Posts Tagged ‘Wunderlich park’

Fremont Older, St Joseph’s Hill

October 5, 2014

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Yesterday I went to Purisima and spent five hours pulling French broom. Hard work. Jacky’s hiking class went to Wunderlich park.

Today was promised to be a little cooler than yesterday, so I thought I would finish hiking all the trails at Fremont Older, then go to St Joseph’s Hill and hike all the trails there.

Parked on Stevens Canyon road, entered the preserve from the west side. Lots of mountain bikies, hikers, horses. Horses? The place adjoins Garrod Farms, which boards and rents out horses. Not as many dogs as one could imagine, but it may be too hot and too far for the dog-walkers. Steep, hot and sunny, hard work. I heard a couple of mountain bikies trading information about a ranger with a radar gun (15 mph maximum speed). A few minutes later, I saw him. I told him the bikies were swapping information about him. “That’s fine,” said he, “They’re doing my job for me.”

On a previous visit, I had missed a couple of loose ends all the way at the other side of the preserve, so I had to pick them up. One is just a paved back road — moomph! But along its course was a beautiful little shrine. Ok, that makes it worth the while.


Saw two other rangers, talked with both. They really patrol this place heavily! I told one ranger I was thinking of going on to St Joseph’s hill this afternoon; he tried to discourage me.

This preserve has 14.7 miles of trail, and I hiked 11.8 miles here today, 2600 feet of vertical gain. This is my third visit, but clearly, I haven’t been efficient in minimizing redundant trail distance.

Running low on water — I have another full quart bottle in the car, having already drained the quart bottle I took with me, along with a big bikie bottle — when I passed through the picnic area on the way back to the car. There was a drinking fountain, so I refilled my big bikie bottle. Glad I did; I would have been negative by the end of the day without that boost.

It was only noon, so of course I went to St Joseph’s hill. Never been here before. It’s a small preserve, only 4.2 miles of trails (7 miles of hiking to cover them all), but presumably vertical (yes: 1800 vertical feet by the time I had hiked all of them). More hot and dry, alleviated by a bit of a breeze now and then. On the way home much later, the car thermometer read 97 degrees F, so I had an excuse for dragging my ass by the end of the day.


The trail passes under a pair of high-voltage power lines. Highway 17 runs through the valley here, the major route from the bay area to Santa Cruz, and they have taken measures to protect the wires from low-flying aircraft and vice-versa. I suppose news and traffic helicopters would be most at risk.


Jones trail drops down into Los Gatos, where there is a loop called the Flume trail. As expected, it has a very uniform grade, until the very end where it steeply switches back to rejoin Jones trail. Pressurized iron pipe renders flumes obsolete; I think that’s the Los Gatos creek trail down along the pipeline, which looks like a dreadful place to hike. Actually, much of St Joseph’s hill is also pretty unattractive: the trails run right along the property boundary, and the neighbors to the north and east have erected chain link fence topped with barbed wire.

The major higher trails are associated with the monastery: Novitiate trail, but if you were a brother instead of a novice, you could use the Brothers Bypass trail.


Limekiln canyon back into the Sierra Azul range, and a quarry that I didn’t even know existed. To the right, a collapsed hillside, revealing blue rock that may be serpentine. The Limekiln trail runs past its base, so I will get a closer look when I hike that preserve.


Redwoods aren’t the only red wood here. This is a eucalypt!


We have a view out over Lexington dam reservoir, which is so low that the old towns, long inundated by the lake, have re-surfaced. I thought the picture below might in fact be the old town of Alma, but when I zoom further in, it’s clear that these are just rocks.



In terms of the anvil award for patrolling all the trails in the entire open space district, I am down to only three more preserves. They are all down here in the south end of the region, where I have been putting them off until the weather cools. I have a volunteer project next weekend at Mt Umunhum, so it will be a chance to see how the autumn is evolving there.

