Montebello-Saratoga Gap killer loop

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Saturday, 21 May 2016

I like to start at Montebello open space preserve parking, hike down Canyon trail to cross Stevens Creek, climb out along the Table Mountain trails, then hike parallel to Skyline to Saratoga Gap. From there, a short section of the Skyline to the Sea trail, and back north along Skyline, crossing again into Montebello from Skyline Ridge preserve. I haven’t done it for a while now, so today was a good day to refresh the route. It’s about 20.8 miles, 3900 vertical feet.

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Fortunately, it was a cool, not to say chilly, day, cloudy, mist, even rain. More deer out than people. No danger of overheating, although I was glad I didn’t have to put on my plastic rain jacket until I was at the top.

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I stopped for calories and enjoyed the weather blowing out (below). The cold wind pushing it aside came off the Pacific, tempered by the Alaska current, so I kept the plastic jacket on for a while.

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Strange and interesting patterns over there; they are selectively mown areas of the meadow. Very strange, I thought.

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By the time I got back to the car, I had figured it out. As the season progresses, water doesn’t uniformly disappear from the near sub-surface; the grass goes yellow earlier in places where there’s no sub-surface water.

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If they mowed the entire area, green and gold both, the green bit would have to be mown again later on. So they economize by only mowing the grass that has completed this season’s growth.

Now if they’d only mow along some of the trails that are overgrown and waist-high in grass that’s only just starting to think about turning gold!

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2 Responses to “Montebello-Saratoga Gap killer loop”

  1. dipperanch Says:

    I think you might have been seeing a section of Long Ridge Open Space Preserve where Midpen has hired a contractor to brush cut dense stands of the invasive goat grass. If mowed at the right time for three to five years in a row, the seeds never develop on this annual plant and it eventually stops germinating. Thanks to our new Integrated Pest Management Coordinator, we are trying alternative methods to protect and restore the natural areas in the preserves. With monitoring, we should be able to tell if this will work other places.

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