Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park: Loop to Bernal Park

stats box For an initial visit to Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park, this was an ideal semi-loop hike. Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park is a currently largely undeveloped open space just west of Pleasanton, including the upper portion of Pleasanton Ridge. There is only one trailhead, at the Foothill Staging Area on Foothill Rd. Various loop hikes are possible, from less than half the length of this one to more than twice the length. Two sections of the park are connected by the City of Pleasanton’s Augustin Bernal Park. The primary highlight is the fantastic views from the ridge-top.

After hiking up to perhaps the main trail junction, intersection #5, I followed a path roughly northwest and slightly below the ridgeline on its west side, mainly on Thermalito Trail. Then I went up to Ridgeline Trail on the ridge-top and continued northwest a short distance into Bernal Park before returning along Ridgeline Trail. The basic semi-loop route was 6.9 miles, plus about 0.6 mile of detours, and a bit over 1800 feet of elevation gain. On the GPS track the orange dot denotes the staging area.

GPS track

GPS track

There was a variety of plants in the picnic area at the trailhead, including this interesting-looking native grass less than 6 inches high.

picture of native grass near the trailhead

Native grass near the trailhead

The lower part of the trail passes close to a large patch of poison hemlock (Conium maculatum). To set the scale, the plants are about 5 feet tall, and they have a characteristic lacy leaf pattern.

image of poison hemlock

Poison hemlock

At the first junction I turned left to go up Woodland Trail, passing Ithuriel’s spear, milk and Italian thistle, blue-eyed grass, and yellow sticky monkeyflower along the way. The trail climbs steadily to intersection #5 and subsequently higher along the contour of Pleasanton Ridge. The outbound route, mainly along Thermalito Trail, is a bit less steep than the return route along Ridgeline Trail.

Elevation profile

Elevation profile

As the trail climbs from the trailhead, if you turn around you can see I-680 in the valley below. Around intersection #5 there is a pretty view of Sunol Ridge, which runs parallel to Pleasanton Ridge about 1 mile away.

photo of Sunol Ridge

Sunol Ridge

So many trails meet at intersection #5 that I initially left the area on a different trail from the one I intended to take. By the time I got everything sorted out, I had covered about 0.6 mile exploring some of the nearby trails. I intended to follow the arrow to Ridgeline Trail, though I did not realize it at the time. At the next intersection, #10, I followed a short trail toward Olive Grove Trail, then Olive Grove Trail to Thermalito Trail. Along Thermalito Trail I began to see yellow mariposa lilies (Calochortus luteus).

picture of yellow mariposa lily along Thermalito Trail

Yellow mariposa lily along Thermalito Trail

I also passed poppies and yarrow and listened to meadowlark songs, which always make me feel like I’m far away from civilization. There were sweeping views to the southeast, like this one.

image of view southeast from Thermalito Trail

View southeast from Thermalito Trail

You could also look up toward the top of Pleasanton Ridge to see where the route would later lead. After almost 1 mile on Thermalito Trail, at intersection #17 I hiked up a short, steep spur trail to Ridgeline Trail, where I turned left to hike along the highest portion of the ridge-top. In this area there is a single-track trail popular with mountain bikers that goes up and over several hilltops, all almost the same 1500-foot height, while a more level fire road winds around the hills. I decided to follow the bike trail.

After passing over the hilltops I arrived at a gate (intersection #19), where the trail drops down the east side of the ridge-top and enters Augustin Bernal Park. In this shady area there was more yellow sticky monkeyflower, a few purple Chinese houses (Collinsia heterophylla), and some elegant clarkia (Clarkia unguiculata). I turned around at the intersection of Ridgeline and Thermalito Trails. When I returned to the hills at the top of the ridge, I paused to savor the views. Roughly perpendicular to Pleasanton Ridge was a nice view over the city of Pleasanton and across several small reservoirs toward Los Vaqueros Watershed – note the windmills on the skyline – and Brushy Peak, just out of view to the right and about 15 miles away.

photo of view of Pleasanton from Ridgeline Trail

View of Pleasanton from Ridgeline Trail

Almost due north, Mt Diablo was clearly visible about 17 miles away.

picture of Mt Diablo from the top of Pleasanton Ridge

Mt Diablo from the top of Pleasanton Ridge

Shortly after I passed the junction where I’d joined Ridgeline Trail there was one last small rise, with spectacular views to the southeast, with the Sunol and Ohlone Wildernesses in the background and the lower portion of Pleasanton Ridge in the foreground.

image of view southeast toward the Sunol and Ohlone Wildernesses

View southeast toward the Sunol and Ohlone Wildernesses

As I returned along Ridgeline Trail I was startled to see a few clay mariposa lilies (Calochortus arguillosus), the first time I’ve seen two different types of mariposa lily in such close proximity.  It was quite breezy, so I had to carefully hold the blossom to keep it still enough for the photo.

photo of clay mariposa lily along Ridgeline Trail

Clay mariposa lily along Ridgeline Trail

Shortly after that the trail passes through a small grove of trees, almost equally spaced. I think they are bay laurel trees.

picture of bay laurel trees

Bay laurel trees

And just past the grove of trees there is a water fountain next to the trail! There were additional pretty views to the southeast as the trail continued to descend from the top of the ridge. Eventually I reached intersection #10, where I’d branched off earlier in the hike, and retraced my path to intersection #5 and down Woodland Trail to the trailhead. This was a great introduction to Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park, and I look forward to return another time to explore the northern portion of the park.

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Mt Diablo State Park: Mitchell Creek – Eagle Peak Loop

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Mt Diablo State Park is a large (20,000 acres, or about 31 square miles) park whose centerpiece is 3849-foot Mt Diablo. Someday I will try to hike all the way to the top, a 14-mile round trip hike, but this time I stayed on the lower part of the mountain, below 2400 feet elevation. There are something like 150 miles of hiking trails in the park, so lots of options to choose from! For this hike I decided to do the Mitchell Canyon – Eagle Peak loop, which starts at the Mitchell Canyon Rd entrance, near the park’s headquarters, and passes Deer Flat and Murchio Gap on the way to Eagle Peak, Twin Peaks, and Mitchell Rock. Highlights were the numerous wildflowers, including several first-time sightings (for me), and wonderful views.

