The Thursday Picture: Sun on the Grinder


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.



View from My Truck – Driving to the Clouds


My entry in the Daily Post “Landscape” 

Driving through the La Honda Creek Open Space Preserve checking on the condition of some of our ranch roads.  I took this shot while I waited for a colleague to check on another road just before we reached the top of this hill.  On the other side of the hill, we could clearly see the Pacific Ocean.  I like this shot because of the contrast in the colors.  I did not boost the color at all!

This is Northern California cattle country.  Although, in this shot, only a lone hawk could be seen from this road.

This preserve can be accessed by obtaining a permit here.

Where are you hiking this weekend?

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



The Thursday Picture – Stand Still!


Today’s Thursday Picture was taken at Santa Teresa County Park in San Jose’s Almaden Valley.

This Calypte Anna (Anna’s Hummingbird) perched on spent wildflower right as I started hiking up the steep switch backs of the Stile Ranch Trail.  As I switched lenses…this scrappy guy kept shifting on his perch…


I think he must have been protecting his territory…


Stand still will you buddy!

Santa Teresa County Park is one of my favorite places to hike in the winter and spring.  There are many birds and wildflowers, rolling green hills, and interesting vistas not far at all from busy San Jose/Silicon Valley.


So, where are you hiking this weekend?

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

The Weekly Photo Challenge: Vibrant


The Weekly Photo Challenge: Vibrant

I took this week’s photo challenge shot at Rancho Canada del Oro in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains just south of San Jose’s Almaden Valley.  These berries are on a California Native, the Heteromeles arbutifolia !  Commonly known as the Toyon bush, or, sometimes, Christmas Berry, I see this native plant probably every time I go hiking in the Santa Cruz Mountains.  Rancho Canada del Oro is just 30 miles from Levi’s Stadium!

If you look really closely, you will see that I was photobombed while on the trail!

So, where are you hiking this upcoming Super Bowl Weekend?

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




The Thursday Picture – Fluorescent Forest



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.




The Thursday Picture – Oak Hugs


Today’s Thursday Picture was taken on the Wildcat Loop Trail in the Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve.  I like how these Oak trees seem to reach over to give passing hikers a reassuring hug.   They seem to be saying, “It’s ok.  Keep on going…you’re almost to the Rogue Valley!”

Of course, as a young boy, these trees would probably scare me.  I can picture myself riding with my sisters and brother on a doom buggy through the dark forest in the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland.  The trees reach over at you, threatening to pluck you out of the ride!  Yikes!

Well, that’s the first mention of one of my favorite places to visit;  Disneyland….not the dark forest.

Where are you hiking this weekend?

I’m very close to reaching my hiking goals that I set for myself way back in January.  So, if you’re looking for me, I’m over the hill.




52 Hike Challenge


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.


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.