Hike No. 16 – Grizzly Peak Recreation Area – Redwood Challenge Trail

After my mis-adventures on Hike No. 15, I was looking for a nice, simple trail to get my “40 Hikes / 200 Miles” effort back on track.  Luckily, while my family and I were on our southern California Adventure, I was able to do a very short hike on the Redwood Challenge Trail in the Grizzly Peak Recreation Area.DSC_3711

The Grizzly Peak Recreation Area was very crowded with families of all sizes and shapes on this sunny May morning.  You do have to purchase a pass at the front gate.  However, on this day, it didn’t appear that the Ranger’s were checking anybody’s pass.  As I entered the trail head for the Redwood Challenge Trail, I noted that this trail appeared to be paved through out.  I would guess that the heavy use of the trail required that the trail surface needed to be upgraded.  DSC_3674Being knowledgeable about construction, I was surprised to see numerous animal tracks – coyote, beaver, bear – imprinted in the trail!  Evidently, the concrete wasn’t protected after being poured!

The trail did have some great interpretive signs!  DSC_3672But, I was a little shocked that most of the younger hikers that I saw ran right past the signs and continued on down the trail.  Not only were they not pacing themselves, it didn’t appear that any of them were carrying water or any of the ten essentials (1. Map, 2. Compass, 3. Sunglasses and Sunscreen, 4. Extra Clothing, 5. Flashlight, 6. First Aid Supplies, uh, 7. Popcorn, 8. REI Card…well, you get the idea).  I did see some of my fellow hikers wearing sunglasses…a few had extra water.  But, other than that, I appeared to be the only fully equipped hiker.  I could tell from the looks I was getting from my fellow hikers that they wished that they were carrying my full kit.

This trail also provided access to not one, but two fire lookout towers!  I appreciated that there was easy access via stairs to climb the 30 feet to the top of these towers!  DSC_3675Once I reached the top of the towers, the view was pretty magnificent!  However, to continue on the trail, I was faced with cargo net bridges that seemed to be made to grab my size 13 feet and trip me up!  DSC_3681

Note how well the other hikers are able to traverse this bridge!  After falling a couple of times, I am convinced that these younger hikers have some sort of weight advantage that allows them to glide across the trail…

Unfortunately, I am hampered by my ice cream diet and am unlikely to ever again have the same weight advantage…DSC_3688

The trail does provide an excellent trail map and activity manual.  I was a little bit shocked that the ranger at the start of the trail informed me that I exceeded the maximum age allowed to complete some of the challenge trail tasks…DSC_3694here you can see one of the young hikers (they were everywhere!  Silently mocking my height and weight disadvantages!) conquering the face of a granite wall.

The trail had multiple routes one could take.  All of these routes did end up at a cave, “Hibernation Hollow” where each hiker’s native spirit was revealed.  A little hokey…but, the young hiker’s did seem to enjoy it.  DSC_3700Did I mention that my native spirit is the noble wolf?

Although short, the Redwood Challenge Trail was fun and, well, challenging!

I would rate this .5 mile hike as easy.  The trail itself does have several elevation changes of 30+ feet, a mix of both sun and shade, and is very well maintained.  Trail: Redwood Challenge Trail.  Although no Yosemite, I will have to admit that everyone I met on the trail did convey the feeling that is one of the happiest hiking places on earth.

That’s 16 hikes, 89.8 miles and, 1 “race!”  24 hikes and 110.2 miles to go!  Until next time, if you are looking for me, I’m over the hill.

Hike No. 4 – Febuary 16, 2013 – Las Alamitos / Calero Creek Trails

After the “thighmaster” of the Limekiln Trail, I decided to take it a little easy on Hike No. 4!  Just a short drive into San Jose’s Almaden Valley, and I was at the trail head.  The Los Alamitos trail runs along…Los Alamitos Creek, which meanders through a residential section of San Jose.  http://www.sanjoseca.gov/index.aspx?nid=2871

Winter ending on Calero Creek

Winter is beginning to end and many of the trees are just starting to blossom along this well maintained trail…

Los Alamitos Trail Sign Hike No 4

This easy 4.7 mile hike is mostly flat.  This trail in San Jose is really well marked, maintained, and has plenty of parking on gravel lots.  The trail is part of a large network of trails…this trail links up with the Calero Creek trail which I will cover in a later post.

That’s 4 hikes and 21.7 miles….36 hikes and 178.3 miles to go!

A journey of 200 miles begins with the first step…

I read somewhere that one should publicly post your new year’s resolution…

I resolve to go on at least 40 hikes and travel a total distance of 200 miles before the end of 2013. I chose 200 miles because that is just about the distance between our house and one of my favorite places in California, the Yosemite Valley.
Just so I’m clear with you and myself, here is my own version of the fine print:
1. A “hike” is defined as a trek of two miles or longer over unpaved paths, dirt fire roads, paved paths in a park, or a shady trail in the mountains. Hikes to Baskin Robbins, though beneficial, will not be counted towards my total.
2. Each hike must have a definitive end before the next one starts. In other words, I can’t say that I’ve gone on two hikes because I stopped for water at the half way point of a four-mile hike. However, I might go on more than one hike in a day, such as on a camping trip or before and after work. Although, I start work at 6:30 am…I’m not likely to hike that early in the morning!
3. Proof of a hike must be posted on “I’m Over the Hill ” to count. “Proof” is defined as a photo of the trail, and location. I will figure out some way to post my mileage.
I’m getting a bit of a late start…I better get hiking!