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

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