All posts by Lindsay

A Science Nerd/ Crafter/ Baker. Into Bacteria and bobbins.

Mallard Slough Trail

Last night after Andrew finished work, we took a quick cycle out on the Bay.

This cycle picks up from the same location as the Alviso Slough Trail, except instead of heading out on that trail, we cycled to the Mallard Slough Trail, a smaller trail to the east pictured in orange on the below map:

Alviso and Mallard Slough Trail

From the end of the Lower Guadalupe River Trail, turn right and follow Gold St-right on Catherine St-left/straight onto State St-right on Spreckles Ave-left on Grand Blvd and left again to stay on Grand Blvd and follow it across the train tracks and round to the car park and US Fish and Wildlife Service buildings by the bay.

Railroad Crossing

The Mallard Slough Trail is 3.3 miles in total, or you can cut across to the Alviso Slough Trail via a bridge over the railroad tracks, and take that trail back to the Alviso Marina County Park parking lot.

Mallard Slough Trail

It is a nice, well maintained trail, with vista points and information along the way.

2015.08.11 Endomondo Data

We decided to follow the Mallard Slough Trail, then cut across to the Alviso Slough Trail to go back to the Alviso Marina County Park parking lot, and then followed Hope St-left on Catherine St-right on El Dorado St-left on Moffat St-right on Gold St (the alternative to taking the Public Shore gravel path back across the tracks), and then we were back to the end of the Lower Guadalupe River Trail.

Mallard Slough Trail

Union Valley Bike Trail

Union Valley Reservoir

This weekend Andrew and I took a trip up to the Eldorado National Forest, and camped at Wench Creek Campground on the east shore of the Union Valley Reservoir. There was a big group of us heading up there for my friend’s boyfriend’s birthday, so we reserved Group Site 2, and it was pretty excellent.

Group site 2 includes space for 50 people, flushing toilets, a big camp fire ring with seating all around it, 3 fixed BBQ grills, plenty of tables…… generally is really well set up for a large get together with friends…..

Except no showers. It would be absolutely perfect with showers ๐Ÿ˜‰

Another excellent thing about the campground is that the Union Valley Bike Trail runs along the bottom of the campground, so you can easily hop onto it and indulge in a little there-and-back-again cycle along the shore of the reservoir, and through the forest.

Union Valley Bike Trail

“If I fall… would you guys catch me?”

On Saturday morning we cycled from our group campground to the end of the trail at the main Wench Creek Campground, then followed the trail down to Jones Fork Campground, and back to our site.

2015.08.08 Endomondo Data

You can download the full map of the trail here.

Union Valley Bike Trail

The trail crosses a few creeks that feed into the reservoir, and should fill it with water…. obviously at the moment, much like the rest of California… it is somewhat dry:

Union Valley Reservoir
Union Valley Reservoir Union Valley Reservoir

 

All those sandy/muddy beaches should be covered in water. Alas, they are not.

It is a really pretty cycle, with some little hills, paved the entire way. It is mostly shaded by the forest, so stays pretty cool too.

 

Alviso Slough Trail

Yesterday morning I went out on my bicycle for a quick ride around the old salt ponds at Alviso:

Alviso Slough Trail

(You can download the full map here)

These ponds form part of the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay Wildlife Refuge, that extends around most of the lower part of the bay.

The start of this ride is the northernmost end of the Lower Guadalupe River Trail, where it meets Gold Street. If you look across the road at this point, a gravel track leads across the railroad tracks to the public shore, a gravel trail that will take you to the Alviso Marina County Park parking lot.

Lower Guadalupe River Trail

 

(Note: you could also park at the Alviso Marina County Park parking lot, and start the cycle from there)

Be careful when crossing the tracks that you check for oncoming trains, but you can’t miss them…. they are kinda loud! It is an Amtrak line, so has limited train traffic.

Once at the Marina cycle through the parking lot towards the entrance, then out towards the trail.

