Dan's Outside

I go, I see, I do, I walk, I think, I like…

A Minor Gripe

Yesterday, late in the day, I drove down to one of my favorite spots to take pictures of early grass and oak trees, Calero County Park. It had drizzled a bit during the day, but it was clearing, and I was hoping to shoot some oak trees on a nearby ridge in late afternoon light coming through clouds.

I arrived at the park and was pleased to see that the parking lot was not at all crowded. I loaded up my photo gear: a Lowepro 200 AW Slingshot carrying camera and lenses, my tripod in its bag slung over the other shoulder, and my fanny pack carrying a few other bits of gear. Fully laden I walked over to the trail entrance to find a “Trail Closed” sign.

At Almaden Quicksilver Park (also a Santa Clara County Park) this sign is usually accompanied by another one stating Closed to Horses and Closed to Bikes but, by all appearances, the trails are still open to hikers. But at Calero the trail was not only marked by the “closed” sign, but the gate was closed and secured.

I understand the need to reduce trail impact from horses and bikes, both of which can chew up a trail pretty badly in wet conditions, but Calero seems to close the trails to everyone every time it sprinkles.

Hiking an uncrowded, quiet trail in light rain is a real pleasure. I move more slowly, enjoying the soft light and the different sounds, and there are very few other hikers on the trail. Beyond that, after years of backpacking, the idea that a trail would close due to rain just seems bizarre. When it rains, backpackers put on raingear and keep going. It would seem as logical to close roads when it rains.

Rant over.
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January 22, 2006 Posted by | Commentary | Comments Off on A Minor Gripe

Happiest Man on Mission Peak?

HappyManMissionPeak2006|01|22: Happy Man. Mission Peak. January 22, 2006. © Copyright Dan Mitchell.
The Happiest Man on Mission Peak. January 22, 2006. © Copyright Dan Mitchell.

This fellow made my day! As I was slogging up the 2000’+ climb up Mission Peak I passed (barely) him and his son. A moment later his son came up the trail and said, “My Dad wants to know how old you are. He’s 73.” (I’m a few decades shy of 73 still, and I still feel that Mission Peak is a tough climb! :-)

We talked a bit and it sounded like they (well, the son – he did all the talking) were concerned about the winds, which were extremely strong today. They asked if I would be going to the top, and I said I’d make that decision after I got to the ridge and felt the wind.

The wind was positively screaming across the ridge, but I went on up anyway. Part way up I stopped to put on extra clothes and take a few pictures and then I continued. And who was there when I arrived? Yes, they had made it to the summit.

After I walked over to the south summit of Mission Peak (which I believe is a few feet higher) and sat down to take in the view I noticed “Dad” standing on the summit and beginning to sing, loudly, while standing in the impressive gale. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone react to the surroundings with such uninhibited joy!

I think this will be one of my favorite pictures. I especially enjoy the fact that, among all of the rest of us hikers with our snazzy, colorful high-price synthetic material equipment this man was at the summit, 73 years old, singing into the screaming gale at the top of his lungs, wearing suit and white shirt… and seemingly having more fun than anyone!
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January 22, 2006 Posted by | Commentary | Comments Off on Happiest Man on Mission Peak?

Mission Peak Trail

MissionPeakTrail2006|01|22: Mission Peak Trail. January 22, 2006. © Copyright Dan Mitchell.
Mission Peak Trail. January 22, 2006. © Copyright Dan Mitchell.

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January 22, 2006 Posted by | Mission Peak | Comments Off on Mission Peak Trail

It's Just a Cow

MissionPeakCow2006|01|22: Cow. Mission Peak. January 22, 2006. © Copyright Dan Mitchell.
Cow. Mission Peak. January 22, 2006. © Copyright Dan Mitchell.

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January 22, 2006 Posted by | Mission Peak | Comments Off on It's Just a Cow

   

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