Posts Tagged ‘mountain lion’

Springy day

March 8, 2015

Sunday, 8 March 2015

After almost seven hours attacking broom at Purisima yesterday, I wasn’t sure I would be up for a killer hike today. So I parked at Palo Alto Foothills park and hiked up the hill and around a loop comprising Los Trancos open space preserve, Montebello, Coal Creek, Russian Ridge, Skyline Ridge and back through Montebello and Los Trancos. Turned out to be 19.7 miles, killer distance, but only 3500 vertical feet.

The adventures began as I parked the car: two deer browsing in the woods just above the parking area. I crossed the hill and down into Wild Horse valley, where I found a bull turkey showing off. Jacky says it should be called a Tom, but she didn’t see how big it was !



Do you suppose he knows how delicious he looks?


“Just ignore him, Margaret, he’ll go away.”


None of us males really looks that great from directly to the rear!


At Los Trancos, I was happy to see that the bridge whose pending destruction I had flagged in January (above) has been rescued (below).



Not quite so happy to see that a downed tree I had also reported in January is still there. I’ll report it again.

The wildflowers are out in profusion. Very nice.




Near the bottom of Meadow trail in Coal Creek OSP, I saw what I think was a mountain lion. Only a second, and I didn’t get a good luck, but it was dark, bigger than a deer or a coyote or a bobcat, low to the ground, and running, rather than bounding along the way deer do. The only other possibility I can think of is a wild pig, but a) I have never seen one on the peninsula, b) it was making less noise than I would expect from a wild pig, and c) at this time of year, it probably wouldn’t have been alone.


Russian Ridge, Mindego hill to the left, fog over the ocean. Very nice.

Insects are beginning to feed on the California poppy blossoms. I looked for yellow or orange spiders lurking to feed on the insects, but didn’t see any. Well, it is early in the season yet. They’ll be around shortly.





I was reading a book set in Sweden recently, in which the protagonist watches carefully for the first butterfly of spring. The species was an omen of good or ill fortune. No chance here! I saw practically every kind of butterfly we ever have, even including a swallowtail. Impressive.

Also found an empty cicada shell on a blade of grass.


Confirmed wildlife sighting: a gopher, Russian Ridge. Not as exciting as a mountain lion, but I take what I can get.




This wildlife camera is at the top of Los Trancos trail in Foothills park. I suppose it took a picture of my mid-section.

I found a big blossomy broom near here, stopped at the gate when I got back to the car to tell the ranger about it. Don’t know whether they’ll do anything, but it doesn’t hurt to let them know.

Quite a day for mini-adventures. Great to be out, even if my feet are sore.

Grant ranch: Mountain lion!

August 11, 2012

No, this is not a mountain lion.

As a continuing part of recovering from Achilles tendon surgery, I had it in mind to try Grant Ranch this weekend, try to get in more than ten miles and more than two thousand feet of gain. It has been hot, so I started early. Parked at Grant lake, hit the trail about 7:20. Glad I didn’t wait until later; it was hot enough!

There was enough pain in my ankle that I considered whether to turn back, but decided to keep going. Pain is not the problem, as long as I’m not damaging myself. Even so, I decided to skip the line shack, which I had first imagined as my destination. When I reached the ridge at the top of Halls Valley trail, I turned south rather than north. There are additional trails leading back down into the valley if I need them.

Stopped for calories along the ridge, and spotted a coyote out foraging for its own calorie fix. They are usually quick to dart away, but I remained quiet and moved slowly, and was able to shoot a few pictures.

My ankle was not complaining too much, so I went on to the road crossing at Twin Gates. Here I decided that discretion would be the better part of valour, so I descended on Cañada de Pala trail. As I came around a fairly sharp bend, I heard a deep grunt of some kind, and saw motion in a bush off the trail not too far ahead.

As I saw an animal break into a run, my first thought was bobcat. Definitely a cat, but it was too big for a bobcat. And then I saw the long tail, short fur, dark reddish brown, like one of these elegant plush bell pulls you might find in an English manor, or at least in a play that was set in an English manor. My first mountian lion ever! I had no time to even reach for the camera before it was gone.

Cool! I have lived in the Bay area since 1980, spent many tens of thousands of hours outdoors, and this is the first mountain lion I have ever seen.

Well, did I achieve my stated objective? No: 9.2 miles, 1700 vertical feet. More than last Saturday, but not as much improvement as I would have hoped for. I can’t complain, though: got in a certain amount of exercise, and saw one of the local wildlife rarities.

Sunday update

My ankle felt okay this morning, so I went up Skyline and hiked Purisima Redwoods open space preserve. This is the one where you start by hiking downhill, and once you get to the bottom, well, there aren’t a whole lot of choices but to go back up. Allison can tell you about that.

Cooler than yesterday, once I got a few hundred feet down from the ridge. Beautiful day. And although I’m not pushing it too hard, I did clock my heart rate at 144 on the final grunt back up to the parking lot.

Bottom line: 19.4 miles for the weekend, 4200 feet of vertical gain. Not bad.