Locomotoring

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Archive for the ‘USA’ Category

Alambique Trail in Wunderlich, Sep 2022

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An old growth redwood along the Alambique trail

The Alambique Trail is a 4.7 mile service road that starts near the main parking lot and climbs 1400 ft to the Skyline Blvd. We had covered the first 0.7 miles of Alambique trail in April. Last weekend, we had traversed 1.7 miles of the upper end of the Alambique. This warm weekend, we were lucky to find a parking spot at this popular Folger stable. We met at least a dozen other diverse groups on the trail, a few solitary runners, groups of octogenarians on a slow and steady climb, a group of girls on horses and a few young families pushing baby prams.

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Written by locomotoring

September 28, 2022 at 7:08 pm

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

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Lost Coast Trail South, Aug 2022

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Lost Coast Trail on Chemise Mountain. It is dry, the manzanitas are stunted and gnarly, the lower branches of the conifers are devoid of leaves, the floor is a thick pile of dry leaves.

This was a total of five mile hike, out and back, and a climb of 800-1000 feet. The hike is part of the Lost Coast Trail South. We started from Wailaki campground, climbed up Chemise Mountain to Lost Coast trail, walked half a mile past the Chinquapin Trail junction. The entire day at Shelter Cove was foggy, but the fog didn’t get to the Chemise mountain top. This was also our last hike this trip and the most spectacular one. We had originally intended to start this hike at the Hidden Valley interpretative tail, but eventually chose the Wailaki campground for the ease of parking. The drive on Chemise Mountain road from Shelter Cove Road to Wailaki campground is exceedingly pretty. And again, like the Hidden Valley interpretive trail, we had this trail to ourselves.

We have been hiking frequently in Bay Area this year and a typical Bay Area hike is through the chaparrals, manzanitas, coastal oak, and madrone. The hiking paths are commonly trod upon, the signs are plentiful and the trail is a shared space with many others. The air smells sweet from California Bay. Here on the lost coast, the tree species is shifted towards the conifers but otherwise familiar. What is noticeable is the fact that the trails are far less trod upon and far less friendly to inexpert hikers. Shoes scrunch and slip on piles of dry leaves. Under the leaves lay gnarly roots that can make your footing unsteady. The sense of isolation is made even more complete when loud bird cries fill the air and the air smells of nothing.

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Written by locomotoring

August 19, 2022 at 5:21 am

Hidden Valley Interpretive Trail, Aug 2022

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A surprising little mountain prairie

According to Bureau of Land Management (BLM) map of King Range Conservation Area, Hidden Valley was the homestead of one of Shelter Cove’s first white settler, Frank McKee. Frank bought 160 acres from US government in 1876 and BLM purchased the land in 1981. The Hidden Valley Interpretive Trail, at the intersection of Shelter Cove Road and Chemise Mountain Road, is approximately 1.8 miles, and provides a surprising view of a mountain valley prairie. There is a gentle climb up, about two hundred feet. We were the only visitor on the trail that afternoon.

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Written by locomotoring

August 19, 2022 at 5:01 am

Black Sands Beach, Aug 2022

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Black Sands Beach in Shelter Cove, part of Lost Coast Trail

We drove up from Bay Area to Shelter Cove for a few days to catch the ocean and the night sky. We binge watched the Great British Baking show, watched the Pacific Ocean from the comfort of the living room of our AirBnB and hiked a few hikes in the Humboldt County. The first one had to be part of the Lost Coast trail by the beach.