Wunderlich park, El Corte de Madera

April 15, 2014



Sunday, 13 April 2014

Today’s hike started at Wunderlich park in Woodside. Two hours later, I was at Skyline, where a pavilion marked a rest stop for a trail run from Huddart park and back. They told me they expected the first runners to show up around 10, about an hour after I got there. No problem, I’ll avoid the clutter by going over the ridge to El Corte de Madera on the west side. They have closed off the direct diagonal entrance across Skyline, but there is a new connector trail that I haven’t taken before.


The west side gets a lot more water, condensation from the fog, and is pretty and green, far more than the sheltered side. Nice.


Being wetter, there are more opportunities for interesting fungi to find a foothold.



I have been past Skeggs point a number of times in recent years, but never actually stopped here for quite a long time. It’s probably the single most significant staging point for mountain bikies in the north Skyline region, arguably equivalent to Saratoga summit on south Skyline.


An hour or three later, down in the forest, this same group passed me, heading back toward the parking lot.


Nice day, nice scenery. When I got back on the east side of the ridge, I met a fair number of trail run stragglers on their way back. Some of them looking okay, some of them — and this is only the halfway point — looking like it was going to be a long day.

It was a long enough day, also for me. But nice to get out and do it!

Wunderlich to Huddart

August 18, 2013

Saturday, 17 August 2013

I did pretty well on last weekend’s hike, so maybe I’ll try for a killer hike today. Supposed to be hot and muggy (!) inland. I went to Wunderlich park and hiked along the Skyline trail to Huddart park. I was worried that I might not exceed 20 miles, which is more or less the criterion for a killer hike, so I took Summit Springs road trail across Huddart to Richards road trail and looped back on Skyline trail. Then about halfway back, I crossed by way of the new Molder trail — new since last I was here — into El Corte de Madera open space preserve. Long enough, 23.5 miles.


Early on, I encountered a family of deer, peacefully munching on the poison oak. Three or four does not in the picture, but what surprised me was the two bucks, apparently getting along just fine.



The other interesting wildlife of the day was this woodpecker. Update: Doris tells me it’s a northern flicker. Thanks, Doris; you are always very helpful and knowledgeable.

Good to get out, get a little fresh air and exercise.

Wunderlich — El Corte de Madera Creek

June 15, 2013

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Left the car at the Wunderlich parking lot. Starting at 7:15, I hiked up the hill and down the other side in El Corte de Madera Creek open space preserve. Mountain bike heaven, although there was less traffic than I feared.


The small animals department was a little thin today. I thought the west side of the ridge would be more lush, but it’s far enough from the fog zone and the ocean that it’s pretty much the same as the east side, dry and dusty.

I think I have been to the tafoni area before, but it was many years ago, and I don’t remember anything about it. So I checked it out.


According to the bumpf, this is formerly submerged sandstone in which acidic water differentially dissolved calcium from some areas and either carried it away or deposited it in other areas. The calcium-rich areas do not erode as rapidly as the rest of the rock.



I have always just called these letterboxes, but the official name is tafoni. Very nice.






I hiked the Resolution trail, named for an aircraft that crashed here in October, 1953. It was a DC6 called the Resolution, inbound from Hawaii. The coast and ridge were fogged in, and in the days before radar navigation, and certainly before GPS, the pilots appear to have mistaken where they were. There were of course no survivors.


After seeing a giant salamander nearby two weeks ago, I had to hike the giant salamander trail here. Didn’t see anything along the trail, but the subsequent Timberview trail runs along a tiny creek, and I bet these little guys are giant salamander juveniles. One indication is the vertical tail fin.



A young water-strider turns lightly to thoughts of love.


At the top of Methusaleh trail is the Methusaleh tree, just east of Skyline. According to the sign, it is estimated to be 1800 years old, and has a ground-level diameter of 14 feet.



It isn’t tafoni, but the slate is pretty interesting, too.

First killer hike with the new boots, 22 miles,  4700 feet of gain. They still make my feet sore, but they’re getting better.

