Photo 101 – Lone Oak


Today’s Photo 101 Assignment:  Solitude & the Rule of Thirds

I took this shot at Santa Teresa County Park while hiking on the Rocky Ridge Trail.  Yes, the trail is appropriately named!  This was on a hike back in November before the rainy season began here in Northern California.  I was actually trying to use the “rule of thirds” as I composed this shot by placing the lone oak in the upper right of the picture and the serpentine boulders in the lower left.

I also wanted to emphasize the blue sky and the Santa Cruz Mountains in the background against the dry ridge.

This is a great place to hike.  The wildflowers in the spring in this park are spectacular.

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

Hike No. 7 – March 10, 2013 – Coyote Peak Trails / Santa Teresa County Park

At the end of Hike No. 6, I noticed that the Calero Trail ended just a short distance, maybe 300 feet, from Santa Teresa County Park and the many trails located in this 1,600+ acre park.

The trailhead at the Fortini Rd. park entrance, in San Jose’s Almaden Valley, is well marked and offers two trails.  Grab a map from the trailhead information sign and bear left to enter the Stile Ranch Trail.  The trail climbs steeply for 300 feet of switchbacks.  There were quite a few California Golden poppys scattered on both sides of the trail.

Wildflowers are starting to bloom! Stile Ranch Trail, Santa Teresa County Park

While doing some research the night before my trek, I discovered that this trail and the Mine Trail in Santa Teresa County Park are part of the National Park Service’s Juan Batista de Anza National Historic Trail!  Read here for more information on this historic trail and the Spanish explorer it is named after:

After a little over 1 1/2 miles, bear right and continue on the Mine Trail. Keeping in mind that my goal was to climb to the top of Coyote Peak, I continued on the Mine Trail (another 1/2 mile), past a corral at the Pueblo Day Use Area, on to the junction with the Hidden Springs Trail (another 1/2 mile) and then on to the Ohlone Trail for a mile.  All of these trails are fairly flat…no more than 50 – 100 feet of elevation gain.  At the junction with the Coyote Peak Trail bear right and start climbing.  This section of the trail climbs about 800 feet in a little over a mile.  The view from the top is well worth the climb.  Check out the view west from Coyote Peak towards the Almaden Valley:

View of Rocky Ridge and Almaden Valley from Coyote Peak

There are several benches to rest, grab some water, and enjoy the view from the peak.  I continued west down the Coyote Peak trail until it reached another junction with the Rocky Ridge Trail…This trail is 2 miles of serpentine rocks and wildflowers…with amazing views!

Rocky Ridge Trail, Santa Teresa County Park, Hike No. 7

The hike through Big Oak Valley and down back to the Mine Trail was postcard perfect:

View down Big Oak Valley, Santa Teresa County Park, Hike No. 7

As I continued on the Mine Trail and then the Fortini Trail to the trail head, I promised myself I would return to Santa Teresa County Park in the future.

I’d rate this 8.0 mile hike as moderate. Approx. 1,100 feet elevation gain…So, there are enough steep sections to make this a good workout.  The wildflowers are abundant…and, just starting to bloom.  I probably saw 35 mountain bikers, 15 hikers, and 6 horses on my 3 hour hike.  Every one I came across was friendly and used proper trail etiquette!  The views of Almaden Valley, Big Oak Valley, the Diablo Range, and, in the distance, downtown San Jose were spectacular.  Not a lot of shade…so bring a hat, sunscreen, and plenty of water.  Get a Map to follow my rambling route…Trails: Stile Ranch > Mine > Hidden Springs > Coyote Peak > Rocky Ridge > Fortini

That’s 7 hikes and  43.9 miles…33 hikes and 156.1 miles to go!



Hike No. 6 – March 3, 2013 – Calero Creek Trail / County Park

After another tough hike (No. 5), I am mixing it up again with Hike No. 6.  The Calero Creek Trail is another trail in the City of San Jose’s very good trail network.  The trailhead is located near the end of Los Alamitos Creek Trail in San Jose’s Almaden Valley.  This trail is also part of the Bay Area Ridge Trail which is a system of over 340 miles of trails that ring the Bay Area.  Calero Creek part of Bay Area Ridge Trail

The Calero Creek Trail crosses through the rural southern edge of San Jose.  The trail is easy and travels through pasture land, through IBM’s Almaden Research facility land (although the buildings are not visible from the trail), over a smaller creek, and finishes up by climbing a few hundred feet  near Santa Teresa County Park.  The first couple of miles are on well marked, paved paths…the last couple of miles are well marked – but, are dirt paths.  The 4.3 mile out and back was perfect hike for me…it would be a great hike for families.

All Trails lead over the hill Hike No 6

Critters watching me pass on by…

Calero Creek Trail Critters!

This trail links up with several outstanding trails in Santa Teresa County Park.  Yes, I will have to try out these trails on another day!

That’s 6 hikes and 35.9 total miles…34 hikes and 164.1 miles to go!