8 June 2021: A little hike among the Oaks and Manzanitas

After all the sitting while driving, and visiting and eating, it seemed prudent to move the body on a day when I had nothing scheduled. I chose St. Joseph’s Hill because it requires only a short drive to the trail head in Los Gatos, I am familiar with it having hiked there since 1995, and there are plenty of people around in case I suddenly get ‘old’ on the trail. The round trip is 3.9 miles. The  elevation at the peak is around 1250 feet, but the trail head seems like it is at least at 300 feet of elevation–but let us say that it was a decent hike.

No number of pictures can capture such an experience, but here are glimpses. First the closely set stand of oaks (perhaps from one root system?) around a bend in the trail, so familiar to me:

There is also much scrub oak and poison oak throughout St. Joseph’s Hill.

I always look forward to seeing the bare, red and twisted bark of the Manzanita bushes (‘little apple’ in Spanish):

The fruit of the bush resembles a small apple, but don’t eat it!

A drawback to this trail is its proximity to a busy highway, State Route 17 that connects San Jose with the City of Santa Cruz, over the Santa Cruz Mountains. (The last big ‘quake in the SF Bay Area was centered in these mountains, not far from Santa Cruz). I turned off my hearing aids to deaden the sound of traffic, heard mostly at the lower elevations.

The concrete structure on the left of the highway is the spillway from Lexington Dam.

The are several places where large eucalyptus trees dominate, but these are not native and, although I loved them in my childhood and youth, I now see them as interlopers. And, they are dangerous in fires, being full of oil.

As befits a ‘day off’, on the way home, I bought a lunch of fresh spring rolls from Pho Spot, took a nap, then a shower/shave, and prepared this journal entry.

Now I can look forward to a dinner prepared by Ken for me and his two daughters, Sydney and Sonya.

Life is good.

Here is the next journal entry

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