Getting on toward summer


Saturday 4 June 2016

Supposed to be a hot day, so I decided to hike Purisima, possibly the coolest of the preserves. Parked halfway up Kings Mountain road, hiked down through Huddart Park, back up through Phleger Estate to the Kings Mountain volunteer fire station, where I refilled the water bottle. Then along Skyline to the North Ridge entrance.

As well as a garter snake (no photo), interesting and unusual sights included a slime mold on a stump.




Looks like scrambled eggs, doesn’t it!

Not far down the Purisima North Ridge trail, I met Michael, who was a bit unsure what he wanted to do here today, if anything. Turned out he was from Fort Collins, Colorado, taking a day’s break from a week of work, staying at a B&B in Half Moon Bay. We walked and talked for a while; I confirmed his identification of poison oak — probably the single most important thing to do! — and we talked about grades, redwoods and Douglas fir, Audobon birds, and any number of things. Fortunate enough to find another garter snake to show Michael.

Hot enough day that I kept it to 17 miles, 3000 vertical feet — industrial grade, not a killer hike.

Sunday, 5 June

Coming down Kings Mountain Road yesterday, I passed workers out painting brightly coloured arrows on the road, and was reminded that the first Sunday in June is always the date for the Sequoia Century.

I don’t want to add congestion to the roads today, so I decided to visit Pulgas Ridge open space preserve, well away from the century routes, close and convenient, and a place I almost never go. Probably worth a circuit to have a look for bull thistle.

Got there during the coolth of the morning; the sun and heat didn’t really break through until I reached more or less the high point of the outer loop trail, so it worked out well. Short hike, but pleasant.


And the special feature of today’s hike was seeing the lawn mowers in action. My favourite thing!



They eat pretty much anything and everything. It’s only a shame they can’t be turned loose on more of the preserves.

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3 Responses to “Getting on toward summer”

  1. dipperanch Says:

    Dave: you get around and I enjoy reading your updates. I hope you don’t mind my comments with explanations. The goats you see at Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve were probably on the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s pipeline easement for the Hetch-Hetchy water line that goes all the way from the Sierra to the reservoirs just south of the city. They use goats to browse down everything on the linear easement to keep fire danger down and make sure they can see any soil indication of a leak. We occasionally use goats in the natural preserves but they are a tricky tool to manage correctly: they must be penned at locations with electric fencing that is moved frequently enough to keep them from over consuming the native plants in addition to the target brush fuel and invasive nonnative plants, it’s hard to place electric fence safely in a public hiking area, and they are susceptible to predation by the native wildlife – coyotes, bobcats and mountain lions in the more remote preserves. The site must have water and truck access and supplemental feed might need to be provided to make sure they have a healthy diet and are treated humanely. The goat herd needs to be brought back several times in one spring/summer and for several years in a row to make a difference in the plant life, and that can be expensive often tens of thousands of $. We do use them on very steep slopes in particular and hope to be investigating more possibilities as Midpen implements its new Integrated Pest Management Program. baaaaa


    • 86dave Says:

      Thanks, Cindy. It was clear that the goats were on the aqueduct easement, but not particularly clear why only there. Thanks for the further explanation.
      The electric fence comment reminds me that one of the goats was nibbling vegetation right at the fence itself, but had learned to keep its nose down close to the ground. Not stupid, these guys!
      BTW, do you see my trail patrol and/or ARMS reports? More detail there that of course doesn’t make it into the blog.


      • 86dave Says:

        I read that goats can control YST. There is more than enough YST along the paved part of Hammond-Snyder at Rancho, and it’s a controlled environment — it would probably be feasible to fence off the area for a few days while the goats happily munched away. Any possibility?


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