Saturday, 30 January 2016

Edgewood Park & Natural Preserve in Redwood City

Saturday started slowly today, with a lot of chores. By the time we were done, it was 2 pm and the sun had hidden behind the clouds. So we decided to stay on the Peninsula, rather than spend a lot of time driving and went to Edgewood Park in Redwood City.

We've been to Edgewood before, but the wet winter has changed it quite a bit. We remembered dry trails and lots of poison oak, and we saw lots of green grass and wet trails instead - a very pleasant surprise. The hike started well too, we saw a rabbit and some squirrels by the creek right at the entrance to the park :)

As you can see, the trail is distinctly greener:

We went along the Sylvan trail, and found a small waterfall on the way:

The flowers have started making an appearance too!

All said, a very pleasant hike. For families: there is a small visitor center with restrooms at the entrance. There are also restrooms in the picnic area. The parking lot is small and usually full, but there is plenty of parking along the road.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Memorial Park at Loma Mar

We meant to go to Pescadero Creek Park today, to try and spot steelhead trout. We missed the turn for Pescadero Creek Park and reached Memorial Park instead. For future reference, Pescadero Creek Park is the turn before Memorial Park, when coming from La Honda.

Memorial Park has a $6 entrance fee for day use (self registration - carry change and a pen). Once inside, drive towards the camping areas on the right to find a restroom - the ones in the day use section are closed for repairs (and look like they have been closed for a long time).

The park itself is lovely, and with the current rains, was very, very wet - we were really thankful for the hiking boots! You can see how wet it was from these photos:

When we reached the creek, it was full! A welcome sight after the drought ..

We didn't actually get to see any trout, but we saw the usual suspects - banana slugs: 

and mushrooms:

Apart from another couple and the ranger, the place was deserted - though there were many picnic tables all over the place. Wonder if it gets more crowded in summer - certainly looked like a nice place to go camping in summer.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Pulgas Open Space Preserve near Redwood City

Last weekend was rather packed, but we didn't want to miss out on the weekly hike. So we found a place on the peninsula itself, and saved time on the drive. Pulgas Open Space Preserve is just across the road from Edgewood, where we have been many times - but we had never crossed over to Pulgas Open Space Preserve so far. Pulgas is similar to Edgewood, but does seem to have a lot more water - something that you can observe by the large number of fungi everywhere!

At the beginning of the hike, we saw a lot of toyon berries:

And a little further on, we saw lots and lots of fungi, of different types:

Note that there is an area in the center of the preserve where dogs can run around without a leash. We walked around and kept climbing till we were near the top of the hill. On our way back, we had a lot of turkey vultures circling overhead!

There were a lot of other raptors too, but with my limited bird knowledge, I wasn't able to identify them.

For families: there is a pit loo at the car park, and no picnic benches. There are a few benches on the trail where you can stop for a quick snack, but nothing elaborate. Note that there are plenty of dogs on this trail because a lot of dog owners bring them to the off leash area at the center.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Uvas Canyon County Park near Morgan Hill

Our first hike of 2016 was to Uvas Canyon County Park in the Santa Clara County Parks system, west of Morgan Hill. After turning off 101, the drive in is lovely. The last half mile is through a private Swedish community called Sveadal. Drive really slow here - the road is very narrow. The entrance to the park has a self-service kiosk - $6 for a day pass. Take change or a Visa/Mastercard credit card - American Express is not accepted. The park has clean restrooms and lots of picnic tables. We had timed our visit to start with lunch, so we stopped at one of the tables and had a picnic before starting.

The trail is lovely, wet and green - and with the current El Nino weather, the creek was flowing and there were waterfalls everywhere!

We strayed off the main Waterfall Trail once to follow a small route up where we got to see this:

We turned around at the Upper Falls:

and passed Little Falls on the way back:

We took the Swanton Creek trail for a while, walking toward the Lower Falls but a tree fall had closed the trail. As you can see from the photos though, there was water everywhere!