There’s a trail not too far up the mountain called the Enchanted Forest. I didn’t see any gnomes or talking deer, but it was very pretty. The trail is steep- you’re either sliding down or clawing your way up in some parts. I tried running it the other day and couldn’t slow down for a good 1/4 mile simply because it was too steep going down. I don’t think I’ve ever ran that fast before. My glutes and arches are sore but it was so worth it. 2 years ago
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Loved the 7 mile hike at the Sabino Canyon this Thursday. Love how exercise feels. Got to go keep going to rejuvenate the soul. 3 years ago
Hiked with Dear Wife on the last day before a series of storms hit. Almaden Quicksilver Park was muddy but not unbearable, and there were a ton of other people out as well. We almost needed reservations for some of the benches along the trail. It was a short two mile hike, but we hadn’t been out for a while and we needed the exercise. 3 years ago
Still finding it hard to balance work and exercise, but I did manage to drag dear wife out to Almaden Quicksilver Park this afternoon for probably a 5 mile hike. We were following familiar trails, but the dramatically cloudy day added a bit of drama. We also found a new dirt road bulldozed up one hillside. I was hoping they were planning for some new trails and roads around the old mining areas on the top of the hill, but it instead led to some water tanks for the horse troughs at the top of the hill.
Still, it was hiking, and it was exercise. I’ve been really bad about keeping active; I’ve used our exercise bike a couple times, but it doesn’t hold my attention well enough.
Just need to figure out a way to hike regularly… 3 years ago
Last week was crazy at work, so I took today as a vacation day. Partially, I did it just to get a breather, but I also wanted to attend one of the internet group’s weekday hikes – 4.8 miles, ending right at sunset (and hopefully before the rangers locked the gates.)
The start was the usual punishing climb up the steep and constant Deep Gulch trail, but I made it (with the usual breaks to get breathing and heart rate down a bit.) The rest of the hike was pretty leisurely; as usual, I ended up at the back of the pack picking up the stragglers, and ended up making sure a mom and 8 year old made it home. They knew the trails and seemed to be doing good (except for occasional stops when the kid got tired), but leaving anyone behind always seems just not right.
And even for a beautiful, clear, warm day, the trails were still really empty. Nice!
I haven’t been hiking at all lately thanks to work, so this was a real treat. It was even better because dear wife and I did another 3 miles on a new trail on Saturday. 3 years ago
The weekend was just one constant downpour, so I didn’t get out at all. Again, I actually found myself just wanting to move and ended up on the exercise bicycle twice this week. I even found that all that “not-happy” music I’ve been trying to avoid does a great job of keeping me fired up. Liz Phair and the Cranberries make sure I do the full thirty minutes. 4 years ago
I’ve been stuck in the office way too much; I was getting antsy enough that I even got on an exercise bike mid-week because I was just missing doing any moving. (I normally can’t stand exercise equipment or gyms, so my willingness on Thursday to get on the exercise bike is pretty frightening.) Luckily, Dear Wife thought hiking sounded fun, so we planned to go off into Almaden this weekend.
The weather was unseasonable; warm, dry, only a slight breeze. We made a five mile loop around the top of Mine Hill. It’s a wonderful time to be hiking; the tall grasses from summer and leaves on many trees have disappeared, so there’s more vistas and more chances to see some of the ruins normally hidden. The county had also been through clearing brush along some of the trails, opening things up even more. At the old site of Englishtown, the clearing had exposed a bunch of artifacts which some nice hikers had stacked up on one of the picnic tables – a plate, part of a bottle, and some metal objects.
[Picture: the only hint that it’s January are the long shadows.] 4 years ago
I hiked with Dear Wife on Sunday. We only did the 2.5 mile loop because she’s recovering and we’ve got a bunch of family stuff to deal with. It was fun to get out, but I was so wanted to do a longer hike like I had been doing a few months ago.
