Posts Tagged ‘Resolution crash’

Yet another busy weekend

May 3, 2015

Saturday, 2 May 2015

I had originally signed up for a trail-building volunteer project, but my tennis elbow suggests I should take it easy for a week or three, so I begged off. Instead, I thought I’d park at Palo Alto Foothills park and do a serious hike from there, but the gate was still closed when I arrived, so I went on up the hill as far as the first gate into Los Trancos, and improvised a hike that turned out not to be as long as I had intended (16.5 miles, 2800 vertical feet). Nice day, and the wildflowers are out everywhere.


I stopped at the Stevens Creek crossing along Canyon trail to photograph the underwater newts (three in this picture).


Many hours later, I entered Coal Creek preserve on my way back toward the car. Given that I am pretty sure I saw a mountain lion at Coal Creek a few weeks ago, I wouldn’t want to sell life insurance on that cow.

Wildlife: as well as the newts, a garter snake. Nice.

Sunday, 3 May

Given that yesterday was less than what I wanted to do, I filled in today by visiting the rest of the trail junctions in El Corte de Madera open space preserve. This is part of my trail signs audit project, which I am going to have to sell to the district.


The overnight fog was just lifting. Very nice.


Tafoni is a kind of sandstone, subject to interesting letterboxing, and one of the attractions of this preserve. There is more tafoni around here, for example at Bean Hollow state beach, but not as close and convenient.


In 1953, a DC6 crashed in the fog on this ridge. This was still during the time when aircraft had names, and this one was the Resolution. So the trail that runs past the site is the Resolution trail. I doubt they had the equivalent of ATVs to help with salvage, and there may or may not have even been a trail along there. Likely as not, whatever was recovered was carried out on horses or mules.

After recovering the bodies and personal effects, the next priority would have been forensic evidence. Then whatever small things might have been of value would have been salvaged, for example instruments or computers. Things that were too big or too heavy to justify removal would have been left behind, where they have probably been picked over by souvenir hunters for sixty years.


I haven’t come along this trail for a few months, and don’t recall that there was much of anything to see. Today, there was all kinds of aircraft debris along the trail, more visible down the hill below the trail. Surprising, in a way, that there still remains this much that’s both interesting and movable.


My guess that that scavengers have been prowling around down there, and for whatever reason, just didn’t have a chance to haul away the latest set of goodies.

Hours later, I had been down to the further reaches of the preserve and was on the way out, having talked to a number of mountain bikies, found a rotten plank in a bridge for my trail report, and generally had a good time (14 miles, 3300 vertical feet). The fog had blown in off the ocean and it was chilly and windy.

A group of hikers came past, and the red madrone tunnel suggested a perfect photo. (And yes, they agreed. But I shot them before they were all posed.)


Completing the skyline trails

September 27, 2014

Saturday, 27 September 2014

According to the open space district, El Corte de Madera Creek open space preserve has 35.9 miles of trails. Because of backtracking and looping, it took me 50 miles of hiking to do all of them, spread, as predicted, over three visits (each with 4000-5000 feet of vertical gain). Today was the northerly set of trails, my car parked at Skeggs point.

Today completes my quest to hike all of the MROSD trails along Skyline, a significant step in working toward the anvil award, which recognizes trail patrol volunteers who cover all of the trails in the whole open space district. Meaningless, of course, but it’s a challenge, gives me a focus.

Started just after 7 on a cool, cloudy day that remained cool and cloudy throughout, except for about ten minutes of filtered sun in early afternoon. Very nice, indeed. Found a madrone fallen across the trail, marked it with GPS and a photo to report to the district; someone will get out here with a chain saw one of these days. There was a lot of other fallen debris, as well, all day long, but I was able to clear it myself. Glad I remembered to stick my leather work gloves in my pack.


There is a bridge under construction, El Corte de Madera creek, at the bottom of Methusaleh trail. I came this way last week with the hikers I was helping. There has been a noticeable amount of progress in a week; interesting to see all the miniature construction equipment, designed for back-country use.


There is a nice monument to the passengers and crew of the Resolution, a DC-6 that flew into a hillside here on a foggy day in 1953.



The other special attraction of this preserve is the tafoni formation, essentially sandstone with interesting erosions. I have to admit it’s worth a look.


At a few points along the day’s trails, I found broom, an invasive plant that needs to be kept under control lest it take over the world. I cleaned out all of one stretch, and reported the second stretch on my trail log. Then, almost back to the car, I noticed a delta-shaped clearing where two trails merge, that was full of broom, much of it fairly good-sized.

Because I was near the car, it was easy to go get my weed wrench and return. I put in something like an hour and a half pulling broom by hand, using the weed wrench on a dozen or so of the larger specimens.


I found a couple of these little caterpillars on the broom (so you can see what broom looks like, if you care). I was careful not to damage the insects when I unplugged their lunch, but I did unplug their lunch.

Because it’s on the outside of a blind curve, turns across traffic lanes are not allowed in or out of the Skeggs point parking area. Forced to go north, I thought I’d go home down Kings Mountain road, but when I got to the junction, I saw that there was a bicycle century rest stop there, with riders coming up Tunitas creek road from the coast, and going down Kings Mt road. The best way I knew to be bicycle friendly was to go on up Skyline and come down highway 92 instead.