Natural Lines - Calaveras Fault Trail

Natural Lines – Calaveras Fault Trail

Photo 101: Natural World & Leading Lines.

I took this picture at the Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve in the hills above San Jose, California.  The vertical line of the small stream is clearly visible.  If you look closely, one can see horizontal lines across most of the hillside. Natural erosion caused by the lack of vegetation on this hillside.

If you’re looking for a fantastic place to hike, Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve offers over 14 miles of trails a very short drive from the Silicon Valley!

This picture was taken with my trusty – and, light – Nikon D40.

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

The Thursday Picture – My Lunch Time Urban Hike

Tower Hall and SW Washington Square AreaThis week’s Thursday Picture is a view I get to see 2-3 times a week!  This is Tower Hall on the campus of San Jose State University.  The first public university in California is the location of my 1 mile lunch time hike.  I work in downtown San Jose amidst Silicon Valley folks hustling here and there.  The downtown campus of San Jose State is a great oasis of calm in an otherwise busy day.  I’ve been nursing a knee injury and have been unable to hit the mountains near home.  So, my lunch time hike, on nice flat ground, has been my only chance to get away.

Does anyone else take a hike on their lunch?

Until next time, if you’re looking for me, I’m over the hill.



Hike No 9 – Fremont Older OSP – Several Trails!

Cupertino, California is most famous today for being the home of Apple Computer and Hewlett Packard…legends of high tech Silicon Valley.  But, take a drive west on Prospect Rd., up into the hills overlooking Cupertino, and you will find yourself in the country at Fremont Older Open Space Preserve.

Fremont Older and his wife Cora settled here on these rolling hills in 1914.  Fremont was the Managing Editor of the San Francisco Bulletin, and was known as a famous Populist newspaperman in his day.  If you are interested, more on Fremont can be found here:

Of course, my reason for being at Fremont Older OSP was to hike and explore this scenic part of Silicon Valley.  I parked at the very end of Prospect Road, grabbed a map at the Trailhead, chatted with a couple of the Rangers who were heading out to patrol, and headed up on the Cora Older Trail through a stand of Oaks trees and wildflowers.

Cora Older TrailCora’s trail climbed up 200 feet for about 1/2 of a mile to the junction of the Seven Springs Trail.  At this point, I left the shadows of the Oaks and was hiking on bright green, rolling hills – former hay fields.  Wild flowers were sprinkled on both sides of the trail.  Well, I wanted to get to Hunters Point to check out the view, so I turned left at the junction and proceeded on first the Hayfield trail and then the Ranch Road trail.  I did stop along the way and took some pictures of the flowers along the trail…here’s one of my “best”…IMG_0666

After another 1/2 mile or so, I reached Hunter’s Point…I didn’t see any big game to bag…actually, the only thing that I saw to hunt was $10 million giant homes spread out to the east.  Oh well, I would have to keep climbing to get a better view.  Heading west, I hiked across the rolling hills and met several other families who were enjoying the day. While taking another break to try and capture a lizard on camera, I turned around and saw the Silicon Valley spreading out below me…From Hayfield TrailI also saw several California Golden Poppies along the trail as I headed to yet another trail named after Coyote’s…The Coyote Ridge Trail.  I hope you have a map in hand…because the Coyote Ridge trail is pleasant hike along the ridge that gradually starts to drop…over 600 feet in a little over a mile.  This trail ends up at Stevens Creek County Park if you want to explore that park.  At the bottom of the hill, I turned around and hiked back up the Coyote Ridge Trail and those 600 feet.  I was rewarded with more great views from the top of the ridge!  If you continue south on the ridge trail you will climb to the top of Maisie’s Peak…but, that would have to wait for another day.  I took the Toyon Trail at the fork – turn left – which is shared with horses…I heard several riders on horseback behind me while hiking on this trail…but, never saw one!  This trail travels through densely packed native oaks, toyon, and a large stand of eucalyptus trees!  Because of a rain shower earlier in the week, the trail had a deep earthy, damp smell.  The smells of the damp earth, the squish of my boots on the muddy trail, the toyon bushes and the native oaks transported me back in time to when I was a Boy Scout hiking at Camp Stuart…nearly…yikes…40 years ago!  Those happy memories carried me the rest of the way back down the hill and to my car.Fremont Older OS Hike No 9  20130401

I would rate this 5.5 mile hike as easy/moderate.  There are a couple of sections of fairly steep climbs…particularly on the Coyote Ridge Trail.  The views particularly along the Hayfield trail are quite peaceful.  Of course, the Toyon Trail has some sort of mystical power…perhaps you will have the same experience if you try hiking here!  Bring a map…there are several short trails that are interconnected.  My route combined a couple of out and backs and one big loop!  Trails: Cora Older > Seven Springs > Hayfield > Hunters Point > Hayfield again > Coyote Ridge > Toyon > Hayfield > Cora Older

That’s 9 hikes and 55.2 miles…31 hikes and 144.8 miles to go!

Hike No. 5 – February 24, 2013 – Hill/PG&E Trails

My last hike was fun…and easy.  So, for Hike No. 5, I decided to challenge myself with the PG&E Trail in the Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve.  I used this trail to help me train for Mt. Whitney in the past.  The trail is one, long, seemingly unending climb through Oak forests along a fire road… Upper PG&E Trail...on and on and on...

There are some great views of Silicon Valley, San Jose, and, on this clear day, downtown San Francisco in the distance!

Silicon Valleys Sea of Trees

That’s Moffett Field and NASA Ames in the middle left.  Under that sea of trees is Silicon Valley and San Jose…big city with a lot of trees!

This Moderate-Difficult trail of 9.9 miles (up and back) gains about 1,200 feet in about 5 miles during the most challenging portion.  75% of the trail is exposed…so, wear a hat and carry lots of water.

I'd like to thank everyone involved in Hike No. 5...especially my wife Janet.

That’s 5 hikes and 31.6 miles…35 hikes and 168.4 miles to go!