Now that I’m working, my weekday hikes are a thing of the past; it’s too bad because they pushed me to do a good workout. I really hate gyms, so trying to find exercise time during the week is hard. I’m trying to train myself to walk a few blocks in the afternoon, and hopefully that will help.
I’m also looking forward to spring; perhaps the internet hiking group will do some more weekday evening hikes!
My crazy fantasy has been to head up into the hills at 7am maybe a day a week and to do 5-6 miles, then head home, clean up, and go into work a bit late. I’d have to stay longer, but at least I’d be exercising. 4 years ago
Clever me managed to sprain my ankle last week. Luckily, I wasn’t five miles from the car on some deserted trail, but at a pothole just down the street from the auto body shop where we’d picked up my wife’s car.
Plus side: One of my new co-workers was kind enough to find an ice pack in the emergency kit downstairs.
Minus side: I’d prefer to be walking all over campus meeting all the folks I’ll be working with.
By Saturday, I could walk on it (with a bit of pain), and with the help of my trusty hiking boots, went hiking with Dear Wife and a couple friends in Rancho San Antonio preserve. It’s a nice park, but it’s got to be the most popular park in the area. Saturday was the first really sunny day in a week, and every parking lot was stuffed with cars, and we passed tons of people in our short hike. Quite a change from Almaden.
At least I hiked, and I hope I heal quickly so I can hike this weekend too! 4 years ago
Another hike before the storm hits – this time, just a two mile loop or so. Cold and windy, but I’m still glad we got outside! 4 years ago
It’s been a dry fall, but a big (and cold) storm is due on Saturday and Sunday. DW and I wanted to push to keep in the exercise habit, so we did another 2.5 mile hike like yesterday. This time, we went in via Almaden’s Wood Road entrance. For a weekday, there were a ton of hikers – there were four cars in the parking lot, and I think we saw every one of those groups while hiking.
We’re also on a “see all the predators” tear; on the way back, we saw a bobcat on the trail ahead of us. It got out of the way pretty quickly once it realized there were hikers around. 4 years ago
Dear Wife and I have both been sick lately, but we’re both feeling better. We decided to test ourselves with a 2.5 mile hike in Almaden Quicksilver County Park.
The highlight of the day was when a woman on a horse stopped, looked off in the field, and said “Hey, there’s a mountain lion out there!” It was a few hundred feet away, sitting on top of a fallen tree, but every now and then it would move and we’d realize there was a cat out there. It looked big enough – maybe four feet across – that it might have actually been a mountain lion, too! Luckily, it wasn’t hungry for hikers.
[Photo on the Mine Hill Trail about 1/2 mile in from the McAbee Road entrance.] 4 years ago
It’s a beautiful fall day, so Dear Wife and I decided it was a great day to get out of the house and hike. We ended up in the park I visited with the Internet hiking group the week before last – the Fall Creek part of Samuel Cowell State Park. We had a nice time. The trail climbs gradually, so although there’s a reasonable overall climb (about 500 feet), there aren’t any particularly difficult stretches. 4 years ago
I hadn’t been hiking in the redwood forests recently, so the internet group’s Monday hike at Cowell State Park in Felton gave me a chance to remember what the Santa Cruz Mountains were really like.
Total hike was 8.2 miles, almost all in redwood forests. Last week’s rain meant all the creeks in the park were running steadily, and the shade under the trees made things a bit chilly until I’d been walking for a while.
Most of my hiking’s been in Almaden this year, so I’ve been in oak forests or in grassy areas. I’d forgotten how tall the redwoods are; as we started hiking, I looked up and felt like I was inside the largest European cathedral, the tree branches only starting a couple hundred feet up. I hadn’t had that feeling of being “enclosed” for a long time.
[Photo: walking by the lime kilns in the Fall Creek unit of Samuel Cowell State Park.] 4 years ago
McAbee Road to Bull Run and return, 8.2 miles. Another solo hike.
