Posts Tagged ‘Windy hill’

Windy Hill, Purisima Redwoods

March 30, 2014

Sunday, 30 March 2014

I often write about volunteer work for the open space district, more often than not, pulling weeds, and more often than not, pulling broom. Here’s what broom looks like. The large bushes are full of pretty yellow flowers, starting right about now.

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Last weekend, I did a quick hike at Windy Hill open space preserve. Nothing particularly out of the ordinary, except for these pretty little green bells. I have no idea what they are, but I like the way they try to hide, showing their true selves only to a view from below.

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Today, I hiked Purisima creek redwoods open space preserve. It has been rainy this last week, but I got my annual REI dividend and bought myself a new rain shell, so I was happy to try it out. (So of course it didn’t rain, but that’s fine, too.) I volunteered here a few weeks ago, unplugging invasive ivy from a slope, and today picked off a few stragglers that had been overlooked the first time.

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Tis the season. The caterpillars are out in force, roughly a gazillion of them!

This hike is not all that long, not all that hard (Allison would disagree), but I can make it a mini-industrial strength hike with a 4-mile 800-vertical feet extension up Borden Hatch Mill trail and down Grabtown Gulch trail (total: 14 miles, 3500 vertical feet). And yes, once upon a time, there really was a Grabtown up in these hills.

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Nice to see a few fungi, fresh from this week’s rains.

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I also flagged six downed trees at various spots along the trail. The drill is to catch a GPS location and a photo, and file a trail report to the open space district. I’m only scheduled for trail patrol volunteer training in June, but I know the login password, so why not!

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The hiking sticks are there to provide a scale for evaluating the problem.

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And I spotted a tiny gray furry mammal, most likely a vole, as it ducked into the duff. I fired up my camera, then pulled away the duff, but it could burrow faster and deeper than I could uncover it. I loosed off a few desperation shots with the camera, but of course nothing came out.

Nice day, good to get out.

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Moth season

June 16, 2012

The temperature is supposed to get to +40 today, in some of the inland areas. So I went out reasonably early and not toward the inland valleys. Windy Hill today, 7 miles. Tomorrow should be cooler, and I may do something more ambitious then.

Not much to see on the climb to Skyline: open, sunny, and I always like to push it on the uphills to maximize the exercise. Once I’m on the downhill in the forest, I can relax and dawdle and look for interesting things to photograph. This alligator lizard, for example.

Notice the blue blobs behind the ears — ticks engorged with the lizard’s blood. Impossible not to have them here. I’m told that when the tick eventually drops off, it is no longer carrying Lyme’s disease.

There were moths everywhere. It is clearly the season for them.

I don’t know whether these caterpillars are the same species as the moths, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

Also quite prolific were these pupae (is that the right term for this life stage?) — and it also wouldn’t surprise me if they were also this same moth species. There was quite a variety of colour schemes.

This is the empty husk of a cicada.

And then we get back to the moths, which were busy mating for all they were worth.

The female here was not eager to perform on camera, so she started walking away. The male walked backward at the same pace. No way was he going to disengage!

This looks like necrophilia, but I think the female just has the really good camouflage wing arrangement. She is certainly alive, and as far as I know, healthy.

And then we get into what I’m sure the moths consider to be delightful perversions.

Today’s wildlife was more than just moths, of course. Saw a ringneck snake, a bunny, a deer, and there were several other arthropodae.

Stopped at Sausal pond near the parking lot to see what there might be to see. Two girls speaking French (well, and English, too) thought the frogs must be enormous to make so much noise. I shot this picture from a distance to show them something of the real size of the beasts.

Spring is sprung

April 8, 2012

I have been traveling the last couple of weekends, and am far behind in exercise. I had thought to do a long hike this weekend, but we had morning commitments Saturday, and a 3 PM commitment today, Sunday. I decided to save travel time by just going to Windy Hill, and maybe do the loop a couple of times to get in more time and distance.

It was about +4 degrees C when I started out this morning. Gloves and a jacket for ten or fifteen minutes, until the sun had risen and the uphill start at Windy Hill’s Spring Ridge trail had kicked my metabolism up a notch.

We really had no winter this year, but we are at least having a spring. Not only do I offer a variety of flowers as evidence, but today was the day for the first snakes of the season: a garter snake and a ringneck. Cool!

As it turned out, I hiked up the (steeper) Spring Ridge trail twice, down the (not so steep) Hamms Gulch trail twice, and took the Lost and Razorback trails all the way down to the road, then turned and hiked back up the hill. Total for the day, 20.8 miles, 4600 vertical feet. And I was ten minutes late to our 3 PM commitment.

Nice to get out, nice to enjoy a beautiful day.

Rattlesnake!

October 22, 2011

Saturday, 22 October 2011

After a long day Friday in airports and airplanes, I slept very late this morning; it was 7:15 by the time I got out of bed. Too late for a long hike today, so I went to Windy Hill for a short hike (7.7 miles, 1300 vertical feet). Maybe I’ll do something more ambitious tomorrow.

I like to go up Spring Ridge trail because it’s the steepest trail in the park, then come down one of the other trails. Near the top I found a rattlesnake, the first one I have seen at Windy Hill for two or three years. Cool!

It watched me, tasted my scent in the air, but never did rattle at me. After a while, it decided discretion was the better part, and all that, and turned away from the trail back into the tall grass.

It’s a good day when I find something fairly unusual, and today definitely counts.