The loop is 8.2 miles and includes over 2300 feet of vertical gain. Not surprisingly, the trail passes through several different types of habitat, including woodland, grassland, chaparral, and drier rocky habitat. On the GPS track the orange dot shows the location of the Mitchell Canyon Rd trailhead.

GPS track

GPS track

The first two miles follow Mitchell Creek up a canyon, with a gentle climb from about 600 feet to 900 feet elevation. In the creek-side woodland there were numerous wildflowers. The first was elegant clarkia (Clarkia unguiculata), with the initial sighting barely 0.1 mile from the trailhead. By the end of the hike I had observed five different species of clarkia!

photo of elegant clarkia along Mitchell Canyon Trail

Elegant clarkia along Mitchell Canyon Trail

Perhaps ½ mile from the trailhead I noticed some sunflower-like flowers that I believe are Mt Diablo helianthella (Helianthella castanea).

picture of Mt Diablo helianthella

Mt Diablo helianthella

I was specifically on the lookout for Mt Diablo fairy lanterns (Calochortus pulchellus), which are endemic to the Mt Diablo area. They are considered rare due to their limited geographic range. I made sure to photograph the first ones I saw, but then I did see quite a few others later in the hike. The bumps are a characteristic of this species.

image of Mt Diablo fairy lantern

Mt Diablo fairy lantern

I also saw some California wild rose (Rosa californica), cow parsnip (Heracleum maximum), poison hemlock (Conium maculatum) with characteristic lacy leaves, and seep monkeyflower (Mimulus guttatus), along with thistle, poppies, Ithuriel’s spear, and sticky monkeyflower. Just past the 2-mile mark there was a bit of blue larkspur and the entrance to a small cave. I decided not to stop to explore the cave. There was also some paintbrush (Castilleja). Near the edge of the wooded area I noticed some more clarkia, this time two-lobed clarkia (Clarkia bilobia).

photo of two-lobed clarkia

Two-lobed clarkia

Nearby there were some red ribbons (Clarkia concinna ssp. either concinna or automixa), another type of clarkia. Note that the petals have three lobes.

picture of red ribbons

Red ribbons

As the trail emerged from the woodland the grade began to get steeper, the habitat turned to chaparral, and the flora changed. Shortly the grade became more-or-less 15% on average for the remainder of the hike.

Elevation profile

Elevation profile

One of the first shrubs I noted was pipestem (Clematis lasiantha), with characteristic and distinctive “hairy balls,” the stage after the blossom stage has finished. Then I noticed some butterfly mariposa lily (Calochortus venustus). I saw these beautiful mariposa lilies off and on until I was almost back at the trailhead.

image of butterfly mariposa lily

Butterfly mariposa lily

In a sunnier area I saw a few four-spot clarkia (Clarkia purpurea ssp. quadrivulnera) and small clarkia (Clarkia affinis).

photo of four-spot clarkia

Four-spot clarkia

There was also some bush lupine (Lupinus albifrons), coyote mint (Monardella villosa), yarrow, and some manzanita. I am not sure if any of the manzanita was Mt Diablo manzanita (Arctostaphylos auriculata), but it did have relatively silvery-colored leaves. This type of manzanita is endemic to the Mt Diablo area. I also saw a few swallowtail butterflies that did not bother to land and pose for pictures.

About 2.8 miles from the trailhead I saw the first of many clusters of purple Chinese houses (Collinsia heterophylla), generally on the steep uphill side of the trail in some shade.

picture of purple Chinese houses

Purple Chinese houses

There was a gorgeous view generally back along Mitchell Canyon, with Mount Zion in the background. (I’m still learning local landmarks, but I think this identification is correct.)

image of view from Mitchell Creek Trail

View from Mitchell Creek Trail

Perhaps ½ mile further I found several wind poppies (Stylomecon heterophylla), a bit of red larkspur (Delphinium nudicaule) and some pale western larkspur (Delphinium hesperium ssp. pallescens).

photo of pale western larkspur

Pale western larkspur

Around 3.8 miles from the trailhead I arrived at Deer Flat, a little over 2100 feet elevation and the first peak on the elevation profile. Here, hikers who intend to proceed directly to the Mt Diablo Summit continue climbing on Deer Flat Rd. I turned left on Meridian Ridge Rd for a brief 100-foot descent before another climb. Just as I arrived at the bottom of the descent I noticed a deer in the trail ahead of me. It had already stopped and was carefully observing me. I took a picture with the super-zoom on my camera, then started slowly walking closer. In a moment, the deer vanished.

picture of deer, not far from Deer Flat

Deer, not far from Deer Flat

The next 1.7 miles or so I would be hiking above 2000 feet elevation, and there were frequent fantastic views in multiple directions. For example, here is a view generally to the north-northwest along the east leg of the loop, with Twin Peaks clearly visible on the skyline about 1½ miles away.

image of view toward Twin Peaks from Meridian Ridge Rd

View toward Twin Peaks from Meridian Ridge Rd

In this area I was a bit startled to notice pine cones and ferns together at the base of a manzanita plant. At 4.5 miles from the trailhead I reached Murchio Gap, at the very slight depression in the second peak of the elevation profile. Here I turned left on single-track Eagle Peak Trail to begin what many hikers call the fun part of the hike, with steep ascents and descents along steeper hillsides. Actually, because the trail is narrower, steeper, and rockier, it is a good time to pay attention to where you are going!

The reward for more difficult hiking is fantastic views, like this one roughly to the north. Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve is in the golden hills, with Clayton on the valley floor and Suisun, Grizzly, and Honker Bays behind.

photo of view north from Eagle Peak Trail

View north from Eagle Peak Trail

In this upper portion of the trail I saw several plants/wildflowers that are able to survive in the rocky, dry terrain. One was this mystery plant: I think it is some type of sanicle (Sanicula) but I wasn’t able to make a more specific identification. This was a fairly good-sized patch, several feet across but only a few inches high. The silvery leaves looked almost succulent, and the flower heads were yellow and orange-brown.

picture of mystery plant, perhaps a sanicle

Mystery plant, perhaps a sanicle

Another interesting find was some common dudleya (Dudleya cymosa), which is a succulent plant adapted to growing in dry, rocky areas. There are leaves whirling around the stems up to the pale yellow flute-like flowers, and in addition there are base leaves, not shown in the photo, which can be rather complex and beautiful in pattern. I had not seen this type of dudleya before, but I found quite a few plants in this area.

image of common dudleya

Common dudleya

About 5.3 miles from the trailhead I reached Eagle Peak, officially at 2369 feet elevation and (barely) the highest point of the hike. From here it would be almost literally all downhill to the trailhead. An unusual find along the way was a patch of pincushion plants (Navarretia), each spiky head with tiny, brilliant pink blossoms waving on long stems.

photo of pincushion plant

Pincushion plant

There were repeat views north toward Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve, beyond which at times I could see the big southern Solano County windmill farm in the background. The descent from Eagle Peak is quite steep in places, with the grade averaging 15%. At 6.2 miles from the trailhead Eagle Peak Trail goes right and Mitchell Rock Trail continues straight. Just past this junction the trail passes Twin Peaks, and there is an almost imperceptible rise before resuming the descent.