The Alviso Slough Trail is 8.6 miles long, the added bit from the end of the Lower Guadalupe River Trail makes this ride 10.2 miles… or at least according to Endomondo:

15.08.04 Endomondo Data

 

I cycle to the end of the trail first, which adds almost another 7 miles total. It was slightly overcast yesterday, with a bit of a breeze, which can make the cycle a little more challenging, but overall it is a flat, gentle, and scenic cycle. It is also very exposed, so I wouldn’t recommend it on a hot day, but with a breeze it keeps you cool, and also keeps the bay stink from being too overpowering!

Alviso Slough Trail

On a clear day, you can see the hills and mountains all around the bay, and their reflection in the water.Alviso Slough Trail

 

Also, on a clear day if you look north, up the train lines, you can see some of the remains of Drawbridge, an old abandoned railroad station and ghost town, just hanging out there by the train tracks, and slowly sinking into the mud.

Alviso Slough Trail

Monday Morning Hike: Santa Teresa County Park

Another Mid-Week Hikers hike, this time we took a short hike in Santa Teresa County Park.

We met up at the intersection of Bernal Road and Heaton Moor Drive. There is no parking lot here, but a fairly large amount of street parking, so it is not necessary to pay the usual entrance fee.

The proposed route followed: Road- Ohlone Trail – Mine Trail – Norred Trail – Joice Trail – Vista Loop – Joice Trail – Bernal Hill Trail – Mine Trail – Ohlone Trail – Road.

15.08.03 Route

 

You can download the full park map here.

It was stated to be a ~4.5 mile round trip, my Endomondo data puts it to be 5.27 miles, but it does sometimes overestimate these things ๐Ÿ™‚

15.08.03 Endomondo Data

 

The route was quite exposed with little shade, which on a hot day would make this somewhat more challenging, but this morning was a great morning for a hike!

Santa Teresa County Park

It was sunny but not too warm, with a very pleasant breeze coming off the bay, and you could see for a quite a way across San Jose.

We again saw some deer in the park, very tame:

Deer

Huddart Park and the Phleger Estate

Before I had a job, I would, as often as possible, head out hiking with the Mid-Week Hikers meetup group.

Group Photo

As the name suggests, it is a group of hikers that hike during the week, and I found it really useful to explore new parks and trails.

This is the link for this hike.

It was billed as a hike of 8.1 miles, with 1600ft of total ascent:

2015.07.31 Endomondo Data

 

As you can see, my endomondo tracking app disagrees.

It involved trails in both Huddart Park, and the Phleger Estate, with the Phleger Estate trails signposted really beautifully:

Phleger Estate

 

The hike started form the Zwierlein area in Huddart Park and followed the trails thus:ย Crystal Springs Trail; Spur Trail; Richards Road Trail; Miramontes Trail into Phleger Estate; Mount Redondo Trail; Lonely Trail back into Huddart Park (near Skyline Blvd); Richards Road Trail; Skyline Trail; lunch stop at restroom; Summit Springs Trail; Crystal Springs Trail; Dean Trail; Crystal Springs Trail.

I saw my first Banana Slugs! Two of them! They really are very yellow. I also saw this really cute bench:

Cute Bench

 

Thanks bench! Perhaps I will.

While it has been quite warm in the Bay this week, these two parks stay pretty cool as they are almost entirely in the shade of Redwood and Madrone trees. The trails were dry, dusty, and fairly uneven, with limited signage in some areas. Dry leaves covered the trails and meant it was quite crisp under foot.

Overall it was a great hike, but I think that the muscles in my legs will be aching tomorrow!

Morning Hike: Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Yesterday was my last day at work.

It was a happy day as it means that I now have one month off, then Orientation begins, and I get one step closer to being a qualified Clinical Laboratory Scientist.

To mark the occasion, instead of my friend Brooke and I doing our usual Insanity or random Keaira LaShae YouTube workout, we decided that three of us from our team would go for a walk in the Wildlife Refuge that was just near where we worked.

Trail Map

The Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge actually covers quite a lot of the South Bay Marshland, including all the old salt ponds, where salt production used to occur, and in fact still does to a limited extent in the area near Fremont.

You can download a full trail map of this area, and also the area near Alviso here.

This was just a sightseeing walk rather than a hike, very low intensity and casual, we parked at the Visitor Center and took the Tidelands Trail to the top of the hill, where you can take a little extra stroll to an overlook to look out across the bay:

Vista towards the South

Vista towards the North

We then crossed the bridge over the Newark Slough, walked along the trail, and then back across the bridge.