At the half way point, the road that’s been climbing steadily suddenly starts making switchbacks up the side of an even steeper hillside. At the first switchback, the dirt road makes a neat hairpin turn under a high canopy bunch of bay trees… but another trail heads off in the opposite direction. This trail heads to the site of the Providencia mine; it’s always intrigued me because the road shows lots of traffic, but the trail to the Providencia looks untouched, just covered with leaves.
This time, I took the chance to head towards the Providencia, wondering if I was being bright for hiking alone on an extremely unused trail during a time when the trail I’m leaving’s mostly unused. Didn’t see any rattlesnakes (yes!), saw a huge cut into the face of the mountain and a hillside cut away in benches, all the digging obviously from years and years and years ago, nature hiding most of the damage.
It was a hot hike out from the Providencia back towards the regular trail, and the road cut across several quartz veins that usually were the source of the mercury veins. It’s not hard to figure out why the miners ended up down at the Providencia. 4 years ago
It’s been ages since I hiked alone. Now that the weather’s cooling off, I managed to grab a free morning and do a few hours of hiking in Almaden Quicksilver Park. This time, I wanted to push myself, so I went up the very steep Deep Gulch Trail – about a thousand feet of elevation gain in a mile. This trail does have one saving feature; most of the trail’s in the shade, so it isn’t as deadly as the other routes up to the top.
That took the first forty-five minutes or so (with a bunch of breaks), so I spent the rest of the time wandering around the top of the hill and enjoying the sights.
Picture: Timbers and wire rope holding back the hillside, Englishtown. 4 years ago
Yep, I’m still hiking regularly. Five miles with Dear Wife, five miles with internet group, four miles with Dear Wife (on a hot day in the melting-est part of Almaden), and a five mile full-speed-all-the-way-up-eleven-hundred-feet evening hike.
I’m still really grateful for the internet hiking group, but I do have some minor problems with their lack of organization. I’ve often found myself at the back of the group watching out for stragglers; sometimes that isn’t bad (because my normal pace is, quite surprisingly, slow compared to the rest of the crowd.) It’s also good that someone’s watching to make sure no one’s pushing themselves too hard or at risk of getting lost. Normally, I don’t mind, but today, one person needed to stop but the group didn’t. I ended up leading her on a short trail so we could meet the rest of the crowd when they returned. Yeah, it wasn’t much trouble, but I’m frustrated I got to miss the fun part of the hike because I was being responsible. Time to suggest they make “end of the pack leader” an explicit job. 4 years ago
Neat four mile hike this afternoon, this time with my lovely wife. We haven’t done many hikes together lately, but she needed the excuse to get outside, and I was happy to give her a reason to go hiking! 4 years ago
Great. I’m still losing my battle to regularly hike. This time, I’ve missed a good couple weeks, but I finally went out Monday for another evening hike with the internet group. It was a short hike-maybe three and a half miles-but this time I didn’t bother to watch out for the stragglers and instead kept up with the main group.
As usual, a great setting, nice people, and a great chance to get outside and forget about the annoying parts of the job hunt. 4 years ago
I missed a couple weeks of hiking; one family crisis and a lot of time and stress on the job hunt kept me from either doing my own hike or joining someone else. I could feel a difference; I was feeling sluggish, and I knew I wasn’t handling stress as well as I could. Luckily, I managed to join the internet group this week for a 5.5 mile hike in Almaden.
If I can fall off the wagon so easily because of a busier calendar, I hate to think what I’ll be like when I’m back at work. I guess this is a good wakeup call that I need to keep up the socializing and hiking no matter what.
Sure makes the hour commute to one potential job seem like a sure path to insanity. 4 years ago
Another evening group hike, this time five miles. With the later sunsets, it’s hotter when we start, but the yellow, low-angle light makes for great pictures. The hills were just glowing!