It is good to remember to look behind, especially when doing a loop or point-to-point hike. There were spectacular views of Mt Diablo from Twin Peaks, at relatively close range. I think that the ridgetop trail near the center of the picture may be Meridian Ridge Rd.

picture of Mt Diablo, viewed from Twin Peaks

Mt Diablo, viewed from Twin Peaks

There was chia and chamise, and a few Anna’s hummingbirds zooming around and singing. During the descent I passed a few wildflowers I had not noticed on the outbound part of the loop, including some unusual pale-colored monkeyflower, a bit of phacelia, and a patch of hedgenettle (Stachys). I thought the patterns on the hedgenettle blossoms were especially pretty.

image of delicate hedgenettle blossoms

Delicate hedgenettle blossoms

Shortly the trail descended from open chaparral into rolling grassland, with about 1½ miles to go. There were a few more mariposa lilies, elegant clarkia, and an especially large pine cone, almost 1 foot long!   A little less than 1 mile from the trailhead the Mitchell Rock Trail approaches Mitchell Rock, with a great view of this outcropping overlooking the canyon.

photo of approaching Mitchell Rock

Approaching Mitchell Rock

There is a final left turn on Oak Rd to complete the loop. Near this junction I noticed two wild turkeys walking through the tall grasses. One of them reached a place where the grass wasn’t quite as tall, and I got a clear picture of its head.

picture of wild turkey walking through tall grass

Wild turkey walking through tall grass

Due to the steepness and terrain, this hike was a bit more challenging than the raw distance might indicate. However, both the views and the wildflowers were worth the effort!

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Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve: Dusky-footed Woodrat Trail Loop

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At just 366 acres, Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve is one of the smaller open spaces in the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District. It is located in the hills above San Carlos and Redwood City and provides a wooded retreat for residents of the nearby communities. The lower portions of the park are wooded, shaded, and cool, while the upper areas are in chaparral and are a bit more open. There are 6 miles of hiking trail in the preserve. This hike traversed a 3.8-mile loop, with nearly 2 additional miles exploring another trail that can be part of a shorter, 2-mile loop. I had hiked the 2-mile loop on another visit, coincidentally 1 year to the day prior to this hike.

I was hoping to see some wildflowers, including yellow mariposa lilies and perhaps a few others that would be new for me, and enjoy views of the surrounding hills. I was successful on all three counts!

On the GPS track the orange dot denotes the main park entrance, not far off Edgewood Rd.

GPS track

GPS track

The main loop consisted of Cordilleras Trail, Dusky-footed Woodrat Trail, Hassler Trail, Dick Bishop Trail, and finally Blue Oak Trail. About 0.5 mile from the start I took a detour to explore part of the Polly Geraci Trail, and after completing the entire Dusky-footed Woodrat Trail I took another detour to explore nearly the rest of the Polly Geraci Trail. These two explorations added nearly 2 miles to the main loop distance and make the elevation profile look somewhat more complicated than it would if I’d omitted these explorations.

Elevation profile

Elevation profile

Cordilleras Trail, or its access trail, leaves the parking area and runs next to a road for about 0.5 mile. Although the wildflowers are not spectacular, the trail is pleasant and provides a wheelchair-accessible open space experience. This trail is actually on private property, and on the day of the hike there was a small herd of goats grazing in a fenced-in area across the road from the trail. Some of the goats were bearded.

picture of goat near Cordilleras Trail

Goat near Cordilleras Trail

There were filarees, thistles, yarrow, and poppies along the trail. Perhaps the most interesting wildflower was some pink honeysuckle (Lonicera hispidula) growing in almost a hedge-like area next to the trail.

photo of pink honeysuckle

Pink honeysuckle

About 0.5 mile from the parking area I made my first detour, to explore the lower portion of the Polly Geraci Trail, which climbs through a moist, wooded area. Shortly I saw what I believe is ookow (Dichelostemma congestum); the “congestum” part of the Latin name refers to the density of blossoms in the flower head.

image of ookow along Polly Geraci Trail

Ookow along Polly Geraci Trail

There was a bit of blue-eyed grass, Ithuriel’s spear, madia, miner’s lettuce, woodland star, rigid hedgenettle, and white globe lilies – among others. There were ferns by the trail side, and juncos and other small birds chirped and flitted among the trees. I noticed a few exceptionally bright pink-purple flowers. I’m pretty sure they are Franciscan onion (Allium peninsulare var. franciscanum). Both the color and blossom shape are distinctive.

picture of Franciscan onion along Polly Geraci Trail

Franciscan onion along Polly Geraci Trail

After about 1/3 mile I turned around and returned to the trail junction, where I turned left to begin hiking on the Dusky-footed Woodrat Trail. This trail is named for a species of woodrat that lives in the area. Innocent-looking piles of sticks can denote nests; I think I noticed a few such piles, but I was careful not to disturb any inhabitants. This trail starts in the wooded area but then emerges into a more open, chaparral-covered area. I found a lizard crossing the trail, then making rustling sounds in the leaves next to the trail.

photo of lizard on the Dusky-footed Woodrat Trail

Lizard on the Dusky-footed Woodrat Trail

Not surprisingly, there was a lot of chamise (Adenostoma fasciculatum).

image of chamise


There was another type of chaparral shrub with clusters of tiny white star-shaped flowers, but I’m not sure what it is.

picture of unknown chaparral shrub

Unknown chaparral shrub

There was more yarrow, yellow sticky monkeyflower, buckeye, thistle, and rattlesnake grass (Briza maxima). From the highest point of the hike, at around 800 feet elevation, there was a nice view of nearby Edgewood County Park.

