This was the second part of a group hike, which we are calling Edge to Edge, from the edge of San Francisco Bay to the edge of the Pacific Ocean across the lower portion of the Peninsula. In the first segment we hiked from Palo Alto’s Baylands Nature Preserve to Kite Hill, near the top of California Avenue in Palo Alto. In this second segment we resumed near Kite Hill and continued up to Foothills Park. Our route loosely, but not rigorously, is following the Bay-to-Ridge Trail.
As we walked along Page Mill Road, before we even left behind the Stanford Research Park area, someone alertly spotted a red-tailed hawk alighting in a tree-top. It stayed perched there for a few minutes before resuming its hunting.
After crossing Junipero Serra Blvd at the last traffic signal of our multi-part journey, we continued along the Matadero Creek multi-use trail, where we were treated to a nice view of the foothills and higher Santa Cruz Mountains where we would be hiking in later segments.
We proceeded along Old Page Mill Rd, where we found a striking cairn. It seemed to be telling us that we were, indeed, headed along the right spiritual path.
Nearby we passed Frenchman’s Tower, which was built by Peter Coutts as part of an irrigation system started in 1875. We also found a bit of unusual sculpture in someone’s yard, in the form of a Volkswagen hood complete with eyelashes.
At the intersection of Old Page Mill Rd and Page Mill Rd there was a small grassy area being grazed by several goats. They seemed curious to watch us pass by.
After we walked under I-280 we turned off on Arastradero Rd and into the Pearson-Arastradero Preserve, where we were to meet up with a couple more hikers at the rest area. As we walked in, we were amused to find that there were signs indicating the quite obvious walking path.
At the rest area we had time for a short break, which included watching several Western Bluebirds alternately catching insects and resting on posts or tree branches.
After our break we continued our way along the Arastradero Creek Trail. In response to my question to our hike leader, I was pleased to receive a small lesson in how to distinguish valley oaks and coast live oaks. At this time of year it’s really easy, since valley oaks are deciduous and coast live oaks aren’t! We passed several fine specimens of valley oaks with wonderful silhouettes.
As we continued our way through Arastradero Preserve the trail gradually got a bit steeper.
When we reached the boundary of Foothills Park we left the Arastradero Creek Trail behind and took a single-track trail up the hill. This section was shady, and we were pleased to find some early hounds tongue starting to bloom, as well as a beautiful pair of trillium plants getting ready to blossom.
We also had intermittent views up the Peninsula, including Mt. Tamalpais and the San Francisco skyline. Once we got to the top of aptly-named Vista Hill, we had panoramic views from Mt. Tam to the north to Mt. Hamilton to the south. And we could visually review our hiking progress to date, in the foreground and to the right in this picture, as well as the Dumbarton Bridge and Mt Diablo.
We also paused for a group photo (Mt Diablo is hiding behind the sign).
We are having a great time with our hiking adventure. The next segment will be from Foothills Park to Monte Bello Open Space Preserve.