It was a gorgeous morning today, sunny but cool. A perfect hiking weather. Tax preparation was finished yesterday. As I have to pay some, I decided to postpone filing till later and mail the checks to IRS and franchise tax board on April 15, Tax Day. To reward myself decided to go hiking. Hiking is my usual stress reliever. Couple of weeks back when I had gone hiking up Stile Ranch Trail and taken photos of poppy blooms, my wife wanted to go to the trail. So off we went, me, my wife and my companion, Skooby.
Fortunately for us, the rain had stopped last week, the trail was not muddy and more wild flowers had bloomed after the rains. This time I had my dslr with me as Skooby was handled by my wife and I had my hand free for most of the time. We decided to complete Fortini Loop this time and was rewarded by majestic vistas, hillside ablaze with wildflowers, running creeks and floating birds of prey. Sharing a few photos from our hike today.
Mount Umunhum to the west of Stile Ranch
Mount Hamilton with Lick Observatory visible at top to the west of Stile Ranch
Big Blue-IBM Almaden Research Center. IBM had given access to the Stile Ranch easement to Santa Clara County Park and Recreation.
Ah, I had forgotten about the wildflowers. So without much ado, here are the flowers.
Fortunate to call this beautiful place home for last thirty years. However we all need to be vigilant that, for the generations to come, we nurture what we enjoy and leave this earth a better place than we found. Today while hiking, I found a mother with her young daughter hiking the trail from the opposite direction. In the mother’s hand I found a small bottle with water and a few varieties of wildflowers in the bottle. For a moment I thought of just passing by, but my conscience won’t let me go . I stopped and told the mother that she was not supposed to do that. Specifically picking wildflowers from state and county lands without authorization in California is a misdemeanor. The lady told me that she found it so beautiful and she picked only a few. I told her that if everyone started picking only a few, there will be none left for people to enjoy. My wife was not pleased with me but I reasoned that it was my civic duty and I did not do anything wrong. As it turned out, we met again after an hour or so on the trail ( it was a loop) and I had a pleasant chat with the lady and was happy to find out that she saw that my point of view was correct.
Soar high my friends. Spring is in the air.
Note: All photos taken by author on April 13, 2019. Please ask or cite source for reproduction.
Hiking Stile Ranch Trail :Part 1 – A morning with Poppies
This weekend was supposed to be a hike to view wildflowers but by Saturday night very few group members signed up for any one of the two hikes suggested. At the last moment it was changed to St. Joseph Trail hike in Los Gatos. My mind already set to view wildflowers, I decided to skip the hike and instead hit the Stile Ranch Trail on my extended backyard. The trailhead of Stile Ranch Trail is couple of miles from my home. After a good rainy season, the hills are always ablaze with poppy flowers along with other wildflowers. This trial was opened in September of 1991 and I hiked this trail nearly every year after that, specially during the poppy blooming season. Last few years were a disappointment due to paucity of rain. This year we had very good rains during February and March and I was hopeful that this would be a boom season. I was not disappointed.
My dog, Skooby, loves this trail and he loves the flowers ( I think he likes to chase the bees). He had been hiking this trail every year for last nine years with me. By the time I started, it was already mid morning and it was getting warm.
The trail itself is not a hard one. From the trailhead to the crest is less than three hundred feet elevation gain but is shared by hikers, bikers and equestrians. Though I did not see any horses yesterday morning, there were many bikers as usual. The rail had cut deep gullies on the middle of trail making it difficult for the bikers to navigate. With Skooby I had to be extra careful to ensure that he was not in the path of oncoming bikes coming down hill.
After spending a few hours among the lovely flowers and fresh air, Skooby and I left for home for a warm lunch. Till next year and hoping for a good rainy season.
Note: All photos taken by author on March 31, 2019. Please ask or cite source for reproduction.