SUMMARY: January 2, with friends.
This time, from the Mendoza Ranch entrance to Coyote Lake-Harvey Bear Ranch County Park. I'd never been there before, and the day was lovely--somewhat chilly air but sunny, looking to be a record high for this date (upper 60s (~20C)).
A friend organized this, including 8 people and 10 dogs (2 Whippets, 2 Border Collies, one Great Pyrenees puppy who was bigger than any of the adult dogs, and a slew of Aussies). I thought I'd get a photo of everyone at some point, but I had to turn around after 45 minutes to be able to make a noon meeting. Then I realized that I didn't even have a photo of myself, so I set up the little camera on the little Gorillapod, and voila. (I think that's Loma Prieta peak again, towards the right in the farthest range; saw it from the north in yesterday's photo.)
Tika stayed home, which made me sad every time I thought about it. However, after yesterday, I knew that she wouldn't be able to keep up with a herd of younger, healthier people and dogs. She doesn't seem to mind so much when I take Boost somewhere in the car, but boy, try to take Boost for a walk out the front door without her, and look out world!
It was a bit hazy, but still the views were nice enough looking across the Gilroy area. And, sure, it was a weekday rather than a weekend, but in the 3 hours I was there, I saw only one biker and only one other hiker.
Looking pretty much due west, with the trail wrapping out around the grassy slope.
Looking northwest from another spot.
Looking mostly south towards southern Gilroy and Hollister. Still a lot of farm land here.
Lines! Probably cattle trails; the ranch still hosts tons of yellow-white cattle. We saw only one up close, and she and Boost eyed each other suspiciously as we walked by. (But you can see how dry things still are. The lack of rain is becoming an omnipresent topic of discussion here.)
I almost missed my meeting anyway. Got back to the car and discovered that my camera was no longer in my pocket. The last place I remembered having it was at a pair of memorial benches where I sat to give Boost a drink, and it had been a bit uncomfortable so I reached back and adjusted it a little. Those benches had to be at least half a mile from the parking lot, maybe more. I confirmed for sure that the camera wasn't in my pack or other pockets, and looked for my friend's cell phone number but didn't find it, so was in a bit of a panic. Put Boost's leash back on and headed towards the trail to go back.
Now, here's the good luck-- I commented to the park folks (who had just finished working on repairing a water valve by the gate) that the reason I came back early was to leave for a meeting and now I don't have my camera, just to ask them how far back they thought the benches were--and the ranger had a truck, and offered to race back and look for it. Off he went in a cloud of dust, came back the same way in probably a lot less than 5 minutes, and I was on my way! Had I gotten back 5 minutes later, the crew would've been gone and I'd have had to go back for the camera myself. Whew! I was a little late as a result, but all's good.
Two days in a row of hiking with some uphill after so much time off was a little much (even though it was only about 4.5 miles today with mild ups & downs)--the muscle in my right front thigh is sore, and ditto for my left ankle front, I noticed after my post-meeting nap. So I bagged on class for Boost for tonight and I promise not to go hiking tomorrow. Maybe just a short walk. Generally feeling good, though; it is SO nice to be back out in the hills!