Posts Tagged ‘Russian Ridge OSP’

Page Mill killer hike

October 3, 2015

Saturday, 3 October 2015

I like to park at Palo Alto Foothills park and hike up from there, through Los Trancos open space preserve, Montebello OSP, Coal Creek OSP, Russian Ridge OSP, Skyline Ridge OSP, and back through Montebello and Los Trancos. It’s something over 20 miles, 3500 vertical feet.

IMG_0460

I always wonder whether insects and spiders don’t notice dewdrops or just accept them — that’s the way it is.

IMG_0466

Nice day. I had originally thought to hike some of the preserves further north, but it is definitely tarantula season, and I’ll have a better chance of finding one in the open grasslands down here. As it happened, I saw two tarantula hawk wasps, but no tarantulas. Schade!

IMG_0518

IMG_0528

Poison oak mostly red by now.

IMG_0548

Stopped at Horseshoe lake for an apple and to look for small animals.

IMG_0565

It turned out that the great Cruz hike was today, and one of the parking areas at Skyline ridge OSP was given over to a couple of awnings and sag support. Busy and happy place.

IMG_0583

IMG_0591

I started back down the hill. It was around 2 PM, far too early for the fog to be blowing in off the ocean, but here it comes! In times past, I have been up there on my bike during that kind of thing. Amazingly beautiful, bright sun and fog alternating, wisps and clouds, blowing and boiling across the road.

Strong, gusty winds, and chilly. In the car later, I heard a high wind warning for points further north, so this was just on the edge of it. I imagine some trees will come down.

IMG_0602

A wildlife camera. Do you suppose I count as wildlife?

IMG_0603

And nearing the end, this is Wildhorse Valley in Palo Alto Foothills park. It would be a good place to herd horses; open at one end, the sides are high and steep. Most horses could probably be captured here; a horse with the spirit to climb out would be tired and easy pickings for a few more riders waiting at the top.

Easter, Windy Hill

April 5, 2015

Easter Sunday, 5 April 2015

Russian ridge yesterday, with a volunteer crew, working on Italian thistle and broom. Cool and clear, nice day.

It was supposed to rain later today, so I didn’t want to spend a lot of time driving. Better to hike before the rain starts. Windy Hill is closest, and by doing a figure-8 on the trails, I can make it a non-trivial hike (almost 15 miles, 3300 vertical feet).

P1170728

When the wild flowers are out, the wild animals can’t be far behind.

P1170730

Yum!

P1170734

P1170739

P1170746

P1170666

Not sure what these are. Interesting. [Follow-up: Tom C says they are dwarf owls clover.]

P1170667

P1170668

P1170669

P1170688

I have no idea what the English (latin) name for these would be (above), but in Caterpillar (below), they’re called Delicious.

P1170693

P1170699

P1170727

Collected my first tick of the season. I gave her the brush-off before it occurred to me that I should have photographed her first. Well, there will doubtless be other opportunities.

Never did get real rain to speak of, a cool pleasant day. The weather discouraged the heavy turnout that might otherwise have happened, but those of us out there on the trail had a great time.

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 !

P1170400

P1170445

Do you suppose he knows how delicious he looks?

P1170418

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

P1170439

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

P1160849

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

P1170458

P1170459

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.

P1170457

P1170462

P1170508

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.

P1170476

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.

 P1170470

P1170477

P1170480

P1170487

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.

P1170496

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

P1170514

P1170524

P1170522

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.

Mellow

January 2, 2015

Friday, 2 January 2015

Yesterday I went to Purisima open space preserve and put in five hours searching and destroying broom. Also exploring one or two informal trails and ancient logging roads. Today, I hiked what might be thought of as the four corners, the open space preserves surrounding Page Mill and Skyline roads.

I didn’t want to do a killer hike today, because I’m meeting a friend tomorrow to visit Grant Ranch. Still, I ought to make the hike long enough to justify driving up the hill. So I decorated the basic loop with a few extras (14 miles, 2000 vertical feet). For example, there is a closed gate where the official trail ends at Alder Springs, in Russian Ridge, but the trail goes on, and there is no Keep Out sign. New country for me, down the Mindego creek watershed to a point above some private homes where it really is a closed area.

P1160802

Along Hawk ridge trail, a really beautiful rock.

P1160804

Cold this morning — crunchy mud, better than squidgy mud — but I was down to shirtsleeves (two layers!) by late morning. There was no commitment to wonderful weather over the holidays, but that is certainly how it has turned out.

P1160809

This is the redwood railing over the bridge that spans Lambert creek, the drainage from Horseshoe lake in Skyline ridge preserve. Nice to look at, but I wouldn’t run my hand along there!

P1160810

More decorations of the basic hike: a detour down Lambert creek trail as far as a fallen tree, which wasn’t worth my time trying to work around. Then there was the official Bay trail, which goes over Fir Knoll, despite the availability of a 90% shortcut. But the Fir Knoll trail is really pretty, and the right thing to do.

