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Archive for the ‘California’ Category

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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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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Hiking Pearson-Arastradero Preserve, March 2022

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A beautiful oak on the Paseo del Roble trail near Arastradero lake

Our intent was to do the recommended 3.7 mile scenic loop recommended by POST, but we ended up going a little longer. We first did the Redcap loop trail. Then we went on to Juan Bautista de Anza Trail to Meadowlark Trail to Acorn trail to Arastradero creek trail to Paseo del Roble to Wild Rye trail before descending back to the de Anza Trail. The parking lot appeared quite busy on the weekend!

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Written by Sachin

March 21, 2022 at 5:42 am

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

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Sequoia Audubon Trail, Feb 2022

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At the start of the trail

It was a delightful 1.5 to 2 miles roundtrip trail along the marshes. It was an absolutely gorgeous day by the beach when the inland was cloudy and cold. We took our binoculars to watch the birdlife and found some common Canadian geese. January and February had not seen much rain this year after a lot of rain the previous two months and as a result, some of the vegetation had started to dry out already. There were a lot of cattail. A few of the yarrows were in bloom, but plenty were getting ready. There was not much shade along the way, and it was surprisingly warm.

There is parking right at the start of the trail, but south Pescadero beach is perhaps a better spot to park if combining with picnic lunch. At the beach, you will see people fishing and there are a number of benches to enjoy the ocean view.

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Written by Sachin

March 20, 2022 at 6:59 pm

Visiting Ano Nuevo SP, Feb 2022

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An elephant seal family with a male, eight females and eight pups (seven seen).
A lone seal hanging out, they often use their flippers to move wet sand on themselves.

Año Nuevo State Park is one of the largest elephant seal rookery. It is a short walk, about 1.5 miles roundtrip, but set aside 2 hrs because it is really fun to watch these seals when they do decide to move. As per the docent, the best time to come here between December and January, especially the days where it is wet and clammy. There is a lovely picnic area right at the entrance and plenty parking.

Written by Sachin

March 20, 2022 at 6:40 pm

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

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Hiking in Uvas Canyon, Feb 2022

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At the start of the waterfall loop

We had intended to do the 3.5 mile waterfall hike as per POST recommendation but ended up taking the detour up to Knobcone Point which added an additional 0.8 miles to the total. When they say steep, they mean steep. We practically crawled up to Knobcone, but the reward was a lovely picnic table where we had our lunch. I enjoyed the flatter contour trail part of the hike where the air smelled of California/mountain laurel. Much of the hike is shaded, the ground is packed dirt and also steep downhill on Alec Canyon.

Written by Sachin

March 20, 2022 at 12:45 am

Night sky in Joshua Tree NP

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We started the year 2022 with trip to an old favorite, Joshua Tree National Park. If there is a national park, that feels personal and accessible, this is it. You can stop anywhere, walk anywhere and scramble up any rock. So it feels. It is perfect in the winter when it rains elsewhere. Best night sky is perhaps the month of September when JT hosts night sky festival, however, for those of us who live amidst light pollution, a sky where you can see stars is perfect anytime of the year. The photos below are from a small stretch between Quail Springs and Hemingway between 9 and 10 pm. We didn’t really have appropriate winter attire, so we were rather cold, but the photos were well worth it.

From Quail Springs Parking Lot. This is a single long exposure, otherwise unprocessed.
On a dirt trail right before Hemingway, coming from the West Entrance. This is a different night compared to the previous image. Night sky was cloudless. This is a single short exposure but otherwise unprocessed photo. The glowing tip of the rocks is from a car passing by on the Park Boulevard.
From the same dirt trail and the same night as the previous photo. This is stacked but otherwise unprocessed. You can see the linear trails from flights.

Written by Som

March 19, 2022 at 8:51 pm

Posted in California, USA

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Ojai, an escape from the humdrum

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Ojai exists to charm the suburbia and city dwellers. It is picture perfect everywhere, from its cute little homes to its expansive meadows. And the food here is a mecca for those of us on any type of fringe diet.

Our designer built cottage

A perfect town to experience California’s indoor-outdoor lifestyle

Ojai Meadow Preserve, a delightful and easy hiking trail where it is easy to get a bit lost

A lovely brook where the trail becomes particularly directionless

Meditate, ponder, rest

Written by locomotoring

February 24, 2019 at 9:08 pm

Posted in California

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