An Urban Hike on Stevens Creek Trail

By Carol at 11:06 pm on Thursday, March 5, 2009

The trail

Another rainy day…we chose to walk the Stevens Creek Trail, on the segment leading to the San Francisco Bay. Starting on Yuba Street, in Mountain View, we followed the creek, full of run-off and waterfalls. On parts of the trail, we crossed two freeways and one expressway, followed major power lines, and observed new sections of the trail under construction. We ate lunch at a mini-amphitheater between some Microsoft Offices and the old Moffat Field military base. The trail is heavily used by hikers, runners, bikers, strollers and walkers of all ages.

The creek bed is full

A full creekbed is edged with trees and shrubs just leafing out.

Jim and Larry stop on the bridge.

Jim and Larry pause on a bridge.

Downstream

Looking downstream at the widening waters.

Enjoying the redbuds.

Western redbuds have been planted along the trail.

More spring green

This trail is a hidden treasure that wends its way through the urban landscape, near major tech corporations of Silicon Valley.

Currants in bloom

Wild currants in early spring bloom along the path.

Freeway art

Freeway art on part of the new connection between highways 85 and 101, framed by redwood trees.

Waterfalls

The number of waterfalls increases as we come closer to the Bay.

Central Expressway

Crossing Central Expressway on a pedestrian overpass, we overlook the train and light-rail tracks.

over the bridge

The way home: once again, most of the rain stayed in the clouds until we finished our hike.

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Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve Revisited

By Carol at 11:00 pm on Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Last week we had good luck on a rainy day, hiking at Rancho San Antonio, above Cupertino, where Apple and Netflix headquarters reside. Only a few raindrops fell on us after we entered the preserve under highway 280, and headed up the hill toward Deer Hollow Farm and High Meadow Trail. We were too early for the spring display of lupine, but we observed scattered clumps of toadshade, lots of moss and waterfalls fed by winter rains. We reached the summit of High Meadow Trail in time for a leisurely lunch. Pedometers read in excess of six miles when we ended our hike at 2PM.

along the stream at San Antonio

Hiking upstream, we see lots of waterfalls and wildflowers beginning to bloom.

trillium with purple splotches

We spotted a lovely toadshade (trillium), with purple splotched foliage.

expansive view at San Antonio

Expansive view toward San Jose, from the top of High Meadow Trail.

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Winter Hikes at Hidden Villa

By Carol at 10:00 pm on Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Hidden Villa

Two weeks ago we hiked at Hidden Villa. The streams were running full and we spent most of the time walking in the shady areas along the water. Foliage of moisture loving wildflowers was starting to unfold. We saw beds of trilliums, hound’s tongue and zigadenus elegans or white camass.

We passed the farm on the way into the woods.

hungry little pigs

These hungry little pigs were oblivious to visitors.

rushing stream

Rushing stream.

bank of ferns

Bank of ferns.

full stream

Further upstream.

waterfall

Waterfalls like this are a welcome sight in this three year drought.

mossy rock

A large mossy rock overlooking the stream near Deer Hollow Farm.

chapparal hill
After hiking streamside for a couple of miles, we climbed to this area for lunch, on Ewing Hill. Snow-covered Mt. Hamilton can be seen across the valley.

the medium fast group

The “medium fast group” lingers on Ewing Hill, admiring the view.

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