I did some cleaning, organizing, a few loads of laundry, a bit of online shopping, played some old video games and sketched this on the iPad...
I visited Henry Cowell State Park today for the first time. I went with some friends. We parked somewhere along highway 9 and moved fast towards the San Lorenzo river. By the time we reached the water we’d already gone on a few sketchy trails and we were gonna go on more questionable trails along the river towards The Garden Of Eden. A few of us didn’t feel comfortable going that way so we all turned back the way we came then followed the train tracks to the swimming hole. There were a few people there, including an annoying group playing music really loud on their portable speaker. We hung out for a little while before following the train tracks some more then heading back to our cars. The maps I brought, and my phone’s gps, weren’t very helpful because we didn’t enter through any of the designated entrances and there weren’t any trail markers anywhere. I still had fun but next time I’ll come better prepared and take my time and really enjoy it.
The plan was to go on a short hike at Grant Park today because I’m going to Henry Cowell State Park tomorrow morning and don’t want to over do it but when I arrived at Grant I just wanted to hike as many new trails as I could in the 3 hours before sunset and did 6.35 miles. When I got home later I started researching the hike to the Garden of Eden at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. Apparently there’s a route from the main entrance that crosses the San Lorenzo River but the seasonal bridge might not be up so it might require going across the water. There’s also another route that avoids crossing the river by parking at a different location and taking a different trail. I’m going with friends so I’ll let them decide what to do.
It feels like an adventure, exploring new places with the help of a map. Instead of carrying a sword I got a small pocket knife. My phone’s gps serves as my compass. Grant Park has wild pigs and Hyrule has moblins. Today (Wednesday) I came across a hallowed out tree that looked like the the entrance to level 1 from the original Legend of Zelda for the NES. I was wearing my Zelda: Wind Waker mask today too FTW.
This is my 500th blog post! It'd be cool if I had some profound shit to write about. Instead I'm sharing the collection of maps I've printed, highlighted and carried with me on my hikes over the last couple months. I've thrown them away and fished them out of the trash at least twice now and I'm still not sure what I'm going to do with them.
The whole thing started after Covid struck and my gym was forced to close. I started going to Lake Cunningham Park to walk & run until that got boring so I started hiking the Eagle Rock Trail at Alum Rock Park. I kept hiking the same trail over & over till I decided to explore the rest of the park. In November I decided I was going to hike every trail at Alum Rock before the end of the year. I finished Alum Rock sooner than expected and moved on to the Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve and managed to hike all those trails before New Years. Now I'm working on completing Joseph D. Grant County Park and I'm about 1/4 to 1/3 of the way done. Since Grant Park is so big, and has tons of trails, I've been selecting my route and printing a portion of the map (middle pic) to carry in my pocket. When I get back home I highlight the trails I hiked that day on to the full map (bottom.) I'm hoping to finish Grant Park in February and starting someplace new. I'm thinking Ed R. Levin Park.
I’m making it sound a lot cooler than it really is but I went on a 6 mile hike this afternoon and covered new trails, bringing me a tiny bit closer to completing the whole park. I saw a few animal bones, large moss covered rocks, a fallen tree obstructing a bike trail, a tree that looks like it belongs on a motivational poster, the ass-end of huge grasshopper or something and views of Lick Observatory & the valley below from the top of the Yerba Buena Trail. When I left the park I drove further up Mount Hamilton Road to check out the Twin Gates parking lot & trail head and the Smith Creek Fire Station. On the way I up a saw a coyote eating a dead snake on the side of the road (see video) then again posing for sunset photos on my way back down.
The day started off with an early morning hike at Grant Park with my friend Martine. I was already running late due to phone issues then I was stuck behind a slow moving fire truck for miles going up the narrow winding road leading to the park. Then the hike was cut short after realizing I’d made a wrong turn and we were headed backwards. After coming home, a little disappointed in myself, I showered and got ready to go shopping. I went to the new Costco Business Center near the house, Office Depot across town, a regular Costco, then to the Safeway back home. I had about half a cart full of groceries and was next in line at the check out stand when I noticed the guy behind me only was buying a single bouquet of flowers so I let him go in front of me. After he paid for his flowers and left I loaded my items on the conveyer and walked up the cashier who said the guy had given her $20 to pay for part of my groceries. How cool was that? And as an added bonus I received an additional $10 discount at the register. What an awesome way to end a long day.