photo of view of nearby Edgewood County Park

View of nearby Edgewood County Park

In the sunny sections of Dusky-footed Woodrat Trail there was quite a bit of a small shrub with pretty yellow flowers, called peak rushrose (Helianthemum scoparium).

image of peak rushrose along Dusky-footed Woodrat Trail

Peak rushrose along Dusky-footed Woodrat Trail

Another chaparral plant, which apparently co-exists nicely with chamise, is pitcher sage (Lepechinia calycina). On this specimen most of the buds had not yet opened to reveal the white blossoms.

picture of pitcher sage

Pitcher sage

I was also rather taken with plants with small white ball-shaped blossoms. I think they are called marsh baccharis (Baccharis douglasii).

photo of marsh baccharis (I think)

Marsh baccharis (I think)

As the trail descends from the highest elevation and goes south and a little west, highway noise from I-280 becomes apparent and intrudes a bit on the sense of solitude and remoteness of the area. At one point the trail is close enough to the highway that you can see it through a small break in the chaparral. It is a reminder that some of our open spaces are, indeed, quite close to population centers and transportation links. Earlier in the hike there had been views of the nearby neighborhood in San Carlos, but for some reason the visual scene was less intrusive than the highway sounds.

In the dry, sunny areas there was colorful paintbrush. Another resident of the chaparral area was yerba santa (Eriodictyon californicum), with delicate pale purple flute-like blossoms.

image of yerba santa

Yerba santa

Near the southwestern end of the Dusky-footed Woodrat Trail there was a single shrub (that I noticed) with bright yellow flowers, called bush poppy (Dendromecon rigida).

picture of bush poppy

Bush poppy

Gradually the trail starts to go in and out of wooded areas and alternates with chaparral. About 3.4 miles into my hike I reached the end of Dusky-footed Woodrat Trail, where it tees into Hassler Trail. Actually, the trail really doesn’t go anywhere to the right, so you go left. Near the junction there is a nice view of San Francisco Bay. On the initial section of Hassler Trail there were a half dozen yellow mariposa lilies (Calochortus luteus): not many, but they were right next to the trail and easy to find.

photo of yellow mariposa lily

Yellow mariposa lily

There were also some views of the nearby forest-covered ridgelines to the west, in San Francisco PUC watershed property. About 0.2 mile along Hassler Trail is a junction where Polly Geraci Trail goes left and Dick Bishop Trail goes right. I took my second major detour to go down Polly Geraci Trail. From the upper part of the trail you can look left toward the upper sections of Dusky-footed Woodrat Trail. In the open areas of the trail there is more yerba santa and some rather large manzanita, and in the shady areas a bit lower there is solomon’s seal and what I thought might be fat solomon’s seal. I turned around as I approached the curve where I’d turned around in my earlier exploration. Earlier in the spring I think there are more wildflowers along Polly Geraci Trail.

After I returned to the junction I continued on Dick Bishop Trail. With a more southerly view of the ridgeline, I could see marine fog peeking over the ridge-top. From here almost all the way back to the parking area there were lots of cheerful prettyface (Triteleia ixiodes) flowers.

image of prettyface along Dick Bishop Trail

Prettyface along Dick Bishop Trail

In the upper section of Dick Bishop Trail there was also a patch of western vervain (Verbena lasiostachys), with distinctive long flower stalks and small light purple blossoms.

picture of western vervain

Western vervain

There were also patches of coyote mint (Monardella villosa), with pretty purple puff flower heads.

photo of coyote mint

Coyote mint

I continued down Dick Bishop Trail about 0.6 mile, then turned right on Blue Oak Trail, which descends through a lovely forested area lined by blue oaks and dotted with more prettyface. This created a peaceful ending to a very enjoyable hike.

Posted in Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, San Mateo County, wildflower hikes | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Santa Teresa County Park: Stile Ranch and Fortini Trails

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This spring I seem to be doing some short hikes with specific purposes, generally to try to find a particular wildflower. This time I went to Santa Teresa County Park south of San Jose hoping to see some most beautiful jewel flowers. With such a pretty name, I was sure I would be enchanted with the flowers!

I hiked a 2.7-mile loop starting at the park entrance near Fortini Rd. Going clockwise around the loop this involves hiking up Stile Ranch Trail, then taking Mine Trail to Fortini Trail and back to the trailhead. On the GPS track the orange dot shows the location of the trailhead.

GPS track

GPS track

The Stile Ranch Trail climbs steadily via a series of switchbacks and crosses two summits at about 700 feet elevation before descending to the junction with the Mine Trail. This portion of the route is part of the Bay Area Ridge Tail and I have previously hiked it in the summer. The Fortini Trail descends more gently back to the trailhead.

Elevation profile

Elevation profile

The day of this hike was partly cloudy, with greater cloud cover peeking over the Santa Cruz Mountains in the west. From the trailhead the trail passes a picnic table under a large tree before quickly reaching the loop proper, with Stile Ranch Trail going left and Fortini Trail going right. Both of these trails are well-known for spring wildflower displays.

Stile Ranch Trail almost immediately passes a seep, or damp area, where there were several types of wildflower. One of the first I saw was a tall, light purple flower that I haven’t been able to identify, though the blossoms are reminiscent of larkspur.

image of tall light purple flower (unidentified)

Tall light purple flower (unidentified)

In this area there were poppies, yarrow, golden yarrow, and a few others. But the star was the bright yellow seep-spring monkeyflower (Mimulus guttatus), or common monkeyflower, with delicate brownish dots.

photo of seep-spring monkeyflower

Seep-spring monkeyflower

I learned later that there are apparently some rare and endangered Hamilton thistle plants here also. Unfortunately, the only thistles I noticed were very large ones, probably about shoulder-high, elsewhere along my route.

Not far up the trail was the first of several sightings of the most beautiful jewel flower (Streptanthus albidus ssp. peramoenus). These lovely blossoms are only about ½ cm long in the long direction. And as I thought I would be, I was enchanted by them.

picture of most beautiful jewel flower: quite beautiful, indeed!

Most beautiful jewel flower: quite beautiful, indeed!