I also got some particularly nice shots of poison oak. It’s not the most well-liked of subjects, but the reddish leaves covering the hillsides were attractive. (Poison oak is a bush or vine found on the west coast that gives you a severe rash if you touch it.) 4 years ago
I’m back home, and I went off on another group hike to keep myself on the straight and narrow. This was an easy hike to the top of a nearby hill—maybe a 900 foot elevation change. Too bad it was such a toasty 90 degree day; the whole hike was on exposed hillsides, and I once again found out that I don’t do well in heat. I made it to the top, but I tended to be one of the slower hikers. I always think I’m pretty fast, but then I see how quickly the pros dash up the hillside…
The hike had some more excitement (other than the view from the top, and the strong breeze, and the heat). On the way down, one of the other hikers noticed a snake on the path that several others had already passed by. It wasn’t just a snake, it was a rattlesnake, and although it was calm having a bunch of lead-footed hikers running by, it got a bit more upset as folks stopped to look at it. I’m not a big snake fan at the best of times, so I carefully stayed back (even as one of the other hikers was saying “yeah, just pass it by! It can’t strike more than half its body length away!”). I gave it space, and waited politely for it to dash to the other side of the trail.
It’s the first rattlesnake I’ve ever seen. Personally, I wouldn’t mind not seeing any others for a while… 4 years ago
I might not have been posting, but I have been hiking, this time on vacation. Two weeks of vacation was on a farm out in the middle of nowhere in Italy, and there were plenty of opportunities to hike around.
Most memorable hike: Short three mile hike through the woods to the “Castle which only God knows”, a small abandoned castle/fortified house out in the middle of nowhere. It dates from the 1300’s, but it’s empty now, gated and padlocked. Luckily, the local high school kids must use it as a place to hang out, so I managed to find an unlocked side gate and got to wander around, alternately looking at medieval architecture and recent grafitti. We don’t have medieval castles in California, so being able to wander through one (especially an abandoned one) was cool.
On the way back, I looked through the trees at the side of the trail and realized that all the surrounding land had once been terraced farmland… long before Europeans ever came to California.
Most memorable moment: the hills are overrun with wild boar. Now, we don’t have many wild boar around here; my only exposure to ‘em was running into a trap and cage set in the watershed lands of Marin County. Huge cage, lots of warning signs about how mean and violent those wild boar are. I definitely didn’t want to meet ‘em.
So a couple days after arriving, I go wandering around the farm. I head up past the vegetable gardens, past the pens filled with these huge pigs destined to become prosciutto, through a couple gates, and out into dense woodlands. The bird sounds start disappearing, and the forest closes in. There’s an electric fence along one side of the trail. Suddenly, I just feel miles away from civilization, and start noticing a sound like someone trying to start an outboard motor a fair distance away. Then I realize it’s not an outboard motor, but must be one of those wild boar. I can’t see it, but it doesn’t sound like something I want to meet. After all, it’s got to be bigger than those tame pigs I walked by that seemed huge, right?
I slip away, and slowly the grunting sound fades off.
The next afternoon, I saw some of those wild boar wandering by, and they were all knee-high. Ok, I feel really silly. 4 years ago
I forgot to hike last week, and I actually started getting a bit nervous about missing a second week of hiking. The internet group didn’t have any weekday hikes, so I went out this morning for 6 miles. Quick hike to the top of the hill, visit one of the old mine areas I haven’t seen for a long time, wandered out to the old Spanish cemetary out on one of the dry hills, and wandered back through bay laurel groves on the steep Deep Gulch trail.
Picture: mine car dump, April Tunnel. 5 years ago
The internet hiking group didn’t have a weekday hike I could make this week, so if I wanted to hike this week, I’d have to do it myself. 8.1 miles, nice spring weather, one new trail, and a bit of wandering off the trail. I even saw a rose bush peeking out of the poison oak. Civilization (and the miner’s social hall) may have disappeared, but the roses stayed around.
Picture: foundations for the pumps and hoists at the Buena Vista Shafthouse, Almaden Quicksilver County Park. 5 years ago
Third week in a row for the internet hiking group’s evening hikes, and another really nice hike through Almaden. 4.5 miles, very social time.
