Spent my Sunday morning doing this lovely hike! It only took just over an hour to complete the 2.83 mile loop at Huddart County Park (part of the San Mateo County Park system). The trail is predominantly wooded and pretty level. There are a few uphill/downhill sections but none too long or too steep. While there were other people on the trail, it wasn’t as crowded as some other hikes I’ve been on. Parking is pretty easy right by the trailhead. There is a $6 fee to enter the park at the gate. Unfortunately, no dogs allowed.
Yesterday, we went on another short hike in Rancho San Antonio County Park in Los Altos, CA. There is plenty of parking around and a lot of trails. We didn’t really plan this one out like the last one. We just kind of went to the park and started off down some trails until we decided we were done and turned back. We started at one of the parking lots and went down the Permanente Creek Trail, then onto the Lower Meadow Trail, then onto the Farm Bypass Trail until it connected to the Coyote Trail, then we followed that to the Wildcat Loop Trail. We basically started out just following the signs that directed us to the Wildcat Loop Trail. I’m not sure the exact milage of our hike but going out and back took about an hour and 45 minutes. Some parts were more wooded than others and there weren’t too many hills. We saw a couple of lizards and several squirrels. There were also little bridges along the trail crossing over some creeks. It was definitely a nice leisurely hike and I would like to go back to the park and explore some of the other many trails sometime, too!
My boyfriend and I are trying to start doing a Sunday Funday hiking routine. Every Sunday, or most, we are going to try to go on a short hike. Today’s hike was in Castle Rock State Park in Cupertino, CA. There were some rockier areas but the views were fantastic! I definitely recommend it. We took the Saratoga Gap Trail to Castle Rock Falls (we didn’t see the falls though, maybe dry this time of year?) and then switched to the Ridge Trail where they intersect to loop back around. It is about a 2.8 mile loop and with occasional stops for pictures, took us about an hour and 40 minutes to complete. The route is partially wooded with some exposed areas. In areas, the trail might be harder to traverse for people with mobility issues, but at the same time, you don’t need to be in incredible shape or anything to complete this and there are clearly marked trail posts along the way.
Parking can be a bit challenging, or at least it was today. There is a parking lot with an $8 parking fee, cash only. Or there is some street parking for no fee. Be sure not to park past the “no parking signs”. We saw a park ranger writing tickets for this. There is a bathroom of sorts at the parking lot but it isn’t anything fancy. Bring plenty of water!
I know I’m a bit late with this, I had a very busy day yesterday between volunteering at The Marine Mammal Center all day and going to a concert last night. There are now over 100 animals at the center! It’s crazy! I missed last week because I had some family in town and then I go in yesterday to find the patient population has over doubled.
First thing when I arrived yesterday was to help stuff meds into fish being prepared for the patients. Then everyone would sign out a pen and go feed. I signed out a pen that seemed simple enough- a free feeding California sea lion. When I arrived at the enclosure, I was met by a humongous adult sea lion. Most patients are babies, but the occasional adult will become injured or ill and need our help. The 2kgs of fish in the bucket should have tipped me off that he’d be a big one. I tossed a fish over the fence into the pool and he flopped in, displacing tons of water over the edge. I think it goes without saying that I quickly went in, tossed the rest of his breakfast in, and darted out. I wouldn’t want a big hungry sea lion coming out of the pool at me while I’m holding his food. There are at least two other very large adults as well.
Later in the day, at the 2 o’clock feed, I selected an enclosure that I soon found out had an even larger sea lion. We was sleeping in the sun outside the pool when I brought his food. I tried making some noise to wake him up, and I through a couple of fish over into his pool. He just looked over at me and then laid his head back down. I wasn’t about to go in there by myself. I recruited another person to come help and he splashed him with a little water and through a couple more fish in and he finally went in the pool and gobbled them up, not without a loud barky growl first, though.
The elephant seals were adorable and kind of dumb as always. There are way more now. I was able to get one little tyke to start taking fish in the water; he had previously only been hand feeding on the pool deck. It’s crazy to see how some of them learn faster than others to eat fish in the pool and find them under water while others can’t even get the concept of swallowing down!
I tube fed and restrained a couple. That never get’s old! We also had some ellies to weigh. That is somewhat easier than weighing sea lions. Sea lions need to be put in a carrier on a cart to be taken to the scale. Ellies are so big and dopey that you just hoist them into a wheelbarrow and push them to the scale like it’s a big stroller. They aren’t agile enough to get out.
Can’t wait to see what next week brings! We’re only getting busier and busier. I love it!
This video is so touching. Jane Goodall is, and always will be, a hero of mine. In this video, a chimp named Wounda is released back into the wild after a stint at the Jane Goodall Institute’s Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center. I’ll warn you now, it’s a tear jerker so have those tissues ready. Just after being released, Wounda turns around to give Jane a big hug. I don’t know if I’m more jealous that Dr. Goodall got to hug a chimp or that the chimp got to hug frickin’ Jane Goodall!
The Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center cares for around 160 chimpanzees at any given time. To support the center or learn more, check out the Jane Goodall Institute’s website.
Here are some pictures I took of the wild California Sea Lions who lay out on the floating docs at San Francisco’s Pier 39. These are from Labor Day Weekend 2013. It was pretty crowded, both for the sea lions on the docs and for the tourists on the pier. But it is definitely a cool site to see if you are ever in the area! There are also food places and shops on the pier and Fisherman’s Wharf is a short walk away.
I have very recently started volunteering at The Marine Mammal Center and while there aren’t a lot of animals yet, I am already really enjoying it. This past week the center received its first new patient of baby season, a Harbor Seal they have named Puck. I won’t be volunteering with the Harbor Seals, they are kept in a different area from the Elephant Seals and Sea Lions because they are more fragile, but here is an article about the first pup of the season: It’s a Girl! Meet Our First Pup of 2014!