The day of this hike was “the great snow day” in the Bay Area. For the past few days the weather forecasters had been predicting significant snowfall at the higher elevations and the possibility of snow reaching the ground at the 500 foot elevation or even lower. While the hilltops (e.g. Mt. Diablo, Mt. Hamilton) did receive 6-12 inches of snow, closer to sea level you had to be awake at roughly 2am in order to experience snowflakes floating down from the sky.
For this hike I selected a paved multi-use trail so that my outing would be appropriate as a so-called long training walk, part of my preparation for walking my first marathon in early June. The Coyote Creek Parkway runs for 15½ miles in the southern part of San Jose, terminating just outside the Morgan Hill city limits. I started at Metcalf Park, close to the middle of the Bay Area Ridge Trail section, intending to walk to the southern end. After the recent heavy rains, though, I had to modify my plan and decided to let today just be an exploratory walk.
I started out heading south from the Metcalf Park trailhead, as planned. After about 1.5 miles there was yellow tape (which I refer to as police tape, after watching too many crime-based TV shows and movies) across the trail. Initially I went around the tape to see what I could find out, and within 0.1 mile it was clear why the trail was closed: the creek was more like a small river flowing across the trail instead of, or in addition to, through culverts under the trail.
So I turned around and headed north. At the Coyote Ranch there was a small fenced-in grazing pasture being used by a few cows. One of the cows evidently decided the grass (ok, a bush) outside the fence was more enticing than what was inside!
The trail runs parallel to Coyote Creek and actually crosses under US 101 a couple of times, also running parallel to Monterey Rd. In a few places along my route there were fields of wildflowers that made a nice foreground to the hills.
On this day I took particular note of the clouds: interesting shapes against a brilliant blue sky.
As with several other multi-use trails in the Bay Area, the Coyote Creek Parkway has mileage markers. This is very convenient for keeping track of where you are. For this hike I covered the region between mileage markers 2 and 8 (as seen while walking south), plus an extra round trip from the trailhead to the closure near mileage marker 8 to add a bit more mileage per my training plan. As mentioned at the beginning of this post, I plan to walk the entire trail again later on (in two sections, north and south of Metcalf Park).