We did this four mile out and back hike during a small gap between record breaking winter storms. There was snow, fog, mud, many ordinary cows and one very furious one. The first waterfall, Ravine Falls, was very pretty and the eponymous Phantom Falls lived up to its name. Will try again sometime. This is close to Oroville, California in the North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve.
A two mile Shell Ridge Open Space loop in Walnut Creek. This follows Fossil Hill Trail to Indian Creek Trail, then loops back via the Briones to Mount Diablo Regional Trail and finally Jeep Trail. The Jeep Trail portion was to avoid getting the dog wet and it failed miserably thanks to a hidden muddy wallow.
Today, for no great reason, I decided to see if it's possible to walk the full perimeter of Treasure Island. I parked at the Treasure Island Museum and headed north up the Avenue of the Palms. I've been here many times and it offers stunning views of San Francisco and both the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge. The path continues around the north of the island and then you need to work around a blocked off area to get back to the coast. The east side is less appealing with a lot of garbage along the path and a view of many barges and the Port of Oakland peeking out under the new section of the Bay Bridge. Finally I was fully thwarted as the entire south west corner of the island is a mess of construction (and a rather unpleasant portable toilet staging area). I had to head inland all the way to 9th Street before cutting back over to the Avenue of the Palms. Overall I'm glad I tried but I can't recommend it.
Continuing myseries of local coronavirus hikes, Mount Davidson is the highest peak in San Francisco and this three mile hike takes you there from West Portal. Take Ulloa to Kensington and then cross Portola on the footbridge. Juanita takes you to one of the Mount Davidson trails and up to the top. You can come back the same way, or follow Kensington all the way over to Taraval.
The cross at the top is a memorial to the Armenian Genocide and while most of Mount Davidson is a San Francisco park the area at the top is owned by the Council of Armenian-American Organizations of Northern California (due to a church/state separation lawsuit). It's a great spot to look (slightly) down on the Twin Peaks set who just think they've reached the top of San Francisco.
Summit Loop is a three mile hike around San Bruno Mountain, a 1,319 peak just south of San Francisco. For some reason, possibly a lack of desire to wrestle with bridges, it has become a family favorite for the first hike of the new year. Fantastic views and scenery at any time of the year, although it is especially good in the spring with all the wildflowers. I'm adding a fresh post on this hike as I noticed the GPS track is broken on the last one (I'll redirect that here) and I have a video of the hike to add as well (a little cloud focused, but it was that kind of day):
San Bruno Mountain State Park has outstanding views of San Francisco, the Pacific out to the Farallon Islands and much of the bay. We did the three mile summit loop (the wrong way round, San Bruno pros do it counter-clockwise).
This is the first time my Pixel 4 XL GPS has failed me. Sometimes it wanders a little off trail, but this time it took a completely unauthorized trip to a Home Depot before eventually snapping back to reality. I've included it here but unlike any other track I've uploaded you might not want to use this one (see the route on AllTrails instead, distance incorrect below). The really strange thing is that when I look at the trail in Google Earth there is a missing tile around where the GPS freaks out and Google Earth sends the route plunging down into outer space (because it's clamping to its elevation model but the stars under Sonoma are not as far away as they look?) See the screenshot above. Something is odd at Shiloh Ranch...
Double feature in Joshua Tree National Park. Barker Dam is just over a mile, a short loop that takes in rock art, the dam, and a nice mix of boulders and desert. Wall Street Mill is two miles out and back and the mill extracted gold to send to the US Mint in San Francisco.
Amazing 4.5 mile hike in the Mecca Hills Wilderness in Riverside County, California. You ascend a slot canyon with ladders of various difficulty helping you up and down along the way. There is a sunny section on a ridge at the top with views back to the Salton Sea and then you return along the wash at the bottom of Painted Canyon. A must do hike if you can handle a few ladders and are in the area.
Four and a half mile hike from Stone Creek Campground in Mount San Jacinto State Park to the ruins of a sawmill and back again. The mill is hidden but watch out for a yellow sign off the trail.
The campground was closed for the season when we arrived and a permit is required. We phoned the ranger station who said the trail was off limits and to come get a permit and discuss other hikes. After much discussion it turned out the concern was illegal parking near the campground and after promising to find legal parking and walk in we were allowed to complete the hike.
I don't have a GPS track for this one. Usually I download a GPX to Gaia GPS on my phone and use this to follow the trail. Traveling without a laptop I tried to do this from the AllTrails mobile app which wanted a paid upgrade. I have used AllTrails a fair bit so was happy to pay, but even after upgrading you can only download locally to AllTrails, the mobile app won't allow you to generate a GPX. I understand the commercial desire to lock people into their app, but I have used Gaia GPS for years an trust it to not drain my battery or otherwise cause problems when off the beaten track. AllTrails also won't let you copy and paste from hike descriptions (even ones with a long URL to check for road closures in them), and you can't export the route you took either (which I do from Gaia GPS to generate maps and elevation profiles for this blog). So I'll be cancelling that AllTrails subscription and have learned to get an export from a laptop and ignore the mobile app.
Saw a bobcat which is a first. Probably due to the trail being closed and quiet.
Pleasant 4.5 mile loop hike from the campground at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park in Sonoma. Head up Lower Bald Mountain Trail, hang a right onto Vista Trail and then return to the campground via Meadow Trail. The last part of the walk takes you past Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Earth Venus and Mercury on the Robert Ferguson Observatory's Planet Walk. This spaces the planets proportionally distant from the observatory and if you took a right on Brushy Peaks Trail you can reach Uranus, Neptune and (don't tell anyone) Pluto, the prospect of which really makes me feel sorry for the New Horizons probe.