“…the glory of our parklands is too precious to be sacrificed…Steps must be taken to protect our dearly won recreation lands…”~ J.D. Grant

Via Flickr:
Copyright © 2011 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

It looks a bit compressed in this view. Please click in the photo to view it larger.

Took a drive out to Grant Lake with Dali today and wandered around. It’s really pretty now. I don’t visit this park often enough.

D300s| Nikkor 17-35@ 17mm| f8| 1/500 sec| ISO 200| Manual Mode| Tripod

Mt. Umunhum and Bald Mountain

View of Mt. Hamilton, Woods Trail View by Deborah M. Zajac © All Rights Reserved.

Copyright © 2011 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday July 10, 2011

Since I’ve been training to hike up to Cloud’s Rest this August I’ve been hiking in the mountains that surround Santa Clara Valley. I’ve hiked to Mission Peak, Mt. Allison, and Black Mountain. I decided that I’d like to conquer Mt. Umunhum too. It is a mountain that lies to the south of me in the Santa Cruz Mountain Range.  Its name is from the Ohlone Indians that once called this valley home. It means “Resting place of the Hummingbird.”

It is a peak that has been a landmark, and barring marker to me since I moved to Santa Clara Valley in 1968. On top of Mt. Umunhum Summit sits a 5 story early-warning radar Station. Mt Umunhum was a former site used by Almaden Air Force that operated from 1958 to 1980. Years ago the county acquired the land for Open Space and is in the process of cleaning up the summit so we all can use the space for exercise and leisure. I hoped I would be able to get up there.  This was my goal to conquer/summit Mt. Umunhum. I was in good company too. Heman joined me for this hike, and I was hiking it sans hot tea, caffeine of any sort, and with only 4 hours sleep!

Mt.Umunhum seen from Bald Mountain by Deborah M. Zajac.© All Rights Reserved.

Our route started on the Woods Trail which is aptly named. It is shaded by large trees, and the first 3 miles is mostly flat, with some gentle ups and downs. I moved really fast here.

At Barlow Road we turned left.  You begin to climb straight-away on this fire road. You climb 800 ft in the space of 1 mile. There are fewer shade trees along this road, but there are views of the canyon, and of the valley looking south.  Several Butterflies and I enjoyed the late-blooming Red Maids, and Brittlebush lining the road.

California Sister by Deborah M. Zajac ©. All Rights Reserved.
Red Maids, and Brittlebush by Deborah M. Zajac © All Rights Reserved.
Western Tiger Swallowtail by Deborah M. Zajac © All Rights Reserved.

The trail ends at Mt. Umunhum Road. Here I discovered the “No Trespassing” signs and warnings NOT to venture up to Mt. Umunhum’s summit.

Alas, it isn’t open yet, so we hiked up to the summit of Bald Mountain instead.

Turning left on Mt. Umunhum Road we followed it about 0.3 miles to the trail-head of Bald Mountain. This is an easy 0.7 mile trail to the summit. Also aptly named; this mountain has no shade, it’s a grassy summit.

Survey Marker on Bald Mountain by Deborah M. Zajac © All Rights Reserved.

The views are very nice in every direction. To the west you see Mt. Umunhum, and to the east the view is of Almaden Reservoir, and beyond.

Heman at Bald Mountain; eastern view by Deborah M. Zajac © All Rights Reserved.

It was a long hike. Best done in the morning during the warmer months. I liked the Woods Trail best for its shade, and the views.  Mt. Umunhum is still on my list to conquer. I’ll hike this route again when it’s open which I’ve read since doing this hike could be this fall.

Hike Stats:

11 miles

1800 ft elevation gain

4 hours 40 minutes total time

UPDATE: Reader Steven Christenson sends this KQED report on Mt. Umunhum


June Hiking Report

Photograph by Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved. Fawn

Descending Vista Point one morning I rounded a bend in the trail and stopped dead in my tracks. There 25ft away was this little fawn (see photo above). It’s mother was on the other side of the trail in the trees waiting for the fawn to cross the trail. Startled by hikers coming up the trail it had stopped then I happened along. It looked at me and headed in the opposite direction of its mother. Then timidly it crept up to this tree and watched me and its mother. It’s mother was not happy; she pranced and paced back and forth with worry. I wasn’t sure what I should do…wait and hope the mother crossed, or the fawn crossed, or just move on. I took a few quick photos. We hikers looked at each other wondering what would happen next then the Mother bounded up the hill the wrong way! Then the fawn sped down the hill into the bushes the wrong way! I continued down the mountain all the while hoping they’d reunite.

An anxious Doe!

Photography By Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

I hiked a lot of miles in June. My elevation gained totals are incredible. The total floored me  again when I added it up. I took a lot of neat wildlife and flower photographs while hiking in this park during the month of June, but these two photos are my favorites.

Just seven more weeks until the big hike to Yosemite’s Cloud’s Rest. I still am on track for successfully completing that hike.

JUNE Hiking Report

*6/2/2011- 8.15 miles, 2,170ft, 3h10m PG&E trail out & back

6/7/2011- 10 miles, 2,549 ft, 4h 33m  Rhus Ridge to Black Mt Trail out & Back

6/10-12/2011-  about 11 miles, at various parks and site around Sonoma Coastal area. Many parks were closed due to budget cuts so we had to drive to other locations to do any hiking.

6/16/2011- 8.15miles, 1,962ft, 3h 5m, PG&E out & back to Vista Point

**6/19/2011- 6.2miles, 2,197 ft, 3h, Mission Peak- Peak Trail the steep route

6/21/2011- 8.15miles, 1,962ft, 3h3m, PG&E trail out & back

6/25/2011-6.45 miles, 2,236 ft, 3h24m, Horse Heaven trail up, Peak Trail down- time to the top 2h4m

6/29/2011- 2.4m, 2,100ft, 1h20 mins. Horse Heaven Trail out & back

 June Total Feet Climbed


 June total Miles Hiked


*6/2/2011 total ft is average of 3 measurements

2123ft, 1962ft & 2427ft.

6/16/2011 time to Vista Point 1h34m! Fastest yet, even stopping to take photos!!!

** 6/19/2011 started ascent at 320Ft, Vineyard Drive

6/21/2011- start time 6:37a.m. Time @ Vista Point 8:13a.m. =1h40m

Nikon D300s| Nikkor 18-200mm VR| Induro CT213 Tripod

Juvenile Northern Pacific Rattlesnake

Via Flickr:
Copyright © 2011 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

Yesterday afternoon I hiked up to Black Mt. starting from a new to me trail-head. On the way down he was sunbathing on the side of the trail. Heman nearly stepped on him! He was about 2ft long, not too fat, and only had 4 rings on his rattle. I didn’t get all that close to him. I stayed on the other side of the fire road/trail.
About 1/2 mile from the end of my hike I saw another smaller one sitting on the side of the trail.
Yesterday afternoon was the day for wildlife. I saw a deer, a rabbit, 2 rattlers, and a hawk eating something. I couldn’t tell what it was I was too far away.

Nikon D300s| Nikkor 18-200mmVR @ 170mm| f10| 1/25 sec| ISO 200| Manual Mode| Hand-held
Hike details
Black Mt Trail via Rhus Ridge Trail
Total hike 10 miles
Total feet gained 2,549
Total time: 4h 33mins.
Average speed 2.2mph

Correction- Thanks to Correcamino for correctly Identifying this rattler for me!