Locomotoring

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

Archive for the ‘Bay Area’ Category

Starting 2023 with a hike

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A lovely cluster of manzanitas

The year started with a glorious day, it was clear blue sky between the passage of two atmospheric rivers. We went for a short 2 mile hike with a friend on Skyline Ridge trail near Teague Hill. This section of Skyline appears to have a higher than normal density of manzanitas.

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Written by locomotoring

January 3, 2023 at 12:29 am

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Bair Island in rain and shine, Dec 2022

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Bair Island on a sunny winter day
Bair Island on a rainy day
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Written by locomotoring

December 28, 2022 at 10:32 am

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Immersed in blue on Ravenswood Trail, Dec 2022

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Marshes next to the Dumbarton Bridge in Don Edwards SF Bay National Wildlife Refuge

I bet it happens to you often enough that you see something for years, but you don’t really see it. The Don Edwards San Francisco National Wildlife Refuge protects the bay marshes, it has a number of trails and locations including Bair Island and Alviso. The trail we have been seeing for two decades is the Ravenswood Point by Dumbarton Bridge near Menlo Park. We finally walked this 3.3 mile trail. It was a morning hike, the sky was clear, the winds were low and the Bay tranquil. The sound from Dumbarton Bridge carries as there are no trees to absorb the sound. The noise isn’t enough to distract, but this trail isn’t a quiet spot. The noise doesn’t seem to distract the birds. By the time you get to the north most point of the trail, the cars sound more like ocean waves. We found someone fishing there. The trail is wide, well maintained, flat and easy to walk on. There were footprints of birds, humans, dogs, bikes and vehicles.

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Written by locomotoring

December 25, 2022 at 8:40 pm

Water Dog Lake Open Space, Dec 2022

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The Water Dog Lake Open Space sits between San Carlos and Belmont and provides expansive views of San Mateo county.

Our 3 mile neighborhood hike took us to Water Dog Open Space. The park is also known as Hidden Canyon Park. We parked at the Upper Creek Trailhead on Hastings Drive. Our route took us to Finch Trail, Ramber Trail, followed by the Elevator Trail, then Canyon Creek trail back to the trailhead. While the net elevation change could not have been more than 200-300 ft, short stretches of the trail are steep. Rambler skirts the back of San Carlos and Belmont homes and it does feel a little strange walking through someone else back alley. The park appears to be popular with bikers. This park made me feel as if I was elsewhere in California, perhaps because there were no noticeable poison oak.

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Written by locomotoring

December 25, 2022 at 9:47 am

Laurelwood (or is it Sugarloaf) Park, Dec 2022

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At one end of the Sugarloaf-Spur trail

Another short hike with spectacular view through Laurelwood Park in San Mateo. The park seems to be around Sugarloaf mountain, it is more of a small 400 ft tall hill. Some of the trails are very steep or had very steep sections. We couldn’t find a trail map and used Google maps instead. The total hike was about 2 miles. Starting at the San Juan Canyon fire road, we went up the Gravity trail to Sugarloaf-Spur trail, then all the way to the east point of Sugarloaf peak to gaze at the Bay views, then back to Laurelwood Park trail and down the Saddle trail to Salson trail to San Juan Canyon fire road to complete the loop. We met a few dog walkers but otherwise had the park to ourselves on a weekday.

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Written by locomotoring

December 24, 2022 at 9:50 pm

Eaton Park, Dec 2022

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Upper view near Loma Road

Eaton Park in San Carlos is a neighborhood miniature open space (~58 acres) and the Eaton Trail is a cute as a button trail with Bay views, tiny stairs, tiny bridges, and benches galore. We clocked about 2 miles and an estimated elevation change of 200 ft. From Loma Road entrance, to Hawk Hill trail to Eaton trail all the way to Brittan Avenue, up back, to 4 Bridges trail to Vista Trail to Canyon View Trail to Eaton trail back to start. It was a weekday and there wasn’t a crowd.

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Written by locomotoring

December 23, 2022 at 9:05 pm

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.

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Written by locomotoring

December 23, 2022 at 8:09 pm

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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