Monday, March 26, 2007

Harver Bear Ranch Outlaws - Sat Mar 17

For some reason, I got it in my head that the new Harvey Bear Ranch county park (Santa Clara County) allowed dogs.  I don't know why.  But I planned a trip there, went (with Raleigh), and returned.  It wasn't till afterward that I noticed (researching another hike) that this park actually doesn't allow dogs on the trails.


No matter.  We only saw 2 other people (but we did run into them twice during the afternoon).  Otherwise, we had the park to ourselves (aside from a couple people with horses and one guy with a llama in the parking lot).

The bottom line: I think they only care about the dogs in parks where there are people or if the dogs cause a problem.  Kind of like smoking pot, I suppose.

It continued to be a gorgeous spring weekend.  Warm and sunny with lots of poppies blooming.  I have lots of pictures which I'll upload later.

The hiking there is mediocre.  The lower reaches of the park are open and I'm sure very hot in the summer.  The ridge up at the top, above Coyote Lake, is nice walking with lots of oaks and gradual ups and downs.   This would be a nice up and back hike from Coyote Lake parking (thus avoiding some of the exposed, lower western-facing slopes and much of th climbing).

After we got to the top of the ridge, I decided to climb to the highpoint at the northern end of the park (there's a similar hill at the other end which we didn't get to).  At the top are piled a bunch of large rocks, which I had to scramble on to get to the highest point (which I just had to do :-).

Jumping down off the rocks, I heard what I immediately thought must be a rattlesnake!  It rattled and rattled and rattled for what seemed like minutes.  I stood still looking for it.  I wanted to take a picture and it didn't sound close enough to strike.  I never did figure out where it was.  As I retreated, it did another long rattle.

So I call that hill Rattlesnake Hill.

We headed south until it was time to head back.  Given more time, it would be nice to hike that whole ridge which would make about 8 miles or so up and back.  We doubled back a ways and headed downhill.  We had to chase some cows out of our path.  Got back to the car at sunset, exactly (as usual).

This hike puts me at the 100 mile mark for 2007!

Hike totals: 9 miles, 1500' elevation gain
2007 totals: 100 miles, 23,700' elevation gain

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