About 0.4 mile from the trailhead there is a distinctive lichen-covered serpentine rock with another special find growing right on the rock: endangered Santa Clara Valley dudleya (Dudleya abramsii ssp. setchellii). This succulent plant in the stonecrop family is able to extend roots deep into cracks in rocks to find its necessary nutrients.

image of Santa Clara Valley dudleya

Santa Clara Valley dudleya

A bit farther, as the trail climbs around a bend, there is a pretty view back down toward the trailhead area along a fence and an older stone fence, across a freshly mown field in the valley below. In the background is Loma Prieta, and Mt Umunhum is just out of view to the right.

photo of view from Stile Ranch Trail

View from Stile Ranch Trail

As the trail passes through grassland, soon I started to see some clarkia flowers, specifically ruby chalice clarkia (Clarkia rubicunda) with light petal color and a deeper-colored throat. These clarkias are also known as farewell to spring.

picture of ruby chalice clarkia

Ruby chalice clarkia

I also began to pass clay mariposa lilies (Calochortus argillosus). I saw these beautiful mariposa lilies off-and-on for almost the remainder of the hike.

image of clay mariposa lily

Clay mariposa lily

Another flower I saw in several places is another that I haven’t yet identified. My temporary, descriptive name is purple carpet, since one of the sightings was a patch rather like a purple carpet by the side of the trail. The plants are low-profile, less than 6 inches tall, and the heads are less than ½ inch in diameter. The small blossoms are delicate, though intense in color.

photo of unidentified “purple carpet”

Unidentified “purple carpet”

After passing over the first summit, Stile Ranch Trail descends about 100 feet and then climbs back up to a second summit. The Stile Ranch Trail is almost entirely on an easement on IBM property, and this part of the trail passes within sight of one of the buildings. From the summits there are nice views to the east, including part of the Diablo Range and Lick Observatory on Mt Hamilton. The “feel” is one of remoteness, with beautiful meadowlark songs. There were also quite a few cobweb-covered small holes in the ground next to the trail, I presume inhabited by ground-resident spiders using the webs as protection or food catchers.

In the little valley between the summits I began to hear distinctive bird calls that I didn’t recognize right away. But soon I caught a glimpse of one of the birds and could easily identify it as a quail. For the next 10 minutes or so I was serenaded by at least two quails, which perched on fence posts, looked around, and periodically called.

picture of quail on a fence post

Quail on a fence post

After climbing to the second, east, summit, there was an especially nice view of the trail zig-zagging down the side of the first, west, summit.

image of Stile Ranch Trail

Stile Ranch Trail

Shortly after beginning the second descent I noticed a few intensely blue-purple flowers and determined that they were royal larkspur (Delphinium variegatum).

photo of royal larkspur

Royal larkspur

At another small seep or stream area there were quite a few common teasels (Dipsacus fullonum), with distinctive seed heads and long bracts. The first time I saw one of these I called it lampshade plant until I learned the correct identification!

picture of common teasel

Common teasel

Although the interior section of the loop, including the short section of Mine Trail, is in open grassland, there were beautiful oak trees here and there, often isolated trees. The color of the grass is a strong signal that spring for 2015 is nearly over.

image of beautiful oak tree

Beautiful oak tree

As I continued, I passed Ithuriel’s spear, some morning glory (or bindweed), pineapple weed, and wild radish. Fortini Trail continues the gradual descent from the Stile Ranch Trail summits, passing yet another seep. Along the way there is a particularly distinctive tree-size manzanita.

photo of manzanita along Fortini Trail

Manzanita along Fortini Trail

I also passed another rocky section in which there was a cluster of Santa Clara Valley dudleya. When I arrived at the end of the loop I made a quick detour to the first seep area to look at the flowers again, then returned to the trailhead. This loop is known as a prime spring wildflower viewing area in San Jose, and it certainly lived up to its reputation, even relatively late in the season.

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Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve: Mindego Hill Trail and Ancient Oaks Trail extension

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On the occasion of a trail opening I made a return visit to Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve. The new section of trail is a 1-mile extension of the Ancient Oaks Trail down the hill to the new (2014) Mindego Gateway staging area. Although this is not a long section of new trail, it does a nice job of connecting the upper and lower portions of the preserve and makes it possible to hike or ride a 4-mile loop from either the main parking area or the Mindego Gateway staging area.

I turned the trail opening celebration into an opportunity to explore the Mindego Hill Trail, which – for now – goes just to the base of Mindego Hill. I ended up hiking the Mindego Hill Trail before the ribbon-cutting ceremony and then hiking the new trail after the ribbon-cutting. The orange dot on the GPS track shows the location of the Mindego Gateway staging area.

GPS track

GPS track

The first part of the hike, on the Mindego Hill Trail, was mostly downhill on the outbound leg. Conversely, the new trail was mostly uphill on the outbound leg. Total elevation gain and loss was just over 1000 feet, so the average grade was about 7½ %.

Elevation profile

Elevation profile

The day was a bit misty and cloudy, and I even encountered light sprinkles on the Mindego Hill Trail part of my hike. Next to the parking area there is abundant owl’s clover and there was some lupine, among other plants and flowers. Not far away I found some gumplant or gumweed (Grindelia). Even before I reached the Mindego Hill Trail, there was a pretty view generally to the southwest toward several successive rows of hills spilling down toward the Pacific Ocean.

picture of view of hills toward the Pacific Ocean

View of hills toward the Pacific Ocean

I soon passed a beautiful purple salsify (Tragopogon porrifolius) next to the trail.

image of purple salsify

Purple salsify

There is quite a bit of winter vetch (Vicia villosa) at Russian Ridge. I was surprised, however, to see some pink blossoms among the more common purple blossoms.

photo of pink as well as purple winter vetch

Pink as well as purple winter vetch

As the trail descended there was a pretty view of Mindego Hill, with the trail – actually a fire road – meandering over the terrain.

picture of Mindego Hill, viewed from Mindego Hill Trail

Mindego Hill, viewed from Mindego Hill Trail

Continuing down the trail I passed numerous white globe lilies (Calochortus albus) growing on the uphill side of the trail.

About 0.6 mile from the parking area is a junction with Charquin Trail; to traverse the newly-possible 4-mile loop, you turn right here. I continued straight on Mindego Hill Trail. In this area I noticed some Italian thistle (Carduus pycnocephalus), which can be most easily distinguished from the similar slender thistle by the presence of 5 or fewer flower heads on each branch.

image of Italian thistle

Italian thistle

In a grassy area I noticed some light purple daisy-like flowers; I think they may be common lessingia. Elsewhere I found hedgenettle (Stachys).