The only people in Palo Alto to see a harvestman on Thanksgiving

November 23, 2012

Thursday, Thanksgiving day

The weather is supposed to be nice through the long holiday weekend. I started out with a short run, followed by lunch with the aged aunt. We went to Flames coffee shop, where the closest we got to a turkey was the soup that came with my chicken souvlaki plate. A good time was had by all.

In the afternoon, Jacky and I wandered out to enjoy the day. Beautiful fall colours!

Jacky’s brother Roy sends her a flower of the week photo. I figure this is one she could send back to him!

We went to the Gamble house and garden, where I kept an eye out for small animals. It really isn’t the season to find very many small animals, but I spotted one of my favourites! — a harvestman! Cool!

Friday, 23 November

Happy birthday, Marian.

I went to Wunderlich park with the idea of crossing Skyline and extending the hike down the other side in Corte de Madera open space. But the trail into Corte de Madera was closed for rebuilding. The sign says there will be an access road and a parking area, which will indeed be an improvement.

So I hiked the trail along Skyline to Huddart park instead. I turned back not long after noon, a little bit short of Huddart: I didn’t recall what time sunset was, and did not want to be benighted out here. Back to the parking lot at 4, getting chilly, but not yet dark. 20.5 miles, 3500 vertical feet.

Here is a wet-season small animal! These tiny salamanders are found under loose bark. Their legs are so small that people frequently mistake them for tiny snakes. Fortunately (from the photographer’s point of view), they tend to freeze when threatened, rather than scrambling away. The same habitat caters for red centipedes, but they don’t stay around to have their pictures taken!

Spiders and snakeflies and harvestmen, oh dear!

July 1, 2012

Some catching up to do… when last I updated the blog, we had a collection of spiderlings. While the ladder was out, I took the opportunity to photograph an adult or two.

The photo below shows a spider that has just molted its skin! The old skin, there in front, and the new surface, light and shiny. That’s pretty cool.

A few days later, I was sitting in the back yard soaking up a beer, when a little guy came along and perched on my pants leg. The weave of the cloth (below) gives you an idea how big he isn’t!

And this little fellow ran back and forth on the rim of the table for quite a while.

<time passes> I hiked Purisima Redwoods open space preserve with Albert, and the next day, Big Basin Redwoods state park. Nice hikes, but I have no photos to post.

<more time passes> 1 July 2012

Today I left the car at the Wunderlich parking lot, hiked to Skyline, thence to Huddart park and back. As 22 mile hikes go, this one is pretty easy: one climb to Skyline, then along the ridge on a trail that is certainly not flat, but doesn’t gain or lose all that much extra elevation.

When I crossed Kings Mountain road, I stopped for a shot of the cyclists going down. They move right along.

I asked Albert if he knew why trees grow in spirals (he didn’t). When I asked the question, we were looking at an example of a right-hand screw; we speculated that trees in the southern hemisphere might twist the other way.

But here is possibly the most extreme spiral tree I have ever encountered, and it’s a left-hand twist. Most of the madrones around this area were also left-handed, although I saw some right-handed madrones further along. So maybe it’s just in the DNA.

On the way back downhill in Wunderlich park, I stopped to inspect a growth of thistles along the trail. At first I thought this was a tiny mantis, but when you think about it, it’s clearly not a mantis.

Upon research, I discover it’s a snakefly. I don’t think I have ever heard of snakeflies before, and I’m sure I haven’t seen any. Carnivorous.

And in the same area — if you weren’t paying attention, you might think this was a spider.

A harvestman, the other kind of daddy long-legs.

In this picture (above) we can see the little turret atop the head, with one eye on either side. Spiders are considerably more advanced than this.

Finally, a moth; I liked the dual yellow lines of the rolled-up proboscis.

This is the last hike for a while. Friday is for surgery on an Achilles tendon that has been giving me trouble for a number of years now. and I’ll be off the trails for a while.