a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Successes and Santa Teresa Park

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Successes and Santa Teresa Park

SUMMARY: Went up a hill today with the dogs.

Really, it has been 2 months since I last posted here? Jeez. Hard to find good bloggers these days.

This morning was filled with successes.  I woke up not too late or too early... 7:30ish. That's good.  I didn't have a dizzy spell first thing. That's very good.  Got up, loaded up the car (put the crates back in that have been out since my trip to Wyoming... OMG almost a month ago!).

Chip hopped up into the crate with no fuss or bother! Huge success!  I've been trying to give him of opportunities to just get into and out of the car while I'm doing other stuff in the car or garage, sometimes feeding  him in the car, too.  Not huge numbers of opportunities, but some--and, yay, if he's back to his original willing-to-go self, that is a huge huge huge success.

Just taking the dogs somewhere for a hike is a success: Haven't been physically able, or mentally prepared, or too busy, or all three.  And this was a particular challenge--haven't been hiking up Coyote Peak since the Merle Girls died, and for the first time felt eager to do it with the new dogs, not overwhelmed with grief.

We went to Santa Teresa County Park.  Like a comfortable, familiar old rec room that I'd not visited much in the past 3 years. Morning was overcast and a bit foggy as we arrived at the entrance.

The road curves up through the park. My turkey feather came from here.

Parked in the main parking area, the Pueblo Day Use Area.  Lots and lots of parking. And I don't have to pay in county parks because last year I bought my lifetime senior pass.

As we drove in, we passed a flock of wild turkeys in the meadow below the road (those black spots, you know?). Sun still wasn't out, so it looked like a perfect morning for a hike.

No matter the season, day of the week, time of day, or weather, one nice thing about the park is that the parking lots are almost never even close to full, which means the trails won't be crowded, which means a nice, relaxing, peaceful hike.

Waiting patiently for danged Human Mom to stop taking photos and get us out of our crates.

Reminders of my old dogs pop up all the time. The bag of treats I grabbed for the hike still has the winning raffle tag with Boost's name on it. Success: I remember that fondly and wistfully and did not sit down on the pavement and start bawling.

Yay! On the trail! Sun is coming out, but still hazy enough and cool enough to be a pleasant walk.

Plus, many fascinating poops.  (Deer?)

Zorro seemed stunned that the seasonal pond was bone dry. He's never been here before, so maybe Chip said something to him.

Come ON cool it with the photos already! Another success was with passing dogs on the trail. Fortunately it's a wide trail; I'd get them both on a short leash hold off to one side of the trail (avoiding foxtails and poison oak) and give them treats as long as they weren't barking and making a fuss. They were both perfect except just once, last dog on our way down, when Zorro tried to jump Chip. I don't know what triggers that, but I was prepared and managed to keep Z away from C and then they were both calm again. This is wonderful, means  it won't be so terrible walking them when other dogs are around.

Aha! Can already see the radio tower at the top of Coyote Peak, rising from the remaining morning fog. Means that we're maybe halfway up already.  Feeling good--between knees, hip, back, and so on, I just wasn't sure whether I'd be able to get up the peak. I'm a wee bit tired but nothing I can't manage. Hooray!

Gate to keep cattle where they belong. This is new since I last hiked here--the park allows them to graze on the nonnative grass with the expectation that native plants and wildflowers will do better without that competition.

As we near the top, the first cattle that we've seen (those black specks, you know?).  Dogs were interested but not overly so. Other than cattle, mostly we saw people on bikes in tree-climbing gear coming up the hill, and a few people with their dogs.

At the top of Coyote Peak!  Revealing on the trail the downside of cattle grazing...

Wonderful view from up here, but the air quality was not good, so it's mostly haze.

"Haze." Or whatever. Over the city of San Jose. However, I can see MUTT MVR in the parking lot below! You probably can't... but maybe, if you look full screen. A bit above and left of the center of the picture.  It's only a mile hike, winding around the hillside, but over 500 feet up.

The highest peak in the background is Mount Umunhum. There's an old radar tower up there, the only thing left of the radar tracking city that used to be there, where military families lived and worked. Umunhum has been closed for something like 35 years, and today its remodeled mountaintop is open to the public for the first time, but only by reserved seats on shuttles for a tour. Which I have. So I'll be there later in the day.  Tomorrow, it'll be completely open.

Success! Made it to the top! Didn't have to stop and rest for long periods! Legs doing pretty good!  The first photo for my Coyote Peak Portraits in over 3 1/2 years.  There's Mount Hamilton with Lick Observatory in the background... if only it weren't so hazy, you could see the white domes there.

There's a wonderful sign at the top that points out things of interest so you can match them up with reality--but, as you can see over the top of the sign, TOO DARN HAZY to see much of anything. Still, nice view, nice place to sit and contemplate.

This represents the first time I've tried taking photos with the old smartphone that my sister gave me. Figured out how to use it (mostly) and figured out how to get them off the phone onto the computer. The final success for the morning!

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