First Real Hike in a Long Time

First Real Hike in a Long Time

My piriformis has healed enough that I thought it won’t mind hiking, and my uphill walking last monday was encouraging. So Wednesday I tried my favorite local trail, the Arrowhead loop in Coyote Valley Open Space, and had a great time. It started out in an amusing way. On Tuesday I had a harder than expected group bike ride. Even though I tried to take it leisurely, we had a very windy day. So on Tuesday night I was thinking about the hike I wanted to do on Wednesday: “tomorrow should really be an easy day. What with riding my bike to the open space, doing the hike, and riding back, that’s too long”. I could not see an alternative. This is because I take pride in being “car lite” and doing things on a bike whenever I can. This has become such a habit that it took a while for me to realize “oh- I can just drive to the park”. Which is what I ended up doing (leisurely, in our hybrid, practicing safe “hypermiling“, of course).

It was less windy today but the wind from yesterday had left our air nice and clear.

Parking Lot and Trail Start. I visit here often on my bike, even when not hiking, because that little building comes in handy when the need arises
Start of the trail, with Coyote Valley off to the right
There is an arrangement to let local ranchers graze cattle in the open space, hence these cattle gates
This is usually the start of the climb for me. But the trail is single-track with little room to pass, so during Covid it is one way. Occasionally they change the direction for variety. Today it was going clockwise instead of the counter-clockwise I’m used to.
Starting the climb clockwise
It is still very dry (rain will come soon, we hope!) But got prettier as I get up amidst the trees.
The Diablo range is visible across the valley to the east
Zooming in you can see the Lick Observatory buildings on top Mt. Hamilton (elev. 4265′)

mAt the end of the trail there is a tribute to the De Anza expedition of 1200 miles from Tubac Presidio in what is now Arizona to the Presidio of San Francisco in California (which was then the Spanish colony of Alta California). The expedition passed right by this spot, 70 miles from the end. This brought back fond memories for me, because the last time I visited my brother, we went down to Tubac, which is now an Arizona state historic park. The plaque also gives praise to the help and kindness the members of the expedition received from Native Americans along the way, include the Native Ohlone people in this area.

I had to clear up a confusion I had about senor De Anza. We have a lot of things named “De Anza” around here, but we also have the town and mission San Juan Bautista. I was wondering how the explorer Juan Bautista de Anza achieved sainthood. He didn’t, San Juan Bautista is not named after him, it is Spanish for St. John the Baptist.

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