Dan's Outside

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

It's a No Photo Weekend

I went out twice this weekend with the intention of taking pictures, but I came back pretty much empty-handed both times.

On Saturday I took a little loop hike at Almaden Quicksilver – out on Randol, up Prospect #3, and back to the Hacienda entrance via Mine Hill, Castillero, English Camp, and Deep Gulch. Although I took a few pictures of some oak trees on Prospect #3, the light was pretty dreary the whole time.

Today I hiked to the top of Mission Peak (see below) but barely took any pictures, partly due to the very high winds but also the stark, unforgiving light. As I was traversing the ridge I reminded myself that I don’t have to photograph everything, and that sometimes it is great to just hike.


February 5, 2006 Posted by | Photography | Comments Off on It's a No Photo Weekend

What's Unclear About This Sign?

Prospect3NoBikesSign: No Bikes sign. Prospect #3 Trail, Almaden Quicksilver. February 4, 2006.I encountered another band of outlaw mountain bikers on a single-track trail at Almaden Quicksilver Park yesterday. This time they were headed down an extremely muddy Prospect #3 Trail.

The sign in the photo appears right at the top of this trail – and you can see the trail at the left side of the photo. The only way to make it more obvious would be to make the sign neon and put it in the middle of the trail.

As I started up the trail I was thinking about what good shape it was in, given that we have had some decent rain this winter. The only real damage I saw was a shortcut section through grass near the bottom (also started by cyclists a couple years ago) and signs that one horse had ascended the trail.

Then came four cyclists. I told them the trail was closed to bikes and at first it seemed like two of the four might rethink their illegal and damaging use of this trail, but eventually they gave in to their more belligerent friend and went on down the trail. Unfortunately I forgot my map with the park phone number so I couldn’t turn them in. Their 8 knobby tires skidding around the turns and through the muddy sections of the trail did damage that will last months, if not longer – just so they could have a fun little five minute descent.

If you see some mountain bikers at a Quicksilver trailhead in an orange pickup truck and a white van with a bike rack, you might keep an eye on them.

February 5, 2006 Posted by | Commentary | Comments Off on What's Unclear About This Sign?



No Bikes sign. Prospect #3 Trail, Almaden Quicksilver. February 4, 2006.

February 5, 2006 Posted by | Commentary | Comments Off on Prospect3NoBikesSign

High Winds and Aggressive Cattle

Yup, that was my morning on Mission Peak.

I ascended via the Horse Heaven trail again this morning, starting a bit earlier this time. It was extremely – and surprisingly – windy right at the parking lot, and it just got windier as the morning went on. But first, the cows…

The route I followed cuts off to the right just after the start of the trail and then ascends steadily through range-land on a dirt road. Eventually the trail goes straight ahead and becomes a regular footpath as the road winds off to the left. After ascending a short section of switchbacks and cutting up through a little ravine, the trail momentarily levels off. There is a fork here; last week I went left and straight up the hill so this time I thought I’d try the straight ahead route. I passed a big cow and a moment later she started bellowing. I didn’t think much of it at first but when I looked up I realized that the trail was heading through a bunch of calves, and she didn’t seem to like this. I looked back and she was heading my way so I headed off the trail to go around the baby beasts – but she kept coming. At this point I decided that perhaps that other, steeper trail was looking a bit more inviting so I backtracked and took that fork.

Fifty feet up this trail another big cow started heading my way and didn’t back off until I yelled “hey!” at her. Strange. Perhaps the high winds had them on edge.

I ascended the first part of this steep trail and picked up some very strong winds, especially going across a low saddle before a descent to a creek crossing. Above the creek the trail again ascended steeply, eventually on a completely exposed spine of hillside. The wind was blowing me off balance and once or twice I stopped to wait for it to diminish. After joining the main (?) trail I crossed another windy saddle before descending to the Moore Grove trail junction and a sheltered area.

From here it was only a short distance to the ridge on a trail that was largely protected from the wind. But the sheltered area ended after I passed through the cattle gate and climbed to the open saddle below Mission Peak. The wind was screaming through here – enough to stop me in my tracks at a couple points. At first I thought of descending into the valley on the other side to escape the wind but not knowing where that trails ends up I finally decided to try the ridge. Where the trail was to the left of the ridge the wind was relatively calm, but where it followed the ridge top or crossed to the east side I was hit by a gale. Needless to say, I did not stay long on the summit – just long enough to notice that there were very few people up there today to enjoy a view that extended all the way to the snow-covered Sierra crest.

February 5, 2006 Posted by | Trips | Comments Off on High Winds and Aggressive Cattle


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