My only problem is that I haven’t gone out on my own in… geez, a month? If I want to get some of my own trips in, I’d better start doing them now.
But I am very, very happy I’m reaching the “once a week” goal. 5 years ago
Another hike with the Internet hiking group. Three miles, a bit of climbing, and returning through the woods at twilight. Cool! 5 years ago
Wow… I’ve done 44 miles of hiking in the last month or so, and I’m definitely keeping it up the once a week goal. Let’s see if I can keep it up for a few more months!
Yesterday’s hike was with my favorite aunt (“your only aunt!”). My dad managed to get her interested in hiking, and both of them had gotten me interested. My aunt’s also a huge fan of Mt. Tam, so Monday’s hike was definitely on her turf.
I’d invited her down our way to go hiking in Almaden. It turns out she wasn’t expecting much; she’d always heard of Almaden in terms of the mercury mines, so she expected she’d be seeing lots of signs of pollution, hot trails, etc. She loved it—great views, far away from suburbia, and enough sites to give some places to aim for and stop at. She’s even willing to go back again!
We did see remnants of the mining. We pushed past some brush and peeked over an edge of a rocky hillside yesterday, and saw the site of the main tunnel, the first major mine site on the hill. All there is now is a hollowed out spot in a hillside, a small algae-choked pond, and a ton of California poppies covering the bare rock face.
And then we turned around and saw oak-covered hills rolling off into the distance.
Robert 5 years ago
When I was growing up, my dad would take us hiking on Mt. Tamalpais, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Mt. Tam is a great place for hiking; there’s tons of trails going all over the place, a couple of lodges on the mountain that can be a destination and a place to get lemonade, a range of landscapes from redwood forests to dry hillsides, and wonderful views of all of San Francisco Bay. As much as I like it, it’s a good hour and a half drive from home, so I’ll usually hike somewhere closer. I don’t think I’ve been up there for at least five years, and probably more.
We were in San Francisco this weekend, so we decided to visit Mt. Tam on the way home. We did one of my childhood hikes – start at Mountain Home about halfway up, hike up to the West Point Inn, hang out at that lodge and look at the view (but no lemonade—they’re closed on Mondays). Finally, walk down a fire road (the Old Railroad Grade) back to the car. Total of about four miles of hiking, 900 foot elevation change.
Mt. Tam is as beautiful as ever, and I remembered all the reasons why I liked hiking up there. Hiking through little redwood groves, across creeks, or sage-scented hillsides, looking down on the Bay, the Ocean, and the coastline, and feeling far away from civilization.
On the other hand, it definitely looked different from childhood. The Marin water district and state park folks look like they’ve been clearing some of the overgrown brush. The West Point Inn members have cleared a pretty big area around the lodge for fire prevention, so trails that used to be shaded by big trees are now crossing steep, grassy hillsides. Other places look overgrown from my childhood memories; nature keeps growing, and without fires or human work to clear some of the areas, they’re just getting filled with more brush. I remember one area used to be covered with waist high chaparral; as you walked down the path, you felt like you were wading. Now, all the bushes are at shoulder height, and it feels like you’re underneath the bushes.
I need to go back more often! 5 years ago
Another hike with the internet group. Today’s twist: it’s from 6pm til dark.
I haven’t done many evening hikes. It’s probably a combination of trying not to be one of those poor lost folks you hear about on the evening news, and wanting to be safely at the burger place with a hamburger and beer by dark. One of the other two in the group also was new to hiking at twilight. So, with an emergency flashlight, a couple Clif Bars, and an extra sweatshirt in case anything should go wrong, I headed off.
Anyway, I had a great time. We ended up on trails I’d never been on before, explored the top of one of the hills near the old town site, and descended down a steep trail as the light faded.
We also made it up the 1000 foot climb faster than I’ve ever done it before. I’m just happy I kept up! 5 years ago