Manless Hiking at Russian Ridge

Posted by on Jan 5, 2013

Today I took a long hike. Randy is away visiting relatives so I went on my own…manless hiking. I had invited some lady friends and my sister but I guess they couldn’t get rid of their men because no one else decided to join me. Of course, they may have been working or they may have not wanted to go hiking on the top of the Santa Cruz Mountains in an impending storm. Either way it ended up I went alone except for my NEX5 camera. This was ok. First I went to the local surplus store and bought a lightweight rain jacket. I was going to wear my big heavy one but if it didn’t rain I would be stuck with a big heavy jacket to carry around, not the greatest thing when you’re hiking.

View of Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve

View of Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve

I decided to go to Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve. Randy and I had been there the previous weekend and I like the various trails there. When I got out of my car at the parking lot I realized that it was cold, very cold. So I grabbed my gloves and my ear warmer thingie and I put on a fleece vest, then a fleece jacket, then my new rain jacket. Luckily I already had on good warm hiking socks and my Goretex hiking boots. I stuck my phone and my keys in my pockets, grabbed my camera and off I went.

Hiking by yourself makes you think about things that you wouldn’t if you were with other people. I kept thinking how cool it would be if I saw a mountain lion, or a bobcat, or even some coyotes. So while I was walking I kept my eye out for one of these awesome creatures. Being an underwater photographer, I knew that sometimes there is some cool creature behind you giggling while you’re taking a picture of yet another starfish, so I turned around and looked behind me once in awhile, but there was never a mountain lion. Which was probably a good thing because if it was behind me I wouldn’t notice until I was lion food. See, strange things I think about when I’m alone.

I walked for approximately 2 miles (I didn’t know this until I read the map in the trail brochure when I got home) and finally decided to turn back when the trail went into some brush and trees and I decided that it was a perfect spot for the mountain lion to ambush me. It was a good time because it was starting to sprinkle which made me happy I took the NEX5 and not the D300 camera because the NEX5 fits inside my jacket where I can keep it dry. Although it didn’t sprinkle much or very hard, instead of sticking to the Bay Area Ridge Trail that I came out on, I decided to take a short cut up and over one little (cough, cough) hill back to the parking lot. The short cut went up the hill and back down the other side. Yes, up the hill…the steep hill. I think the young couple that passed me were going to call 911 for a minute when they heard me panting at the top. But I made it, and back down to the parking lot.

So I survived a manless hike. I didn’t get eaten by a wild animal, although I did hear coyotes in the distance which was cool, and I didn’t have a heart attack. And it was a beautiful gloomy day with the sky dark and thick clouds rolling in over the ocean. When I got home I rewarded myself with a piece of See’s candy and a cup of coffee with a lot of Bailey’s in it. And now I have a fire in the fireplace, some interesting new images on my website and I can relax and think about mountain lions.

Maybe I’ll go back tomorrow.

I’ve put a few images from my hike on my Recent Images page.

 

BTW…While I was walking I noticed quite a bit of this stuff along the trails.

Poison Oak in the Winter

Poison Oak in the Winter

I saw some people stop and look at it and it made me wonder how many people know what this is… Well I’m going to tell you what it is just like I told them. It’s poison oak. And even though it isn’t covered with shiny green or red leaves it will still give you a nasty itch if you touch it. So don’t go tromping through it to get to the other side, or cut off a piece to fight off mountain lions or use as kindling for your campfire; you’ll regret it.

Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve is part of Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, www.openspace.org.