Spending our time untethering the mind, getting the fidgets out, exploring the in-between ideas, and learning kintsugi.

Trails of Russian Ridge, Dec 2022

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Highest point of mid Santa Cruz mountain. The view includes the big fat Mt Diablo.

Over last weekend, we completed two hikes. The first one started from the charming Mindego Hill trail parking by the Audrey Rust commemorative site. We traversed the relatively flat Ancient Oaks Trail, went down Charquin Trail and then climbed up the steep Mindego Hill Trail. Earlier in the spring, we had hiked along Ancient Oaks trail and it was covered with poppies. Last time, we had been on Mindego Hill trail, it was under fog cover and had very little visibility. The second hike started by the main parking lot and we did an out and back on the Ridge trail.

Somewhere on Ancient Oaks trail. In spring, the trail is covered with bright orange Californian poppies.
One of the Canyon Live Oak trees near Bo Gimbal intersection, these old growth trees are expected to have be around since the 1700s.

In this article in Bay Nature Magazine, I learned that the Canyon Live Oak (Quercus chrysolepis or Maul Oak) on Ancient Oaks Trail dates back to 1700s. Here on Russian Ridge, the trees are multi trunk and massive. Unlike the more common Coast Live Oak (Quercus agrifolia or California Live Oak), whose leaves are serrated, these have long oval leaves. Up here, they are fortunate to get both winter rain and summer fog, the extra water, together with abundant sunshine, has supported a number of these giants. They are also exceptionally hard, dense wood was once used to make maul heads for splitting lumber. And compared to the Redwoods, they are curved and bent, and the yield on broad straight feet is narrow. All these factors have gone into their good health and long life. The only remaining health concern are us human hikers. The trunks are low enough to make it easy to climb. And it is easy to drag pathogens of sudden oak death from nearby Bay trees.

US Coast and Geodetic Survey benchmark on Borel Hill. This marker indicates a triangulation station and the triangle marks the center. Each station has a PID (Permanent IDentifier), a unique 6-character code that can be used to call up a National Geodetic Survey datasheet describing that station. The PID of this station is not visible here, perhaps it is on the back of the benchmark. The hobby of hunting these survey benchmarks is called “benchmarking”!
Classic view of the west from the ridge top
End of the ridge trail at the private property line

Written by locomotoring

December 23, 2022 at 8:09 pm

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

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