All in all, it was only about 2 miles, and with only approximately 144ft ascent to the top of the hill, but it was surprisingly peaceful and picturesque, especially considering the proximity of the area to the Dumbarton Bridge, and that it was rush hour for everyone else.

Dumbarton Traffic

There are also a few interesting things to look at, such as an old duck hunting cabin, abandoned since the 60s/70s, but that still has the owner’s decoy ducks hung up inside:

Duck Hunting Cabin

… a nice picnic shelter, right over the marsh:

Picnic Shelter

…and there is also the slightly disgusting, but kind of interesting sight of water coming out from under the pump house:

Pump House Froth

Interesting, because dissolved proteins in the water cause the formation of froth as the water is aerated by the action of coming out of the pipe, apparently in much the same way as you whisk egg whites…….

Yuck.

Yet somehow quite hypnotic to watch.

We were really quite pleasantly surprised by how nice it was, but this might be in part because the Bay was not at all stinky that day, especially in comparison to usual!

Early Morning Mid-Week Hike: Rancho San Antonio

I have been a member of the Mid-Week Hikers group on Meetup.com since we moved to the Bay Area at the end of 2013. While unemployed and waiting for my work documents to come through, the group was great for getting me out of the house and exploring the area… and also for some adult human conversation.

(I would sometimes talk to my cats…. but they couldn’t answer. Or at least not in a language I could understand)

Today I had a bonus sort of day off work, as a VIP was visiting and we weren’t allowed in the building until after they had left, so I decided to join up with the hiking group and get outside!

Each week there seems to be an early hike starting at 7:30AM, at Rancho San Antonio in Cupertino, varying in the route slightly.

2015.07.23 Endomondo Data

Above is the Endomondo data for this morning. The planned route was Parking Lot – crossover to Hill Tank Trail – Coyote Trail – Wildcat Loop Trail –ย  Upper Wildcat Loop Trail – Vista Point – High Meadow Trail – Low Meadow Trail – Permanente Creek Trail – Parking Lot.

The view from the Vista Point down towards the Bay was kinda misty/foggy, but you could just make out the hangars at Moffett Field:

Vista Vista

In the opposite direction it was blue skies, crispy grass, and trees:

Vista

It was a good route, not too steep, but with a reasonable overall descent and ascent. We took it at a brisk, but not super fast, pace as a few people had work and appointments to get back to, we also saw some deer on the hike, including this little group that had very little fear:

Deer!

Me? Well I then spent most of the rest of the day at Great America.

A good day ๐Ÿ™‚

Portland Waterfront by Deuce Coupe

This past weekend Andrew and I went to Portland, OR for the weekend for our Anniversary.

Portland

In amongst drives along the Columbia River Gorge to Bonneville Dam, and a trip to Bob’s Red Mill for some fun ingredients, we also rented a Deuce Coupe from Kerr Bikes in Tom McCall Waterfront Park, and took a short ride along the Waterfront Park Trail. They rent regular bikes, tandems, Surrey bikes and little go-karts style pedal bikes, with all proceeds going to charity.

15.07.12 Endomondo Data

The there-and-back-again route took us down to Marquam Bridge, then up to and across the Steel Bridge.

Portland - Steel Bridge

While on our way back across the bridge, a freight train came across…..

Portland - Steel Bridge

It was quite the vibration! I waved hello to the driver ๐Ÿ™‚

The ride also crosses underneath the bridges of Hawthorne, Morrison and Burnside, and goes past the site of the Saturday Market, which despite the name, is also open on Sundays from March through Christmas Eve.

I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a little bit of low-key exercise by the river on a Sunday morning!

Old Haul Road Trail from Wurr Road to Portola Redwoods State Park

For Andrew’s birthday this year, I bought him a book on mountain biking in the Bay Area, along with the promise that I would come out for a ride at least once.

(I generally have a fear of proper mountain biking, I don’t feel like I have the skill or balance or coordination on two wheels that I have on my two feet!)

This ride came from that book, and seemed like a good starter ride for those none too confident in their bike riding skills (like myself).