We started from Black Sands Beach trailhead near us, and walked up north to where Horse Mountain Creek runs to the beach. It is only about a couple of miles from the trailhead and protected from the rise of tides. Thankfully, the fog was minimal that morning which we later realized wasn’t to be taken for granted, the rest of our days were shrouded in fog. The sand is indeed black, the stones are black and they eventually grind down to the black sand. The ocean waves are strong and the white foam of the crashing waves dazzle against the black sand. Our going was slow, no more than 2 miles an hour, our boots sank in the sand or clattered on the rocks. It is monotonously beautiful meeting of ocean, rocks and sky. Sounds of crashing waves and sea gulls filled the air. The sea air filled our lungs and where there was sea weed left behind by waves, the smell grew stronger. Our monotonous view was broken a few times by creeks coming down the mountain, these formed small waterfalls before disappearing into the sand and leaving behind colorful green, yellow and orange algae in their path.

Periodically, we sat down on a bleached driftwood and shook out the sand and pebbles from our shoes. We met a few other hikers on our way, a couple of day hikers going south to north like us and a handful of back packers were wrapping up their north to south lost coast pilgrimage.

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Written by locomotoring

August 19, 2022 at 4:40 am

Edgewood Park, Jul 2022

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Small white daisy like flowers, hayfield tarweed, in bloom all along Edgewood and Ridgeview between trail markers 9, 13, and 15. The plants are spindly and their leaves are barely noticeable. The air is strongly perfumed with a lilac/lavender smell.

It is another cool day here in Bay Area and Edgewood beckoned us yet again. Right after our last hike to the park, a fire (6/21-6/26) had burned down 20 acres (of a total of 467 acres). The incident caused power outage for nearly 9000 residents and caused significant havoc to Stanford University campus. We were, thankfully, untouched and are grateful that the fire damage is minimal. This park is a little gem, with its native wildflower diversity – note the section on Fight to Save Edgewood from Friends of Edgewood Preserve and the wildflower survey.

Today, we started the hike at the park entrance on Edgewood road, and from trail marker 1, we first walked 1.2 miles on Edgewood trail to marker 13, then 0.2 miles on Ridgeview trail to marker 15, another 0.2 miles on Franciscan Trail to marker 12, then 0.5 miles on Live Oak Trail to marker 17, then 0.6 miles on the Ridgeview Trail to marker 13, then 0.1 miles on Edgewood Trail to marker 9, then 0.3 miles on Serpentine Trail to marker 10, and the final 0.7 miles on Old Stage Road to the parking lot. A total of about 3.8 miles.

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Written by Sachin

August 1, 2022 at 2:12 am

Posted in USA

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Pescadero Creek Loop, Jul 2022

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Forest floor of Pescadero Creek loop – redwood sorrels

We followed the recommendations from POST. It was a surprisingly quiet hike. For the first 5 miles, we saw only five other people. Right at the end, there was a large group of 20-30 people on a docent led tour. Portions of the Pescadero county park were still closed due to the 2020 fires. The coyote ridge trail looked neglected. The creek had dried up. The Pomponio trail was perhaps my favorite with its forest of sorrels.

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Written by Sachin

July 24, 2022 at 4:47 am

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

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Purisima Creek Trail, Jul 2022

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The best bits of Purisima Creek trail – second growth redwoods, sound of creek and lush vegetation

Starting at the Higgins Road Trailhead southeast of Half Moon Bay, we climbed the Purisma trail all the way to Skyline trailhead (nearly) and then climbed back, a total distance of about 7 miles and net elevation gain of about 1000 ft. As promised, the Higgins Road Trailhead parking lot was busy, we ended up parking illegally and picked up a parking fine. The first mile is relatively flat and simply glorious for the senses, with the gentle sound of water and dappled sunlight. And I simply love walking under the redwoods, the layers of fallen needles on the ground form a gentle cushion for the foot. Over a decade ago, we had tried this trail from the skyline trailhead and perhaps never made it all the way to the to the creek.

