Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Trekking: Sprig Day Use Area

Thinking of a new segment here since I don't really have any stories about work right now. (still not gainfully employed) I enjoy hiking. I don't get out there nearly enough mostly because I find it hard to motivate myself to actually leave the house. But when I do strap on the boots and fill up my camel back, I enjoy the experience, and wonder why I don't do it more often.

This trip was to the Sprig Day Use Area of the Santa Clara County Park system. This day use area is mostly used by picnic-ers and equestrians. No bikes and dogs (off leash) allowed. There are only a few trails here, but for the enthusiasts it does connect to Mt. Madonna County Park.

I did a loop of the two main trails: The Merry Go Round and Ridge Trails, with a jaunt down the Old Mine Trail to a surprise and the Tie Camp Trail which connects the Merry Go Round to the Ridge Trail.

This little park in situated 5 miles west of Gilroy in the east side of the Coast Range (Santa Cruz) Mountains on Hwy 152. Blink and you miss the entrance. The trail starts out in the Oak woodlands. The typical rolling hills you see around the south bay. Big oak trees and bay laurels with thigh high grasses and wild flowers, and of course the icky stuff like thistle and poison oak. As you climb though, the view gets prettier. Ever once in a while you need to turn around on your way up to see the valley open up beneath you.

Also, because this place is in the coast range... Redwoods!! The higher you climb, the more little pockets of redwood trees. It is very cool to go from open space with oak trees to being engulfed in a redwood forest canopy, and then back again.

On this trip, I passed only one other hiker. So if you want to feel alone, this may be the place.

When I got to my intersection to start back down the mountain, there was a side trail called The Old Mine Trail. A short there and back again of 0.4 miles, so I decided, what the hey. My map said there is a scenic lookout, might as well go see what it is. This trail was not very maintained and is overgrown at the end, but if you are taller than me, you can get better pictures. And when I got to the end, I saw this.

a cool little lake!

The loop I did was about 4 miles and took me a little over 2 hours. I saw butterflies and quail and lizards and of course flies. You aren't hiking outdoors unless there are flies. One can easily spend the entire day here and hike into Mt. Madonna and back, and parking is free!

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