I went out today and bought three more pairs of toe sock liners. My first pair worked great, preventing blisters after a couple hikes, but I didn’t like having to throw a load in the wash just to clean a pair of socks. Now, with four pairs, I can hike every other day with a fresh set and wash them all on laundry day at the end of the week. And no, this is not an ad. No one’s paying me to write this shit. After nine months of shutdown, because of covid, hiking’s become my jam. I just gotta avoid getting blisters on my feet to keep the party going.
I went with my buddy Jon and his girlfriend Gabi to Grant Park this morning and hiked some new trails on New Years Day. We did a little over 4 miles which brings the total to 9.75 miles (out of the 51 miles of hiking trails according to the Grant Park website) but it doesn’t look like 19% (almost 1/5) of the trails are covered/highlighted on the map in the last pic.
Kept it low key for New Years, cause of covid and I'm old. I made a little animation for those who went out and gathered in groups. If they get covid, fuck em! After 9 months I'm tired of feeling bad, plus we should all know better by this point. If they get other people sick, well then then they're assholes too. Besides folks ringing in the new year with covid, I've plotted a short hike at Grant Park, to do later today with my buddies, and got back to work on the EMN Phoenix project I should have finished by now. Happy New Year... even though not a damn thing's changed!
I did what I set out to do and hiked the last, and most difficult, trail at the Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve. I started at 9:10 this morning and finished at 2:40 in the afternoon. I hiked a total of 8.67 miles with 1920 feet of elevation gain. I saw a bobcat at the start of the hike, crossed a slippery wooden bridge, saw a tree with a nice moss covered ass, sat on a log and drew for a few minutes, saw another bobcat at the end of the trail as well as cows chillin under a tree, kicked off my socks and boots and relaxed my feet and laid out and rested on a couple picnic tables. It was one hell of a challenge, and great way to end the year. And although I’ve hiked all the trails here I can see myself doing it again someday.
Wednesday morning I'm setting out to hike the last last, and longest, trail at Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve. I've hiked every other trail there but none are as difficult as the Lower Calaveras Fault. My alarm is set and I'm scheduled to arrive and start hiking at 9:00 AM. I don't know how long it's going to take, probably 5-6 hours, but I'm gonna give myself time to stop and rest and make it back before the preserve closes at 4:00 PM. I'll be wearing my newly acquired sock liners, underneath my regular socks, for the first time. They're supposed to prevent blisters so we'll see how that goes. I'm excited to finally check this trail off the list. In November I set out to hike every trail at Alum Rock Park before the end of the year and finished earlier than expected. I sure as hell didn't think I'd hike all of Sierra Vista before 2021 as well. Next on my hit list is Joseph D. Grant County Park since my buddy and I already carved out a 5.5 mile hike there a couple weeks ago.
I went on a 4.6 mile hike today and finished the last bit of the Upper Calaveras Fault Trail at the Sierra Vista Preserve. I also saw a bobcat on the trail. All I gotta do now is hike the Lower Calaveras Fault Trail and I’ll have done all the trails at Sierra Vista. My goal is to finish it before the end of the year, which is in three days.
It was today. Saturday. I went on an early morning hike with my buddies and I was running on 3 hours of sleep so I when I came home I ate lunch and took a nap for a few hours. At night I started editing the videos I took of my Hail Santa drawing and realized I should have started earlier because it's going to take me hours to finish and it's almost 2:00 AM. The video will have to wait. I'm going to bed and watching some TV before going nigh-nigh.
For as long as I’ve been around, and before I was born, my dad’s side of the family always got together to celebrate on Christmas Eve. It’s always been a big deal for the grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces & nephews. It’s a long running tradition that had to be canceled this year because of Covid. Yes, it’s a bummer but today wasn’t a bad day. I hiked a couple more trails at the Sierra Vista Preserve this afternoon and got a little bit closer to completing the whole space. I just need to do the Upper Calaveras Fault Trail, east of the Cutoff Trail, and the Lower Calaveras Fault Trail, which is a doozy. Just the Lower Calaveras Fault alone is almost 10 miles round trip and a 5-6 hour trek. I’m thinking of doing one hike to finish the Upper portion and coming back another day, nice & early, to knock out the Lower part. Depending on the weather the next few days, and how much it rains, I might be able to 100% complete the preserve before the new year.
