Anvil trails: Purisima and Teague hill


The anvil award goes to anyone who patrols all of the trails in the open space district. It means nothing, of course, but it’s a challenge, and I’m seeing a lot of trails I haven’t hiked before.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

As often happens, the bay area was fogged in, and as I drove up Kings Mountain road, I passed through the fog and into morning sunlight. Down Tunitas creek road to the pull-out from which access to Pusisima redwoods open space preserve is possible. On the trail by 7:30, heading along Bald Knob trail, through some really beautiful redwood forest.



Irish ridge trail descends almost a thousand feet into the Lobitos creek basin. Back into the fog.


The junction of Irish ridge trail with Lobitos creek trail.


Irish ridge trail itself goes on another tenth of a mile, and so did I. I was surprised to find a row of Monterey cypresses here. Certainly not native to the redwood forest, growing in a straight line, approximately uniformly spaced. Once upon a time, they graced someone’s nice home.


The map tells us that Lobitos creek trail is not maintained. We’ll do what we can. We start with a massive redwood growing another massive redwood from its elbow. The same tree, below, from the other side, showing that the smaller massive tree is itself growing a yet smaller massive tree. Quite a sight! There must be a story, if one only knew.


Theoretically, the trail goes 2 miles, but eventually they really mean it when they say not maintained. I was willing to push through undergrowth taller than myself for a while, but when I saw a massive barrier of poison oak ahead, I called it quits. 7.6 miles on this little exploration, 1400 vertical feet. Beautiful, beautiful, so remote that very few see it.

Then I drove to the main Purisima parking lot, off Skyline, where I started by checking for ivy along the section of trail cleared by a bunch of volunteers four weeks ago (the poison oak I got then is almost gone, but not quite). Found quite a bit of ivy, pulled up some of it, but a lot of it is embedded in the poison oak, and I’d rather not do that all over again.


Hiked down Wittemore gulch trail, stopped at the bottom of Harkins ridge trail for calories. Sat on a fallen log, one end of which was in Purisima creek. The picture above is the view from my little picnic bench; the drastically shrunken creek runs in a narrow channel at the far left of the picture. We hope the whole streambed will be full in a few months!


The stream is so narrow, there’s a pleasant overlook spot from the trail on the other side, directly opposite. A really pleasant area, and no mistake.


Harkins ridge trail leaves the creek early on, climbs the side of the ridge, and spends most of its distance offering great views to both left and right. It is also the shortest, and therefore steepest, route. From the creek to the parking lot is only 3.5 miles, but it includes 1700 feet of climb, much of it very steep (see above). That’s an average 10% grade, but of course the grade isn’t uniform. Allison can attest to the fact that it’s seriously hard work. Makes my skin leak.

When the sun heated up the open trail, it caused the air above it to rise. Whenever I approached a shadowed area, it was more than pleasant to get a cool breeze, pulled out of the shade by the rising hot air. How come I never noticed that before?

Today, I had enough water. But after 15 miles, it was mid-afternoon, and I wasn’t up for a whole lot more. Not to worry: Teague hill open space preserve was on the way home. It’s a pretty good sized preserve, but there is only one trail, a half mile or so section of the 4.8 mile trail between Huddart and Wunderlich parks. Unfortunately, much of the trail runs along beside a pair of high-voltage transmission lines (which is to say: one line of towers), and the forest under the lines has been clear-cut. If MROSD won this section of trail in a lottery, I’d recommend they give it back.


The forest before and beyond is pleasant enough, and includes a rock with an interesting little cave.

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2 Responses to “Anvil trails: Purisima and Teague hill”

  1. Lynn Jackson Says:

    Hi Dave, there is more to Teague Hill than that one trail…

    MROSD volunteer – Lynn J


    • 86dave Says:

      The MROSD map shows only one trail in the west corner. That trail has no junctions to additional trails.

      I am always happy to learn about new trails, however, so if you want to point me to something that’s not on the map, please do.


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