The ride took us along the Old Haul Road trail from Wurr Road right into Portola Redwoods State Park.

The parking lot on Wurr Road

The view from the parking lot on Wurr Road

You can get the park brochure here. You follow Old Haul Road right to the SP boundary, where a signpost directs you into the park.

Portola Redwoods State Park

The book quotes the ride as being 12 miles, but as you can see below, Endomondo disagrees a little.

15.06.21 Endomondo Data

As you ride into the park down a steep bit of trail, you come across the remains of the Iverson Cabin. It had stood from the 1860s until Loma Prieta finished it off in 1989.

Iveson Cabin

The sign reads:

“At this site stood the cabin of Christian Iverson, the first european settler of record. Built in the 1860’s, the cabin was constructed of hand split redwood and had two rooms. It stood until the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989.

Iverson made his living in this area splitting redwood shakes, working for local farmers, doing road work, and other odd jobs. Iverson had an eventful past working as a pony express rider and as a stage coach shotgun guard.

The famous of these events was a shoot out with Captain Harry Love in the streets of Santa Clara. Captain Love was the former head of the California Rangers, who were responsible for the capture of the famous outlaw Joaquin Murrietta. At the time of the shootout, Iverson was working as a bodyguard and foreman for Mrs Love, much to the displeasure of her husband. Harry Love attempted to ambush and kill Iverson, but in the ensuing gun fight Iverson received only minor wounds. However, in the exchange of gunfire Iverson shot Harry Love who died from his injuries. Mrs Love died later of gunshot wounds she received during the fight.”

Hmmmmm…. perhaps he wasn’t a particularly good bodyguard. But I do love it when there are random historical artifacts and structures along the way ๐Ÿ™‚

There is a visitor center in the park, along with restrooms and water, but the restrooms we went to beside the visitor center are closed to conserve water, so just behind the visitor center, there are instead portable toilets.

Unpleasant.

I recommend you take some wipes or sanitizer for your hands!

The trail is pretty smooth as is a road used by park trucks, and previously used to haul logs out of the woods in bygone days. It is also nice and shaded, which keeps things nice and cool.

Tree face

Overall it was a nice intro for me….. but I am still scared of going down hills!

Happy Birthday Andrew!

Andrew + Trees

Note: you can also hike the exact same route, and there are some extra trails off the main trail that are closed to bikers, but open to hikers. Also, if any bikers fancy it, you can lock up your bikes at the visitor center and take a short hike to see some mighty big trees!

Almaden Quicksilver County Park: Hacienda Entrance

Almaden Quicksilver County Park is pretty much our favourite park to hike. The facilities are great, the trails are varied, it is pretty close, and the parking is easy and free. It also has lots of old mining buildings, structures, and equipment dotted around the park, which I find pretty interesting to look at.

Almaden Old Structures

The park is mainly dry and crispy right now, but the occasional area is green and covered in trees.

Tree Lined Trails

Also there are still some beautiful wildflowers around:

Almaden Wildflowers

You can find the complete trail map for the park on the sccgov.org websiteย here.

We had Andrew’s parents visiting from the UK, so wanted to keep the hike reasonably short and not too strenuous.

Trail Map

We parked at and entered through the Hacienda entrance and followed:

Mine Hill Trail – English Camp Trail – English Camp – Yellow Kid Trail – Yellow Kid Trail (past the Rotary Furnace) – Wood Road Trail – Castillero Trail – English Camp Trail – Deep Gulch Trail.

Here is the route as tracked using Endomondo:

2015.06.13 Endomondo Data

2015.06.13 Endomondo Speed and Height Data

Some of the trails are strictly hiking trails, and a little overgrown with vegetation, such as the Yellow Kid Trail as pictured below:

Yellow Kid Trail

But all the yellow flowers are pretty, so I can’t be that sad about it.

The route was partly shaded, but mostly exposed, so we were glad we went earlier in the day when it wasn’t as warm. Even so we ended up feeling pretty hot and sweaty by the end of the hike.

Hikers

One added bonus was that we saw two deer in the trees!

Deer

They were kind of photo shy.

We finished off our morning with a quick look around the Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum, then a well earned Brunch ๐Ÿ™‚