The lower part of Mindego Trail passes through a slight depression, too subtle to be thought of as a valley. In this lower area there was quite a bit of Western vervain (Verbena lasiostachys), whose flowers tend to bloom from the bottom toward the top of the long purplish flower heads.

photo of Western vervain

Western vervain

There were several good-sized patches of scarlet pimpernel (Anagalis arvensis) next to the trail. A close-up picture shows the yellow-tipped anthers on the small (<1 cm diameter) flowers.

picture of scarlet pimpernel

Scarlet pimpernel

There was also a lot of wild radish (Raphanus raphanistratum) in this area.

image of wild radish near the lower part of Mindego Hill Trail

Wild radish near the lower part of Mindego Hill Trail

About 1 mile past Charquin Trail I reached a gate at the current terminus of Mindego Hill Trail and turned around to hike back up to the parking area. I noticed a few common fiddlenecks (Amsinckia menziesii var. intermedia), well into their blooming stage.

photo of common fiddleneck in bloom

Common fiddleneck in bloom

I also noted some grassy tarweed (Madia gracilis) and some yarrow. Sometimes I notice different flowers on the return trip compared to the outbound trip!

picture of grassy tarweed, or Madia

Grassy tarweed, or Madia

I stopped to try to photograph some yellow clover that I’d noticed earlier. It is shamrock clover (Trifolium dubium). I’m finding it interesting to try to get good close-up photos of smaller flowers; it is often the case that additional detail is visible in the photos compared to what I see from my normal fully upright hiking stance.

image of yellow-hued shamrock clover

Yellow-hued shamrock clover

When I reached the Charquin Trail junction I decided to do a brief exploration, since I had a little extra time before the dedication ceremony. Not far along Charquin Trail I noted some common madia (Madia elegans), which has larger flowers than the grassy tarweed type of madia.

photo of common madia on Charquin Trail

Common madia on Charquin Trail

The short section of Charquin Trail I explored was shady and moist – at least partly because the brief sprinkles I mentioned had already occurred, and partly because the trail goes along a small stream. There were quite a few delicate forget-me-nots, some star flowers, and horse-tail near the stream. I only spent about 10 minutes on my little detour before continuing to climb up the hill to the parking area.

Along the way I noticed a flower I’d missed on the way downhill: imbricate phacelia (Phacelia imbricata). Due to the greenish color of the buds, this pretty flower would be easy to miss entirely.

picture of imbricate phacelia along Mindego Hill Trail

Imbricate phacelia along Mindego Hill Trail

After the dedication ceremony and ribbon-cutting there was an official first hike on the Ancient Oaks Trail extension. The lower part of the trail winds through a forested area, here with a broad, gentle curve.

image of new extension of the Ancient Oaks Trail

New extension of the Ancient Oaks Trail

In the forested area there was miner’s lettuce, Fernald’s iris, some white blue-eyed Mary, and a patch of pretty, small, white lily-like flowers.

photo of unknown, but pretty, white lily

Unknown, but pretty, white lily

Perhaps 2/3 of the way along the new trail it rather suddenly emerges from the forested area onto a grassy hillside. Here I found two types of clarkia: probably chaparral clarkia (Clarkia affinis), though difficult for me to be sure since the blossom was mostly closed, and four-spot clarkia (Clarkia purpurea ssp. quadrivulnera). The four-spot clarkia is a lighter color and has a distinguishing spot on each of its 4 petals.

picture of four-spot clarkia

Four-spot clarkia

When I reached the upper end of the new trail, essentially at the east end of the Ancient Oaks Trail, which I passed on a recent hike, I turned around and returned to the Mindego Gateway parking area. Just as I reached the parking area I made one last “new find,” some common coyotemint (Monardella villosa ssp villosa).

picture of common coyotemint next to the Mindego Gateway parking area

Common coyotemint next to the Mindego Gateway parking area

This hike was quite enjoyable and, once again, I encountered a nice variety of spring wildflowers at Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve.

Posted in Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, San Mateo County, wildflower hikes | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve: Bald Mountain and Mt Umunhum Area

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The Bald Mountain staging area in Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve opened relatively recently, in 2014, and facilitates trail exploration near Mt Umunhum. This hike was a first-time visit to the area and featured spectacular views and a nice variety of wildflowers.

The hike was basically two out-and-back hikes going in opposite directions from the staging area, denoted by the orange dot on the GPS track. The staging area is located on Mt Umunhum Rd about 1.6 miles from the junction with Hicks Rd.

GPS track

GPS track

From the parking area there is a dramatic, close-up view of Mt Umunhum and the iconic radar tower. I always appreciate when there is a fantastic view from a trailhead and consider it to be kind of a good omen for the rest of the hike. Loma Prieta and El Sombroso are also visible from the parking area. I had hiked to El Sombroso on two previous occasions when hiking through Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve. Also, I think this is the closest I’ve been to Loma Prieta, for which the Bay Area’s 1989 magnitude 6.9 earthquake was named.

photo of Mt Umunhum viewed from the Bald Mountain staging area

Mt Umunhum viewed from the Bald Mountain staging area

I first hiked out to Bald Mountain, a grassy knoll with fantastic views of the Almaden and Coyote Valleys and the nearby peaks of the Santa Cruz Mountains as well as the Diablo Range. Almost before I exited the parking area I started to see bright chaparral clarkias (clarkia affinis) among the grass.

picture of chaparral clarkia near the Bald Mountain staging area

Chaparral clarkia near the Bald Mountain staging area

Along the trail there were poppies, blue-eyed grass, yarrow, blue dicks, lupine, sticky monkeyflowers, hillside morning glories, silver puffs, lots of smooth vetch, and some manzanita. About halfway out to Bald Mountain I saw the first of several butterfly mariposa lilies (Calochortus venustus).

image of butterfly mariposa lily

Butterfly mariposa lily

A short distance later I noticed a low-growing plant with colorful red pod-like structures. I don’t recognize the plant, but it looks like it could be a low-growing form of manzanita. I thought it was rather pretty.

photo of colorful plant, possibly manzanita

Colorful plant, possibly manzanita

I also passed a snake stretched out across the trail, still but forming a wiggly line. I walked past it carefully in order to not startle it. Later a garter snake scooted off the trail into the grasses.