Back in Montebello, several fallen trees to report for a visit by the chainsaw crew. None of them were problems, and when I met a couple with a stroller, I didn’t see any reason to warn them about fallen trees: they would need to lift the stroller over, but it wouldn’t be the slightest problem. The woman greeted me, “Another perfect day in paradise.” Right.

I had almost used up the plastic tape with which I flag fallen trees, so I stopped at the open space district office in Mountain View when I got down the hill. They had been open today, but had closed at 2. Fortunately, someone was still around, and gave me enough tape to keep me going for a while. Then I stopped at REI to indulge my hobby of acquiring trail maps, and called it a day.

Volunteer project: Rapley ranch at Russian Ridge

November 8, 2014

Saturday, 8 November 2014

A good-sized crew of veteran volunteers met on Skyline across the road from Thomas Fogarty winery to visit the old Rapley ranch. This is property not yet open to the public, so yet another opportunity to see a new and unusual area. We ferried everyone a mile down the road, then hiked in, but accompanied by a truck with tools, water and most important: lunch.

P1160311

Very pretty entry into the area. What we’re doing today is attacking pine seedlings. Some of them are close by their parent pines; some are strewn at considerable distances. The pines are not native; were presumably planted by the Rapleys. They will eventually all be taken out, but we will leave those with trunks larger than 3 or 4 inches for the chainsaw crew, whenever it may appear.

As it turned out, we cleared away the small pines fairly quickly, and continued on into the area where the old ranch buildings were, and still are, to some extent.

P1160286

Not far from the house is a redwood, a lone redwood, with a stone at its base. “1931 This tree was planted by Jim Rapley.”

P1160287

P1160289

The old barn remains as a frame, a roof, and the north, sheltered wall covered with yellow lichen.

P1160306

P1160296

Having taken care of the pine seedlings pretty well, we spent a few hours working on vinca, ivy and pyracantha, had lunch, took a short hike to explore the area a bit, and called it a day. Pretty place; it will be nice if they can build some official trails and open it to general access.

Where hath summer gone?

August 11, 2013

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Before talking about today’s hike, I thought it would be fun to post a picture Jacky took with her phone when we were in downtown Palo Alto the other evening.

IMG_20130802_182117

I don’t know exactly what I would do with one free shoe, but I suppose they are aiming at the market of three-footed people that like to ski.

On Saturday, I volunteered at the open space district’s Deer Hollow Farm. Helped build some benches for the 4-year olds to sit on during the ranger talks.

Sunday, I left the car at Foothills park, hiked up the hill to Los Trancos open space preserve, then to Montebello, Alpine road, Russian ridge, Skyline ridge and back through Montebello. Almost 19 miles, almost 4000 vertical feet. Not quite a killer hike, but then, it has been several weeks since I did a really serious hike.

P1100457

Only the middle of August, but it’s definitely getting late in summer. Admittedly, poison oak starts turning red very early, but there’s at least as much red as green now. Interesting how it changes. Above, for example, we see one leaf that has been thrown under the bus while its erstwhile buddies busy themselves rearranging the deck chairs.

Some leaves fade uniformly, some go blotchy red and green.

P1100558

It’s also quite common to see the skeleton of the leaf remaining green, while the web turns red. I thought I had seen one with a red skeleton and green web, but that makes no sense, so I must have imagined it.

P1100478

I saw two tarantula wasps. One of these days, I’ll see a tarantula. Then we’ll know it’s fall, for sure.

P1100504

P1100488

Some pretty late-summer vegetation, seeds and fluff.

P1100485

P1100513

P1100495

P1100491

P1100506

The view toward the coast from the top of Borel hill, with Mindego hill to the right of the picture. It is not unusual to see fog lying over the ocean, but the brown fog on the left half of the picture suggests there is a wildfire down there somewhere in the Pescadero-Butano area.

The view 180 degrees away, over the bay, was similar. It’s not unusual to see bad air pushed by the prevailing winds into the south end of the valley over San Jose, but San Jose’s air looked pretty good today, brown air further north.

P1100522

I stopped at Alpine pond to soak up calories and refill the water bottle. Nice flowers!

P1100519

P1100524

P1100535

P1100544

Back across Skyline, in Montebello OSP, I saw this butterfly limping — I can think of no other description — across the trail. It was not obviously damaged or injured. When I get it up on the big screen, I see it’s wet. I think it must have just emerged from its cocoon, and was hoping to survive Dave’s boots until its wings stiffened up and it could learn to fly.

P1100546

The stream was so dry that it only drip-drip-dripped, enough to keep the surface of this little pond constantly agitated. The water striders take it all in stride.

P1100552

A dead oak lending majesty to a marshy pond at the top of Canyon trail, near Page Mill road.

I like summer, but I certainly had no complaints about today.