The Thursday Picture – Mindego Hill

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Today’s Thursday Picture was taken on the Mindego Hill Trail at the Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

This terrific view looking west towards a fog covered Pacific Ocean over miles of forested coastal mountains is just one of the special places at this preserve.  The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District is set to open yet another open space area this coming March!

On March 30th, a new portion of trail will allows visitors to hike out to the peak of Mindego Hill.  I’ve been looking at this peak for a few years now, wondering when I will get the opportunity to hike out to the peak.  For a quick peak at the Mindego Hill Trail Extension, check out this video shot for Doug McConnell’s “Open Road” television show here.

If you would like more information on how you can take part in the Mindego Hill Trail Extension grand opening, visit the Mindego Hill Grand Opening page here.

I can’t wait to hike out to the Mindego Hill Peak for the great views….and, for a surprise or two!   Moo!

Where are you hiking this weekend?

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

The Weekly Photo Challenge: Close Up

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Close Up.”

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I don’t normally do much Macro Photography…unless, it is a shot of flowers along the trail.  Truthfully, I was hiking in the Russian Ridge OSP back in March and stopped to take some pictures of the field of wildflowers.  This bee was focused on the job at hand…collecting pollen.  It looks like this bee had been collecting pollen for quite a while.  Notice the “pollen basket” on his leg – it’s looks kind of like a goldish football shape.

Anyway, this bee photo bombed my flower shot.  What do you think?

If you are interested in bees, I was able to find some interesting information on the U.C. Berkley Urban Bee Lab web site.

I’m going to be looking for more opportunities to practice my macro photography skills the rest of the summer.

Where are you hiking this weekend?

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Close Up

The Thursday Picture – Bridging the Gap

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Today’s Thursday Picture was taken on hike #8 at the Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve in the Santa Cruz Mountains west of San Jose/Silicon Valley.

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I started out in the new Mindego Hill Parking Lot off of Alpine Road.  This lot and the expanded Ancient Oaks and Charquin Trails really open up this section of the OSP.

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One of the notable features of these trails is the number of new bridges that have been constructed and/or installed on new bridge abutments.

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Lots of gaps needing lots of bridges to open this up to hikers5-DSC_8273What a great new addition to the Russian Ridge OSP for hiking, biking and horse riding!

So, where are you hiking this weekend?

We are taking a trip to Southern California soon.  I’ve got a few ideas about trails to explore in the San Jacinto Mountains…Stay tuned!

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

The Thursday Picture – Foggy Blanket

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Today’s “Thursday Picture” was taken from the Ancient Oaks Trail at the Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve in the Santa Cruz Mountains just west of San Jose/Silicon Valley.

This is actually not an unusual weather pattern for Northern California during the summer.  On some days while hiking at Russian Ridge OSP, you will get a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean.  On other days, you will get a view of a thick blanket of fog that never really goes away all day.  Of course, our magnificent Coast Redwoods prefer the foggy days.  I just enjoy being out on the trail.  I don’t mind the fog at all.

Where are you hiking this weekend?

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

The Thursday Picture – “Z” Ridge Trail

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“Z” Ridge Trail – Taken at Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve in the Santa Cruz Mountains west of San Jose/Silicon Valley.  One of my favorite places to hike in the Bay Area, this trail is also part of the Bay Area Ridge Trail system.

About 350 miles of Bay Area Ridge Trail are currently open to hikers.  Another 200 miles are yet to be developed and opened up.  When done, the Bay Area Ridge Trail will completely circle the entire Bay Area!

Work has been crazy the last several weeks!  My team has been working hard to accomplish some design milestones while also supporting projects in construction.  We’ve also been watching a lot of volleyball lately.  So, between work and volleyball, I haven’t been able to hit the trail a lot.  I’m hoping to do some hiking this weekend.  Hmm, where should I hike?

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

The Thursday Picture – My Break Room on the Trail

1-DSC_5723Today’s Thursday Picture was taken on the Ridge Trail in Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve.  Once again, hiking in the Santa Cruz Mountains of Northern California, I often wonder, “Is this one of best places in the world to live, work and play?”

I plopped down onto the grass, pulled out my trusty Liberty Bottle, dug through my backpack for one of my trail snacks (a PB&J Sandwich), and just enjoyed the view.  I swear, the hills looked greener and the Pacific Ocean looked bluer than in this picture.

Where are you hiking this weekend?

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

Emerald Hills

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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Standing in for the Emerald Hills of Ireland…are the beautiful Santa Cruz Mountains in Northern California.  That’s the view from the Hawk Ridge Trail towards the Pacific Ocean.

These hills actually seemed much greener to me in person than shown in this picture.

Erin Go Bragh!

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