Wildflower Hike

Karen and Dylan weren’t able to join me on Monday for our walk. Instead I hiked the Quicksilver trail on my own in search of wildflowers. I hoofed it up the hill and got my heart rate going, but I also enjoyed the opportunity to stop several times along the way.

The hills, parched and dry, are a worrying site this early in the year. Most of the grass along the trail’s edge is golden brown instead of green.

dry grass along the quicksilver trail

View of Silicon Valley from the Almaden Quicksilver Trail

Here and there, though I spotted tiny dots of color. It stands to reason that wildflowers native to our region are able to withstand the drought.

Here’s a sample:

variety of wildflowers

Santa Clara County wildflowers


This reminds me of a delicate orchid

assorted wildfowers 2

I also passed several happy pooches enjoying the trail. A few of them stopped for a photo-op, but they were more interested in walking and playing.

blonde dog on the trail

Cutie-patootie number one

dogs on the trail

Cutie-patootie number two

Birds flew in and out of the dry brush, camouflaging well among the branches.

bird at quicksilver

Can you see me now?

Half way down the hill, I heard a cacophony of birds in one tree, clearly distressed.  Here’s a sample:

I strained to see what I assumed was a predator, moving the lens of my camera back and forth. In the split second it took to adjust my eyes, I spotted the hawk. Just as quickly it flew away, a jay hot on its tail. My reflexes just weren’t fast enough.

Steller's Jay

Steller’s Jay

On the other hand, I’m pretty sure I spotted a Who from the beloved book Horton Hears a Who!  That, my friend, made my day.


Who-ville? Who knows.

Goofing Off


Selfie with Silicon Valley in the background

It’s a holiday in the US today, more specifically President’s Day.  The boys are out of school, Mike’s home from work and the sun is shining.

We desperately, desperately, desperately need the rain and this is the month we get the most of it.  That said, it’s hard not to enjoy such a clear, bright warm day.

We hiked at Almaden Quicksilver, and enjoyed the bits of green along the trails edge thanks to some recent rain.  The California Poppies are up as well.  We hiked mid-day, a terrible time for decent photos, but I hope to go back soon to snap some shots while the poppies are still in bloom.

In case you think I’m a complete deadbeat, I did a lot of digging, pruning, weeding and planning over the weekend and will share more with you later in the week.

See you then!

orange poppies

California Poppies (October 2013)

Hiking the Quicksilver Trail

Karen and Dylan

Hiking Buddies

We officially launched our back-to-school hiking season today along one of the beautiful Quicksilver trails.  It was a perfect fall day! I hike with my friend Karen, and her sweet dog, Dylan during the school year.  With four children between us, we rarely find time for these hikes in the summer.  It’s good to be back.

Dylan was so happy to see me, that he climbed in my lap and prepared to stay there…all 58 pounds of him. Dogs have an innate ability to make you feel loved. I adore him! He was also happy to be back on the trail with his senses working in overdrive.

Almaden Quicksilver

Almaden Quicksilver boasts a vast web of trails throughout Almaden Valley, a suburb in Silicon Valley. Once home to Quicksilver Mines, it’s now a 4,152-acre county park “encompassing several historic remains, including abandoned towns, cemeteries, old equipment, and mine entrances.”

Hiking Trail

Almaden Quicksilver Hiking Trail

We’ve had no measurable rain for months, so the trails are a dry, brown hue. Though I love the verdant green winter and spring days, there is something magical about this time of year.  Evergreen shrubs and trees cast shadows on the well-worn trails. Patches of dried bramble shelter rabbits, lizards and birds. The soft rustling adds to the experience.

popcorn like flowers going to seed

Flowers going to seed or popcorn on the vine

Just as I bemoaned the fact that we’d not seen deer for a while, we spotted some near the head of the trail. Their legs blend in with the dried grass. I took my eyes off of them to adjust my camera, and they seemed to momentarily disappear.  My heart sings a little when I get a close glimpse of them. Wildlife continues to flourish in the heart of Silicon Valley.

A pair of deer at trail head

pair of deer

Always on the alert for predators

Halloween Countdown

Man of La Mancha pumpkin

Man of La Mancha Pumpkin
Don Quixote and Sancho Panza