a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: New Year's Morning Hike

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

New Year's Morning Hike

SUMMARY: Two aging, out-of-condition gals and a border collie.

With my foot injury followed by my back misery, I've not gone hiking up a hill in several months. Therefore, neither have the Merle Girls.

Tika with her heart disease, arthritis, meds, and out-of-condition body (any or all of the above; not sure which is the largest contributing factor) has been doing barely OK on our daily walks on the flat now that I'm up to 2 or more miles a day.

I wasn't sure whether she could make it up Coyote Peak at Santa Teresa Park at all, let alone the additional miles that we'd usually hike to get there.  So we started in the parking lot a third of the way up the mountain--so only 600 feet to climb instead of 1000--and started the 1-mile trip up.

It looks so close from the parking lot.

In the shade, the cold chilled through to the bone, so I began all bundled up.

I estimated that temps sat in the low 40s (4.4C-ish) until I noticed some of the leaves along the trail. Yes, that's frost.

We left the parking lot about 8:30.

I let Tika take her sweet time and sniff at anything that she wanted to sniff at. She did quite a bit of it.

Time changes all things.  What's wrong with the following photo? Hint: There's only one dog forging ahead and keeping tension on the leash. For many years, this view has always included two.

Tika stayed alongside or lagged a bit, her leash hanging loose. A clear sign for Tika that all is not perfect.

California's 2013 has been the driest year on record since they started keeping track in the 1800s.  And not just by a little bit, either.  For example, San Jose's rainfall for the year was about 4 inches, which is only about half of the previous driest year on record--and about a quarter of an average year's rainfall. And the long-range forecast has no precipitation, either. The hills, which are normally green at this time of year, aren't.

This pond partway up Coyote Peak should be full at this time of year, but it's bone dry.

It's a little scary.

Dry, dry, dry grass everywhere.

We paused at one trail junction for a little drinkie and rest. The peak's antennas tease us ahead.

Boost was pretty sure that something interesting was hiding in these rocks. She streeeeeeetched and streeeetched.

And here we are, at the summit! Yay!

They really shouldn't let people go into our parks unless they can pass a test in which (a) they can identify a garbage can and (b) they can explain what it's used for.

Spread along the ground here: Two sandwich wrappers, one empty chip bag, one candy bar wrapper, several water bottle caps. Makes me crazy. So I picked all that up and tossed it.

Now let's move on to the second bench. How unfortunate--a gorgeous view, a beautiful park, well-maintained trails, and not a garbage can in sight  just when someone wants to throw in a banana peel or a snack bag!  (And I'm sure that it would have been far too onerous for them to carry them down in whatever conveyance they used to carry up the items when they still had actual food in them.)

We actually got to the top about 9:25 (indicated by the time on my photos); I just forgot to take the watch shot. So about an hour to do a mile and 600 feet up. Not a great time, but I did want to let Tika set the pace. In fact, there were two places going up where she just kept churning those slow legs and I had to ask her to wait while I let the burning in my thighs subside. Definitely out of condition for uphill.

Looking west, Loma Prieta Peak with its radio towers rises on the south end of this range and Mount Umunhum with its controversial historic radar tower on the north end.

The traditional photo with Mount Hamilton, to the east, behind us. It surprised me immensely to discover that the bench on which I planned to perch my camera no longer existed, so I had to use a rock, meaning that we are about 30 feet to the left of the shrub by which we normally perch for this photo.

Heading back downhill. Quite a bit warmer in the sun, although the chill kept the edge off the temperature. I unzipped and took off the mittens, but the fleece stayed on.

Off towards the left in the distance is a flat open area--looks like a light-colored line about an inch wide here. That is, I believe, Martial Cottle Park, which is the 300-plus-acre park being developed behind my house. Wave to me!

Merle Girls

And here we are, back in the parking lot, and it's time to drop off the girls at home and head for my first party of the day--don't even need to change or shower, as it's a post-marathon party at a friend's house, come as you are after the race!

Later--a nap (I did wake up early, after all), THEN shower and change and head to the 2nd party of the day, up in the hills. I took both cameras, just in case something like this happened while I was there--and it did.

What a lovely day it has been, filled with activity, beautiful views, good friends, and wonderful food, most of which I successfully avoided eating (soon to be told: The DietBet story).

Happy New Year to all.

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