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Written by Sachin

July 24, 2022 at 4:20 am

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

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Service roads of Huddart Park, Jul 2022

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PG&E lines through the park

Huddart is the closest park to us with second growth redwoods. It offers cool trails in the summers, is well marked and is welcoming with its numerous picnic spaces. This Fourth of July weekend, it continued to be cold and foggy, so we chose an unexpected summer hike through its service roads. From Zwierlein Picnic Area to Richards Road Trail to Toyon Group Camps and down back on Campground Trail. On the Huddart Park map, it is trail junctions 21 to 26 to 6 to 19 to 17 to 21. We had intended to climb all the way to Skyline Blvd on Richards Road, but the path was closed due to flood damage.

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Written by Sachin

July 4, 2022 at 9:26 pm

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

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A foggy day on Mindego Hill, Jul 2022

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A foggy day on Fourth of July weekend, pasture space of Mindego Hill

Mindego Hill is a POST recommended hike for month of June. As one of the highest points in the area, Mindego Hill has amazing 360-degree views (see hiking photos by Hiking Shenandoah). We spent our hike with Karl the Fog. It also meant we had the trail to ourselves – more or less. It is an out and back trail. The parking lot on Alpine road and the Mindego Summit are about the same height. The first half a mile is a steep downhill. The last mile is a gentle climb on a narrow path on cow pasture. Apparently, Mindego Hill is underlain by basalt, Miocene-age volcanic rock. The basalt has high water holding capacity and stable structure which supports good forage.

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Written by Sachin

July 4, 2022 at 7:31 pm

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

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Wilbur’s watch, Jun 2022

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The lookout

Wilbur’s watch is a short 1 mile trek up to a set of benches with view Cloverdale coastal ranches with panoramic views from Montara Mountain, Ano Nuevo, Franklin Point, Gazos Creek, Whaler’s cove and Pigeon Point. According to POST, it is one of the largest coastal terrace prairie plant community, a rare ecosystem.

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Written by Sachin

July 4, 2022 at 6:45 pm

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

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Edgewood Park, a cloudy day in June 2022

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The quintessential park – grasslands, chaparrals, Bay views

Edgewood is our neighborhood county park, the one whose trails and flora we are trying to learn by heart. It claim to fame are its wildflowers. This hike is not fun on a hot summer day, but this weekend in June, it was cloudy and not crowded, turning the hike into an unexpected summer surprise. This time, we started at the Sunset trailhead where parking is less challenging. From junction sign 21, we took the detour on Clarkia; then at 22, we got back on Sunset; at 13, we took Ridgewood; at 15, Franciscan; at 12, Live Oak; at 17, we walked up the hill to enjoy the view; and then took Ridgewood back to Sunset trail. The entire hike is a little more than 3 miles and no more than 200 ft of climb. Between junction signs 15 and 12 on Franciscan trail, there was a profusion of coyote mint. And monkey flowers were in bloom throughout.

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Written by Sachin

June 13, 2022 at 8:21 pm

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

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Pulgas Ridge Preserve, June 2022

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From the top of Dusky-footed Woodrat Trail

Pulgas Ridge Preserve is another beautiful open space in our neighborhood! From the parking lot, we took the Cordilleras Trail to Dusky-footed Woodrat Trail to Hassler Trail to Dick Bishop Trail to Blue Oak Trail returning back to the parking lot, a total of 3.8 miles. Elevation change is no more than 400 ft. Much of the climb up is through the woods and rather pretty. The park is dog friendly, and the dogs were all clearly excited to be there. Monkey flowers were in bloom everywhere. It does get a bit noisy for about a third of a mile when Dusky-footed Woodrat Trail gets close to Hwy 280.

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Written by Sachin

June 5, 2022 at 5:17 am

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

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El Corte de Madera Creek Preserve, May 2022

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A typical view on this trail

This park is a recommendation from Peninsula Trails by Jean Rushmore, Frances Spangle and Betsy Crowder. The trailhead is about 100 ft north of the Skeggs Point parking lot. It is a wonderful park for summer. The trail we followed was approximately 4.4 miles by the park map and 6.1 miles by wearable devices. It took us through El Corte de Madera Creek trail to Resolution trail to Fir trail to Tafoni trail back. El Corte de Madera Creek is mostly redwoods. Fir trail is mostly Douglas firs and madrones. We hung about the picnic bench near the Resolution Aircraft Memorial and did a quick detour to see the Tafoni sandstone formation. Resolution trail is interestingly rocky, makes you think you are elsewhere, like in Joshua Tree NP and seemingly popular with bikers.

