Sunday, April 19, 2015


From National Monument, to now the newest National Park, the rock formations at the Pinnacles are beautiful.

We planned a training day trip, with 20-30 lbs backpacks, up the switch backs towards Condor Gulch and then back into the caves of Bear Gulch.

Originally the trip was planned for 5-6 miles, though we added a trip from the visitor center to Bear Gulch, as the parking lot there was full. There is a shuttle between both locations, though the wait can be long on popular hiking days.

Since there are several caves, do bring a headlamp. And plenty of water.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Almaden Quicksilver county park

Almaden, in South San Jose, was once the home of a large quicksilver mine. Named after the Spanish Almadén,  mercury was extracted out of cinnabar. It is still not safe to eat the fish from the ponds in this area due to the high mercury content.  Almaden Quicksilver County Park info

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Reserve

On Easter Sunday, after waking up early to watch de Ronde Van Vlaanderen cycling race, we decided to go on a hike to test out our new backpacking boots. We found a little jewel, about 30 minutes away from our house: Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve.

Today was a cloudy spring day, with rain showers promised throughout the day. I can imagine this place as a small oven in summer. On a day like today, it was wonderful: cool breeze, tall green grass, valleys of spring flowers, many groups of deer, and the danger that a mountain lion has been sighted only a few days ago. We only hiked a small portion of this open space preserve. We'll be back for more.