The trail reaches the summit of Bald Mountain after a very modest 50-foot climb, and there is a very small loop near the end of the trail. From the summit area there are essentially 360-degee unobstructed views, including the south end of San Francisco Bay, Mt Hamilton, the East Bay hills, Almaden Reservoir, Mt Umunhum, and several ridges of hills to the south.

picture of view of hills south of Bald Mountain

View of hills south of Bald Mountain

After enjoying these views I returned to the staging area and continued up Mt Umunhum Rd behind gate SA08. About 0.3 mile up the road, at the highest point of the hike (2400 feet elevation) the trail called Barlow Rd goes off to the right. Barlow Rd is mostly downhill, descending to 1700 feet where there is a T intersection with Woods Trail, a designated portion of the Bay Area Ridge Trail. The main descent has a grade of almost 15%.

Elevation profile

Elevation profile

Barlow Rd traverses and winds mostly down a steep hillside, passing different plant habitats and some pretty views. Near the beginning of the trail I noticed patches of short plants with puffy white flowers: slender cottonweed (Micropus californicus).

image of slender cottonweed characterized by small white puffy ball-shaped flowers

Slender cottonweed is characterized by small white puffy ball-shaped flowers

In the shaded areas there were quite a few Fernald’s irises and white blue-eyed Mary. Where there were breaks in the chaparral there were nice views of San Jose. Almost all along Barlow Rd there were beautiful blue-purple larkspurs (Delphinium); there are several possible species, and I’m not sure of the specific identification.

photo of beautiful blue-purple larkspur along Barlow Rd

Beautiful blue-purple larkspur along Barlow Rd

There was also a paler type of clarkia, I believe slender clarkia (clarkia gracilis).

picture of slender clarkia

Slender clarkia

In a few places there were views, seemingly almost straight up, of the Mt Umunhum radar tower. Along shady hillsides there were globe lilies and red larkspur. Quite a few butterflies were busy feeding and flitting past me. Eventually a California sister (Adelpha californica) paused long enough for me to get a photo.

image of California sister butterfly

California sister butterfly

In several places I saw ball-like flowers that reminded me, in some ways, of purple sanicle but with the spikes developed into mini-blossoms. After studying my pictures I think they are tomcat clover (Trifolium willdenovii).

photo of close-up view of tomcat clover

Close-up view of tomcat clover

I was rather startled to see some large thistles that were almost red in color. They are called Venus (or red) thistles (Cirsium occidentale var. venustum). Note the wispy, cobweb-like threads on the involucre (the spiky ball-like structure below the flower head).

picture of Venus thistle along Barlow Rd

Venus thistle along Barlow Rd

From the top of the rise in the trail, at about 2.9 miles, there was a great view of Jacques Ridge in nearby Almaden Quicksilver County Park, with Hicks Rd visible.

image of Jacques Ridge in nearby Almaden Quicksliver County Park

Jacques Ridge in nearby Almaden Quicksliver County Park

Along the long descent I saw some distinctive thistles with many pale purple flower heads on each branch. Having more than 5 flower heads identifies them as slender-flowered thistles (Carduus tenuiflorus).

photo of slender-flowered thistle, with many flower heads on each branch

Slender-flowered thistle, with many flower heads on each branch

A special find on the lower part of the trail was a distinctive third type of clarkia, red ribbons (clarkia concinna). The three-lobed petals are quite unusual.

picture of red ribbons

Red ribbons

I also saw pipestems, paintbrush, and some woodland stars. Once I reached the junction with Woods Trail I retraced my path to the Bald Mountain staging area.  As I descended Mt Umunhum Rd from Barlow Rd I had a nice view of Bald Mountain, with just a hint of the distant views I’d enjoyed from its summit.

image of Bald Mountain viewed from Mt Umunhum Rd

Bald Mountain viewed from Mt Umunhum Rd

This was a delightful hike with spectacular views and a nice variety of spring wildflowers.

Posted in Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, Santa Clara County, South Bay, wildflower hikes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ridge to Bridge 20-mile hike

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The Bay Area Ridge Trail Council hosts an annual event called Ridge to Bridge, which includes several options to experience the Bay Area Ridge Trail in Marin County leading to and across the Golden Gate Bridge. Hiking options include 10, 15, 20, and 26 miles; mountain biking options include 25 and 41 miles; and there is a 9-mile equestrian ride which does not cross the bridge. I was able participate this year, and selected the 20-mile hike option. This distance is toward the outside end of my hiking range, so I prepared by increasing my walking and hiking in the preceding weeks and then taking it easy for several days leading up to the event. I felt great afterward, so some or all of my preparations seem to have been effective!

In the days leading up to Ridge to Bridge the weather forecast had included rain during the event. As it turned out, the storm came through several hours earlier than had originally been forecast, and the rain happened overnight between about midnight and 5am. By the time participants arrived at the Presidio Transit Center for check-in and transportation to the hike and ride starts, a beautiful day had dawned.

photo of 20-mile hikers boarding a bus prior to the hike start

20-mile hikers boarding a bus prior to the hike start

For the 20-mile hike, hikers were bussed to the Pantoll Ranger Station of Mt Tamalpais State Park. The route mainly follows the Bay Area Ridge Trail on the lower slopes of Mt Tamalpais below Muir Woods National Monument to a crossing of Shoreline Highway, CA-1, and entry into Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA). Within GGNRA the route passes a major trailhead on Tennessee Valley Rd and climbs the historically significant Marincello Trail before winding through the beautiful Marin Headlands on the way to the Golden Gate Bridge. A crossing of the Golden Gate Bridge on foot is always a special event. The hike finishes at the Presidio Main Post not far from the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council office. On the GPS track the orange dot shows the beginning of the hike.

GPS track

GPS track

Starting at about 1400 feet elevation, there is a long descent virtually all the way to sea level before a climb to 900 feet and another descent to 200 feet at Tennessee Valley, where there was a lunch stop. After lunch there was another climb to 900 feet for the beautiful stroll through the Marin Headlands before descending for the bridge crossing. The total elevation gain was about 2260 feet.