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Written by Sachin

June 4, 2022 at 9:12 pm

Posted in USA

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San Bruno Mountain, May 2022

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A foggy morning on Summit Loop trail, a lonely bench

The recommendation for San Bruno Mountain Summit Loop Trail came from the book Peninsula Trails by authors Jean Rushmore, Frances Spangle and Betsy Crowder. On a fogless day, you can see a lot – Daly City, Colma, the Pacific Ocean, and the Santa Cruz Mountains, San Francisco, the Bay Bridge, Oakland, Mount Diablo, and the San Francisco Bay, planes taking off from San Francisco International Airport – you can also see all this without hiking by simply parking at the San Bruno Ridge Trail parking lot.

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Written by Sachin

May 29, 2022 at 6:37 pm

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

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Wunderlich County Park, Apr 2022

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Salamander Flat

An approximately 5 mile hike in Wunderlich County Park, starting at the Alambique Nature Trail, going clockwise via Meadow Trail, Bear Gulch Trail, Redwood Trail, and back to the parking lot via Madrone Trail. The Meadow Trail is unshaded in large parts. Alambique is dappled shade. Bear Gulch, Redwood Trail and Madrone are well shaded. Going clockwise, both Alambique and Meadow are mostly uphill. The trail starts going down on Bear Gulch and continues downhill all the way to the parking lot. At the top of Meadow Trail, there is a clear view of the Bay including Stanford campus and the dish. On a hot day, it may be easier going counter-clockwise where the uphill is cool and shaded. Jane Huber of BAHiker likes this trail in the autumn when she says that the ground is dry and the foliage is gorgeous.

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Written by Sachin

May 1, 2022 at 2:03 am

Posted in California, USA

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Jean Lauer Trail, April 2022

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The artifacts of US Air Force base visible from much of the trail

Jean Lauer trail is short coastal hike in Pillar Point Bluff County Park. It is a flat and mostly accessible trail. We went walkabout a bit beyond the main trail. Wildflowers from mustard family were in bloom.

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Written by Sachin

April 25, 2022 at 9:23 am

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

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Walk in the woods, Apr 2022

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Somewhere near Little Basin Road off of CA Route 236

We had intended to do the Eagle Rock trail. When we reached the designated parking, we found it closed. We walked about a bit, for a mile or so, searching for the trail, and eventually realized we were on someone’s private land. We were puzzled and decided to head out. Once we got out, we noticed a sign saying that the campground was closed due to hazardous conditions from 2020 fires. Silly us, it took us a while to realize we weren’t getting a prize here – a trail all to our ourselves!

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Written by Sachin

April 25, 2022 at 5:30 am

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

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Thornewood Open Space Preserve, Apr 2022

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Looking up on Bridle trail

First, we did the Schilling Lake trail recommended by POST. The parking lot on La Honda only has space for six cars and is often overcrowded on weekends, it helped us that this was the Tax weekend as well as the Easter weekend. On our way back, we decided to explore the Bridle trail. This trail is almost entirely shaded by Redwoods. Overall, approximately 3.5 miles and elevation change of approximately 400 ft. The trails go along streams and small waterfalls and could be nice, albeit cold, in winter. It had rained yesterday and portions of the trail were a little muddy.

