For more than 50 years, Foothills Park was open only to Palo Alto residents, employees and their guests. The city reversed course in December and opened the park to the general public. Last week, we decided to give it a hike. The 1,400-acre park is a gem.Continue reading “Palo Alto Unlocks Foothills Park; See What You’ve Been Missing”
If you hike regularly on Mid Peninsula Open Space District land in the Santa Cruz Mountains, you likely have enjoyed trails brought to you by the late trail architect Gene Sheehan. You can find his favorite Midpen trail and vista at the Skyline Ridge Preserve.Continue reading “Bay Area Trail Builder’s Legacy Shines at Skyline Ridge Preserve”
The Cowell-Purisima Coastal Trail might have been named after Henry Dobbel if the San Francisco waffle tycoon had found similar good fortune as a land developer south of Half Moon Bay along Purisima Creek.Continue reading “Tales of Spring and a Waffle Tycoon, from the Coastal Trail at Purisima Creek”
Wonder fades with familiarity. So, we decided to hike into the foothills above the Brussels sprouts fields east of Highway 1 and Half Moon Bay Airport last week for a fresh look at familiar Coastside landmarks. It was wonderful!Continue reading “Farmer’s Daughter Trail Freshens the Familiar at Half Moon Bay”
San Pedro Rock juts stubbornly from the California coastline at Pacifica. It beckons to southbound drivers on Highway 1 but is impossible to reach without getting your feet wet. We settled for a new perspective on the iconic rock from the “well loved” trail to Pedro Point.Continue reading “Trail to Pedro Point Delivers New perspective on Pacifica’s Iconic Rock”
Have you ever heard of Burleigh H. Murray Ranch? We hadn’t, and we live just 10 miles away. The California State Parks parcel in the foothills east of Half Moon Bay features just one trail and a unique 19th-century barn. Sparse? Perhaps. But check it out.Continue reading “A Stroll to Burleigh Murray’s Dairy Barn at Half Moon Bay”
Pandemic. Wildfires. Political drama. It’s been a challenging year. We finally got back on the trail last month and found respite with a hike through the coast redwoods at Sam McDonald Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains – open space with a history.Continue reading “Hiking Among the Redwoods in the footsteps of a Stanford Legend”
You’re Never Far from the charm of Main Street when you hike the Mendocino Headlands.
“Red sky in morning, sailors take warning.” That’s sound advice from a wise mariner. But what about when smoke from California wildfires plunges The Coastside into darkness and the blood-orange sky persists at midday? We went for a drive to immerse ourselves in the weirdness.Continue reading “Cruising The Coast Beneath Apocalyptic Skies on the San Francisco Peninsula”
Every hike begins with great expectations. And while the redwoods at Russian Gulch State Park proved less grand and the fern canyon less lush than expected, we still found plenty to enjoy. Continue reading “Great Expectations on the Trail at Russian Gulch State Park in Mendocino”
Weekly hikes in the Santa Cruz Mountains have been a highlight of our socially distant summer. Sadly, our recent tromp at Wilder Ranch State Park will be our last for a while as the CZU August Lightning Complex fires rip through this coastal range. Continue reading “A Fiery End to a Summer of Hiking in the Santa Cruz Mountains”
The last blast from the IXL quarry north of Santa Cruz echoed up Fall Creek a century ago. Today, the gurgle of the creek prevails beneath the descendants of the old growth redwoods that fed the quarry’s lime kilns. Continue reading “A Forest Reborn Amid Lime Industry Relics on Fall Creek at Henry Cowell Redwoods”
Pandemic hiking rules can have unintended consequences. For example, when the one-way trails at Big Basin Redwoods added 4.5 miles, a degree of difficulty and four waterfalls to our day hike. Continue reading “Magical Falls & Pandemic Protocols on the Trail at Big Basin Redwoods”
There’s more to the Santa Cruz Mountains than redwoods, fence lizards and banana slugs. We hiked the Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve for views that stretch from the Pacific Ocean to San Francisco Bay. Continue reading “Astride the Crest of the Santa Cruz Mountains at Russian Ridge”
The Santa Cruz Mountains are awash in microclimates. Too warm? Too damp? Too cloudy? An alternative is nearby. If hiking a sun-baked hillside and a shady live oak woodland sounds nice, visit Monte Bello Preserve. But beware of angry squirrels! Continue reading “Crispy Grass, Live Oaks and Chuntering Squirrels at Monte Bello Preserve”
If visiting an uplifted riverbed choked with 150-million-year-old dinosaur bones isn’t enough of a thrill at Dinosaur National Monument, be sure to hike the gouged and twisted landscapes of the Sound of Silence Trail. Continue reading “A ‘Wall of Bones’ and Tortured Landscapes at Dinosaur National Monument”
Chill air, an icy trail and high wind beneath blue skies greeted us at 10,400 feet as we stepped off to take on the Lookout Lakes Trail in Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest. No problem. But an earworm of the classic “Smokey Bear” song nearly drove us nuts. Continue reading “A Rather Blustery Lakeside Hike High in Wyoming’s Medicine Bow Mountains”
Scotts Bluff National Monument is named for Hiram Scott, a fur trade clerk who died nearby in 1828 after taking ill on the trail home to Missouri. We visited this fall on the road home to California with considerably less drama. We hiked to the top. Nobody died.
Roadside attractions were plentiful on our drive across the American West this fall. Most were quirky, some historic, a few disappointing. But our favorite was Carhenge in Alliance, NE. We visited at sunrise.
Last in a series: “It’s just a hike. It’s just a hike,” our guide Rob insisted as he prepped us for our trek up the Ascencio Valley to the namesake towers of Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park. Then why did he have to say it twice?