Sunday, May 3, 2009

Come take a hike with me...

along one of the trails in Fremont Older Open Space Preserve. This place is one of 26 preserves owned and maintained by the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, an organization that was created in 1972 by a voters' initiative here in the greater San Francisco Bay area. Out of the 26 preserves 24 of them are open to the public, consisting of 57,000+ acres of riparian or marshland, mountains and foothills. Most or all of these preserves usually link to other county or state parks around Santa Clara County. Fremont Older OSP is located in the Cupertino foothills and has 739 acres totaling about 14 miles of trails. I took the most popular trail up to a 900 ft. hilltop called Hunters Point that gives one a beautiful view of the Santa Clara valley. Beginning elevation is around 300 ft. and the trail is only about 1 mile from the parking lot to Hunters Point, but it is a 600 foot climb in elevation, yet the trail is well maintained. A lot of the area was mostly "hayfield," plenty of open space and rolling hills. And at this time of year (late March) the rolling hills were fairly green. But the coolest thing was seeing the fields of wildflowers. Below was a field of lupine that caught my eye. To see a larger image of any of the photos you can double click on them.

Fremont Older, a San Francisco newspaper editor in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, built a home on a couple of acres that is located on the Preserve property. There is some really neat history about Fremont and Cora's estate, called Woodhills. You can go here to learn more about this colorful couple.
As I rounded a corner along the trail I came across a portion of fencing, and saw this lizard sunning himself. I was surprised he/she didn't go running off like most little lizards do. But he/she kept his ground and I got a couple of halfway decent shots of him/her.
As I continued uphill I was able to catch a glimpse of what I would get a better view of once I would get to my destination - Hunters Point. This photo was taken about 2/3 of the way up to Hunters Point. I'm looking out through a little bit of haze of downtown San Jose, the green foothills to the east, and a part of the Mt Hamilton range.
At this time of year, everywhere I looked I saw wildflowers in abundance. Here is some kind of clover mixed in with some lupine and another wildflower I haven't yet identified. I just love those pink, blue and purple colors together nestled in the green grass.
Here is another field of wildflowers, mostly clover.
And again, one of the wildflowers I cannot identify. Any guesses anyone?
Once I got to the top of Hunters Point I certainly wasn't disappointed. I was amazed how far east, north, and south I could see. The photo below is much like the previous photo of San Jose, the east foothills, and the Mt Hamilton range. This was looking east.
When I looked north I could see Moffett Field which is now part of NASA-Ames, located in Mountain View. The hangars are an excellent landmark around here. These buildings used to house blimps before and during WWII. In this photo you can also see the bay and the east foothills.
As I looked just another mile or two north of Moffett Field I could pick out another landmark by the bay. Those tents are part of Shoreline Amphitheatre. Behind and to the left of those tents is Shoreline Lake, and that is the San Francisco Bay behind those tents. This is also the southern portion of Palo Alto Baylands, one of my favorite places to bird, especially for marsh and water birds.
Again, looking east, I was able to get a decent photo of Lick Observatory on top of Mount Hamilton -- another landmark here in the bay area. These last several shots were taken with my Canon 70-300mm lens.
As I started my descent I came across more wildflowers. You probably have noticed I don't have any birds in this post. Well, I heard a number of birds that day, but the ones I heard were mostly in thick stands of trees. As for other wildlife I did see many butterflies. But none of them ever sat still long enough for me to get a picture. I'm not positive, but I think they were all Painted Ladies flitting around all the beautiful wildflowers. As I approached a much shadier area I came across this fern located near a tree.
These little orangey flowers, I think, are globe mallow. These are usually found in dry, sunny spots. I find this cute little plant a bit invasive. Areas of my yard where it hasn't been "weeded" lately seems to have quite a bit of these cute little "flowers."
I'm not sure, but I think this plant is called Indian Warrior. Can anyone verify this or give me the correct name for it? It sure is pretty.
This is a wild hyacinth. They were all over the trail. This is my favorite photo of about half a dozen or more shots I took of this plant.
Anyone want to try to identify this one? It sure was pretty.
And this one is my prize. This is a Calfornia blue-eyed grass. Isn't it beautiful? As with so many other wildflowers, this was also abundant, and needless to say quite attractive.
This is a group of the blue-eyed grasses seen on my way back down the trail.
Then as I was about to the end of the trail I saw this plant located about 75 feet from the parking lot. I'm not really positive that I have correctly identified it, but I think it's called Mule Ears. Take note of the leaves on this plant. The flowers themselves kind of look like a sunflower. Notice the flowers that already had bloomed, how brown and dried-out they look. Their heads hang much like a sunflower would.
Well, thanks for going with me on this hike; I hope you enjoyed it almost as much as I did. Be sure to double click on the photos to see a larger image. And check out the links I provided. They are quite informative about the rich history found around this part of the country.


Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Thanks for allowing me to join you on that hike,it was most enjoyable.The various wildflowers are so pretty.

Linda in Erie said...

Really nice hike and photos. I'm glad they do set land aside for parks and preserves. I think the flower you are trying to name is some kind of vetch. I remember it well when I lived in northern California and always called it vetch. How I knew that I don't recall.

Sorry to hear about the Sharks. I thought they were going to be real contenders for the Stanley Cup. The Penguins are still in it (for now) but lost their first game of the second series. That Ovechkin (sp)may ruin it for our Penguins.

Leedra said...

Pretty flowers, we are having so much rain here it is hard to find a quick moment to get out and take pics.

Leedra’s Photos For FunLeedra’s Greeting CardsPhotography By Leedra

Mary C said...

Thanks, Ruth. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Thanks, Linda. I looked up vetch in my daughter's guide (Peterson's Pacific States Wildflowers), and I do believe you are correct. Which vetch, I still haven't totally identified yet, but at least you put me on the right track. Thanks so much. Yes, we thought the Sharks would have done much better in the playoffs, but I guess it just wasn't meant to be this year. So far, so good for the Penguins; I think I'll root for them for Eastern Conference Champs. ;o)

Leedra - it sounds like the whole eastern section of the country is dealing with a lot of rain. Even we (here in Calif) have seen a little rain and plenty of clouds and humidity since last Friday. And that's unusual for us this time of year. But nobody's complaining since we are sorely in need of more moisture.


Current skin is MC Winter 08 and designed by Red.
Best viewed on Firefox at 1024x768, larger or widescreen.