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Written by Sachin

April 18, 2022 at 6:46 am

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

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Calero Park from Rancho Cañada del Oro, April 2022

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Field of vetch under an oak tree

From the same parking spot as Rancho Cañada del Oro, this 4 mile hike is through the neighboring Calero Park, following Longwall Canyon to Needlegrass to Bald Peaks trail to Little Llagas Creek trail. This is part of the POST recommended Rancho Cañada del Oro hike, with the climb going up the wrong way, on the shorter and exposed Needlegrass trail. The only shaded portion of the hike is the Little Llagas Creek trail. Top of Needlegrass has stunning views of the mountains and if one knows where to look, the view of Loma Prieta, the highest peak in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Although we were too winded to appreciate. Note to self – pay attention to trail markers next time. This time again, after the hike, we took our lunch on one of the benches on Whole Access Llagas Creek Loop Trail looking at the field of lupines and vetches and poppies.

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Written by Sachin

April 10, 2022 at 7:08 pm

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

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Windy Hill Hike, April 2022

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On the way down from the summit

We followed the recommended POST hike, from Spring Ridge Trail to the Hamm’s Gulch Trail, to Bay Area Ridge Trail, and the Anniversary Trail to reach the summit and a descent via the Spring Ridge trail to the Betsy Crowder Trail. We saw a number of new flower species on Hamm’s Gulch. The trail was all shaded until we reached the end of Hamm’s Gulch and then it is almost entirely exposed until Betsy Crowder trail. This direction is a whole lot more pleasant than going up Spring Ridge and coming down Hamm’s Gulch.

It is not common to have a trail named Betsy, it is named after local conservation activist Elizabeth “Betsy” Swann Crowder.

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Written by Sachin

April 8, 2022 at 12:00 am

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

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Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve, March 2022

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What a beauty! This is on the Ancient Oaks Trail near Bo Gimbal Trail intersection.

Followed the POST recommended 3.6 mile trail from the Ridge Trail, to the Ancient Oaks Trail to the Charquin Trail back to the Ridge Trail. The parking lot was full and we parked by Highway 35. The wildflower season was at its peak.

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Written by Sachin

April 7, 2022 at 11:31 pm

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

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Rancho Cañada del Oro, March 2022

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An exceptionally beautiful park in spring.

While we had intended to do the 5.8 mile Bald Peaks trail recommended by POST, we accidentally ended up on the 4.3 mile Mayfair-Longwall canyon loop trail. The climb took us through Blue Oak woodlands. It was stunningly beautiful. Occasionally we would see signs for cattle grazing. We found ourselves discussing how the land might have been before the settlers.

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Written by Sachin

April 7, 2022 at 10:00 pm

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

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Hiking Edgewood Park, March 2022

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Near Clarkia Trailhead

This is one of the best places to see wildflowers and it is in our neighborhood park too. We have walked this park dozens of times, from the main park entrance or Sunset trailhead, but this time we started from Clarkia trailhead. We followed Clarkia to Sunset to Ridgeview to Franciscan to Live Oak to Serpentine back to Sunset and Clarkia (23, 22, 14, 13, 15, 12, 17, 20, 22).

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Written by Sachin

March 26, 2022 at 7:12 pm

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

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Hiking Huddart Park, March 2022

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Huddart Park is a lovely park for picnic and the wooded trails are great on a summer day. The trails are uneven dirt trails, but in Redwood forests, trails are always easy on your feet. At this time of the year, the streams carry water and delicate green ferns grow by the trails. We did a short hike around the Zwierlein picnic area following Crystal Spring Trails, Canyon Trail, Campground Trail and Dean Trail (from marker 21 to 17 to 13 to 15 to 24 to 19 to 17 and back to 21).

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Written by Sachin

March 26, 2022 at 10:04 am

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

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Cowell-Purisima Coastal Trail, March 2022

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Quintessential view from this trail. There is no beach access.

We ended up going all the way from one end to another and coming back. That made is a nearly 7 mile hike, near all flat and nearly all exposed. We started on the north end. There is perhaps more place is sit at the northern end, so if doing a picnic lunch in the middle, it might make more sense to start at the south end.

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Written by Sachin

March 21, 2022 at 5:58 am

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

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