Elevation profile

Elevation profile

As the bus crossed the Golden Gate Bridge on the way to Mt Tamalpais State Park, there was no fog at the bridge, but there was residual fog in the valleys. The hikers gathered for final instructions and then set out hiking. Less than 1 mile from the start, the Ridge to Bridge route deviates from the Bay Area Ridge Trail for nearly 5 miles, first descending toward the coast on the Coast View Trail. The mist rising from the valleys was beautiful.

image of morning mist rising from valleys

Morning mist rising from valleys

Before long there were views of the Pacific Ocean.

picture of Pacific Ocean viewed from the Coast View Trail

Pacific Ocean viewed from the Coast View Trail

The trail zig-zags across the hill during the descent.

photo of hikers descending the hill on the Coast View Trail

Hikers descending the hill on the Coast View Trail

There were quite a few wildflowers to be seen, e.g. mule-ears, Fernald’s iris, yarrow, cow parsnip, California poppies, red Indian paintbrush and its orange-colored cousin, and some rather large bushes of bush lupine. In areas of chaparral near shaded woodsy areas, there was an interesting juxtaposition of lush ferns among the chaparral. In several areas I noticed clusters of small pods (not flowers, after all) which turned out to be rattlesnake grass (briza maxima) seed pods.

image of rattlesnake grass

Rattlesnake grass

After descending to about 500 feet elevation, the route went left on Heather Cutoff Trail. The many switchbacks made the grade reasonable, a bit over 7% on average. Along this trail I was rather startled to see a few stalks of bright pink flowers in sunny areas. These flowers seem to be in the pea family, but I wasn’t able to identify them.

picture of bright pink flower along Heather Cutoff Trail

Bright pink flower along Heather Cutoff Trail

At the bottom of Heather Cutoff Trail the route crosses Santos Meadow to cross Muir Woods Rd and climb along Redwood Creek Trail. I learned that some hikers ahead of me had encountered a good-sized tree blocking the trail and covered with what they thought was poison oak. Since the trail ran parallel to the road, I walked up the road for less than 0.2 mile to avoid this obstacle and possible exposure. In the area I also found some pretty crimson columbine (aquilegia formosa).

photo of crimson columbine

Crimson columbine

There were also quite a few forget-me-nots and an interesting-looking many-branched tree.

image of many-branched tree

Many-branched tree

After about 1.2 miles on Redwood Creek Trail, the route rejoins the Bay Area Ridge Trail route at the Miwok Trail. Comparing notes with my earlier official hike of this segment of the Ridge Trail, the Ridge to Bridge route adds about 2.4 miles of pretty scenery. I think the reason for the routing change may be simply to have the desired mileage options with vehicle-accessible starting locations and rest stop locations for the Ridge to Bridge event. The excellent support was greatly appreciated!

Along the Miwok Trail there were nice views of Mt Tamalpais. I think Panoramic Way goes along the ridge top in the right foreground of the picture. Views from that road are awesome.

picture of Mt Tamalpais from Miwok Trail

Mt Tamalpais from Miwok Trail

After about 2.1 miles the Miwok Trail crosses Shoreline Highway, CA-1. The next 3 miles was a Bay Area Ridge Trail section that I’d hiked previously on a very misty day; I rarely could see anything more than 10 yards or so away from me. I’d been looking forward to hiking this section again when I could see the scenery. The Miwok Trail winds along a hillside overlooking the Tamalpais Valley, with first views of Richardson Bay and the Tiburon Peninsula. I found some clusters of pretty white flowers that I believe may be a type of woodland star (lithophragma).

photo of woodland star (I think)

Woodland star (I think)

There were also many patches of pineapple weed (matricaria discoidea) next to, or on, the trail. The Miwok Trail descends to a large trailhead at the end of Tennessee Rd, nearly 11 miles from the start of the hike, where there was a delicious catered lunch. Near the trailhead there were a few striking purple salsify (tragopogon porrifolius) flowers.

image of purple salsify

Purple salsify

After taking a short break I continued hiking, with the route climbing the Marincello Trail to nearly 900 feet elevation. This trail leads into the Marin Headlands to an area that, 45 years ago, almost became the site of a planned community with some 30,000 residents. At the top of Marincello Trail there is an initial glimpse of downtown San Francisco, as well as a more distant view down the coast into San Mateo County. Fortunately a citizens group thought the land would provide more appropriate broad public use as parkland, and the proposed city of Marincello was never built. Instead, the land now is part of the GGNRA and the spectacular views are accessible to trail users.

About 2.6 miles from the Tennessee Valley trailhead there is a lovely view of the Sausalito Marina, Strawberry Point peninsula, and the Tiburon Peninsula.

picture of view of Sausalito and Tiburon

View of Sausalito and Tiburon

As the trail crests for the last time at around 850 feet elevation there is a dramatic view of Slacker Hill, with the tops of the Golden Gate Bridge towers appearing just to its left.

photo of Slacker Hill in the Marin Headlands

Slacker Hill in the Marin Headlands

The trail runs almost parallel to US-101 and begins the descent to the Golden Gate Bridge. About 3.8 miles from the Tennessee Valley trailhead there is an open view of San Francisco across the Golden Gate. Fort Baker and Horseshoe Bay are in the foreground.

image of view of San Francisco

View of San Francisco

More of the Golden Gate Bridge has come into view.

image of view of Golden Gate Bridge

View of Golden Gate Bridge

After completing the descent to the north vista point, 16 miles from the start at Pantoll Ranger Station, it was time to begin the always exhilarating walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. Because the approach curves just before leaving the ground, there is an interesting view of the bridge towers lined up with each other.

photo of Golden Gate Bridge towers

Golden Gate Bridge towers

From the pedestrian walkway on the east side of the bridge there are spectacular views of San Francisco Bay, including the Bay Bridge, Angel Island, and Alcatraz. A number of sailboats were out on the Bay, perhaps to anticipate Opening Day on the Bay the following day or perhaps to simply take advantage of the beautiful weather. A cloud hovered above Angel Island.

image of Angel Island

Angel Island

During the bridge crossing a helicopter suddenly flew toward the bridge, under it, and then turned around and flew over the bridge. This was surprising, since I thought the Golden Gate Bridge would be considered restricted air space.

After reaching the south (San Francisco) vista point a 1.6-mile stroll through part of the Presidio remained to reach the end of the hike at the Main Post. It had been a simply wonderful hike with weather as fine as could be imagined.

Posted in Bay Area Ridge Trail, Marin County | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments