recall in one of my earlier posts, one of my goals for 2015 was to hike in any of the Mid Peninsula Regional Open Space District lands that I have not explored yet.  This was my first time hiking in Thornewood OSP and, although the trails are relatively short, I had a great time hiking through some second growth redwoods and meeting a lot of fellow hikers who brought along their four legged friends.  Yes, Thornewood OSP is a dog friendly park!

So, if you’re near Palo Alto and want to take Rex for a nice hike through the woods, I would highly recommend Thornewood OSP!

Ruff!

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

Re-Springing Your Step

Today’s “Blogging 101” writing prompt is “Re-Springing Your Step.”

I really feel the need to re-spring my step right now…I’ve been fighting a bad head cold for the past 6 days.

1-DSC_3202

Yuck! I had hoped to be able to go on a hike this three day weekend. Unfortunately, I’ve been stuck at home watching tv or sleeping….and, just feeling terrible. Thank goodness, my wife Janet is my patient nurse. I know that I tend to get very grouchy when I’m sick. I’m just so thankful that Janet keeps the chicken soup and the hot tang (and, ice cream) coming and puts up with me when I’m sick!

Because this is my hiking blog, the first thing that comes to my mind when thinking of the last thing that left me feeling energized and rejuvenated was my December hike at Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve . I was on the Sierra Vista Trail that overlooked a deep canyon where the Upper Penitencia Creek flows down to San Jose. The drop here is about 700 feet…so, it is fairly steep. Funny, I am afraid of heights…but, trails like this one don’t really ever bother me. Of course, the Santa Clara Open Space Authority does a great job at keeping this trail maintained so that it is perfectly safe for hikers young and old.

1-IMG_6056

As I stopped to admire the view of the bright green Diablo Range, I looked up above me and saw a red-tailed hawk lazily circling over the valley.

1-DSC_4037

For me, moments in nature like this encounter with the red tailed hawk while looking over the beautiful, green Diablo Range are one of the moments that energize and rejuvenate me when I’m out on the trail.

What is “Re-Springing Your Step?”

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

“I only went out for a walk…, for going out, I found, was really going in.”- John Muir

1-Whitney Trail

I’m just not one of those people who stands up on a table on New Year’s Eve and loudly makes big resolutions for the coming year.

However, I am a believer in publishing my goals for the year and posting them in public…so that my friends can hold my feet to the fire when I haven’t posted about another hike in a while.

I would also like to acknowledge Sue’s Trail Hiker blog for writing entertaining posts about hiking in California and for giving me the idea to keep track of my training hikes.  If you know me well at all, I will some times choose a big bowl of rocky road ice cream over a 4 mile hike on a “cold and stormy night.” Ha!

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 that I have not yet visited and explore more trails in the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority lands!

I agree with Mr. Muir, for going out, I have found, I am really going in.

Where are you hiking this weekend?

Lots of trails in Mt San Jacinto State Park!  Signpost at 9700 feet

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