I didn’t really do shit today besides lay in bed and watch tv & movies. My body is sore AF after a 3 mile hike on Monday at the Sierra Vista Reserve and over 6 and a half miles at Alum Rock Park on Tuesday. Wednesday was a rest day. On Thursday, which is Christmas Eve, I’m going back to Sierra Vista to clock some more miles and hike trails I’ve never been on before.
I went in my first hike at Joseph D. Grant park today. I wasn’t planning on going out but my buddy, Jon, had the day off from work and asked if I wanted to go hiking. My feet felt good enough after getting blisters hiking Boccardo Trail last week. I did take some extra precautions today by putting moleskin bandages on my healing blisters and covering my feet Gold Bond foot powder before putting on socks. We started at Grant Lake and went up Los Huecos Trail then took the Cañada de Pala Trail to Halls Valley Trail and came back down. We knocked out 5.59 miles with 1,100 feet of elevation gain in a little over 2 and a half hours and I didn’t get any new blisters. I’m now tempted to hike all the trails at Grant Park as long as they’re not too gnarly. The website says there are 51 miles of trails. That’s almost 4 times more than Alum Rock Park’s 13 miles. It’d be a fun challenge for 2021.
Another low-key day. My Fred Flintstone feet are still healing from hiking the Boccardo Loop a few days ago but I still went out to Alum Rock Park today for a walk along on the Penitencia Creek Trail for some active recovery. I bought all sorts of stuff to protect the blisters I already got, and hopefully prevent future ones from forming, so I bandaged up before heading out. While on the trail I realized that the hill/mountain (pictured below) is the one I climbed via the Boccardo Trail.
Aside from washing & putting away laundry, shopping for groceries, washing dishes and resting my sore legs and blistered feet, I didn’t do much today. I did start plotting my next hike for when I’m all healed. I’ll be driving up Sierra Road to the parking lot and hiking the Aquila Loop, Krestal & Sierra Vista Trails. I can’t wait to get out there!
Monday afternoon I went back to Alum Rock Park and hiked up to the Boccardo Loop Trail, which is actually part of the Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve that is managed by Santa Clara Open Space Authority. I managed to hike the whole Boccardo Loop and the Spur Trails and make it out of the park just in time when they closed. I saw a little snake on the Loop Trail and got some amazing views from the very top of the Spur Trail. There are two other trails connected to the Loop, one is closed, and the other, Sierra Vista Trail, is open. That’s the one I’ve decided to hike next but I’m gonna need a few days to let the blisters on my feet heal after today’s 6 mile hike with 1300 foot elevation gain.
Today I finally finished hiking every trail at Alum Rock Park, and as an added bonus, walked down a steep dilapidated old road that’s not on the map. Next on the agenda is to hike the Open Space Authority trails. (Green lines on the map below) I hiked a little bit of the Boccardo Loop Trail yesterday and fell in love with it.
About a month ago I set a goal to hike every open trail at Alum Rock Park before the end of the year. Today I thought I was going to finish but then realized I missed a couple short trails that both cross Penitencia Creek. (circled on the map below) There’s water running down the creek so I’m not going to cross it. Instead I’m going to walk both sets trails from each side of the creek and be done with it. Next I’ll finish hiking the Boccardo Loop Trail, part of the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority, which I hiked for the first time today and absolutely loved.
I went hiking again today at Alum Rock Park and went to see if the button a I left on the log 4 days ago was still there, and it was. It sat in the rain and got a little rusty and I took it back home with me. I decided, prior to taking back the button this afternoon, that I don’t want to do sticker or button drops (for people to find) at Alum Rock Park anymore. It was a lot of fun the couple times I did it but I also felt weird about leaving stuff behind at the park. It felt like borderline littering. I also don’t want to encourage others to leave stuff, in hopes someone else will pick it up, and I don’t want people to come to the park if it isn’t to hike or experience nature. I still want to do Finders Creepers drops in the future but not at a place like Alum Rock Park, out of respect.
Friday afternoon I went on a hike at Alum Rock Park on some trails I hadn’t gone on before. This time I took a button with me and left it on a tagged up, fallen tree, on The North Woodland Trail near the #18 sign post. It started raining a couple hours later and I don’t know if it got claimed or sat in the rain and got wet. The button doesn’t have my Instagram handle, email or web address, just a pattern with my log on it, so it’s highly unlikely whoever finds it is gonna contact me. I wonder what they’ll think it is when they have zero reference to my logo or who I am.