a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Hikies

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


SUMMARY: A long, new walk with the dogs, plus a hill.
This Wednesday is not wordless.

Wednesday evenings are the Sierra Club Singles hikes. During winter months, that's a brisk 5-mile walk through the sidewalks and byways of residential Palo Alto. I find it hard to drag myself on a 30-40 minute drive (one way) to walk, on the flat, in the suburbs. I can do that here. Granted, I don't, usually, and there's something to be said for companionship.

But now I know (from boot camp the other day) that there are decent places to walk up and down Communication Hill. And it's only about a mile and a half from my house. So--walk there (on the flat), go up & down a bit, walk back--voila, should be 5 miles or so!

So that's what the Merle Girls and I did for exercise today.

I had looked up the moonrise time and hoped that I'd be able to see it with a sunsetty glow from on the hill, but nope, that didn't work out. Still, we got in a good walk (4.22 miles the route we took per http://mapmyrun.com), about 300 feet cumulative uphill, and a bit of a surprise, too.

Starting out, we caught the beautiful near-sunset golden glow on the trees lining the street. Boost didn't care: She kept trying to turn right, which is where the park is where we ALWAYS go to play frisbee when we come up here. Took several blocks for her to stop trying.
Another half a mile, and we had to wait 2 or 3 minutes at this huge and very busy intersection. Communication  Hill--our goal--is visible below the traffic lights.
Yet another half a mile, and we're getting really close now, and the sun's glow has just vanished from the hillside.  The road I have my eye is the one straight ahead, which wraps around to the right and then to the left behind the houses at the top. Between the upper and lower houses, you can just see the line of the walking path that goes gradually up acros the hillside. Also part of my plan.

Oooh, fancy fancy houses wot they've done bilt on this yere hill!

Getting darker every minute. I took only my cheap point and shoot, which is not happy in the dark. And Tika just wouldn't hold still. (And Boost thinks, not with the dang photos AGAIN--).

We started up the hill, and halfway I could see the Santa Cruz mountains making stunning layers of blue. Cheap camera makes it very grainy.

Looking back along the road we've walked up, the sunset starts coloring the sky.
I'm intending to follow the roads and walkways, but suddenly notice that the unbuilt part of the hill is grassy and not off limits. So we climb up the hill to the fence line and follow the ridge up to the top. This is such a pleasant surprise--we're far enough away from everyone and everything that I let the dogs off leash for a few minutes as we walk. This looks back down the fenceline. Off in the left distance, that huge green area? The future Martial Cottle Park, and Taj MuttHall  is on the right side of that somewhere.
Cheap camera, really grainy, but the sky is glowing over the city lights as the come on below us.
I *am* on communication hill--and there's the big communication tower.  We're at the top of the ridge, now, also a surprise to be able to get this high. The dogs are happily sniffing and the sky is lovely. In a couple of months, this will all start going to foxtails, but right now, what a glorious hidden retreat with tightly crowded buildings just below us.

We walk as close to the tower as we can before a deep ravine intervenes.
Still no moon visible, and it's getting dark, so we wind around the hill a bit, up and down 100 stairs, and head home. Partway there, the moon finally makes herself visible. Crappy camera.


  1. Doesn't matter about the camera (though I know you are sad it didn't depict exactly what you saw)...the important thing is we all got to go along on a pretty spectacular walk! Thanks!!

  2. Totally agree with Dawn. Love hidden urban gems like this. I especially love that photo third from the bottom.

  3. Thanks. Me, too; I was staring at that one this morning again.