Climbing El Sombroso and Bald Mountain

Road zig zagging up to the top which is the high point at the upper left of the photo

Road zig zagging up to the top which is the high point at the upper left of the photo

Type of hike: Out and Back

Difficulty: 6 – Route is entirely on old road, but steep in places

Trail grade: A bit of a climb at first followed by about a 700 foot decent down to where the Baldwin Trail joins the Woods Trail.  After crossing  Rincon Creek and Guadalupe Creek, the trail climbs from about 1700 feet to 3000 feet at the top of El Sombroso.

Trail use: A few people… more when we joined up with Woods Trail

Highest elevation: ~3,008 at top of El Sombroso.  We parked at 2,328′.

Total climbing: 2,603′ but that included climbing a hundred feet or so to get up Bald Mountain.

Round trip distance: 12.1 miles including 1.4 miles round trip to Bald Mountain

How long: About 4 hrs 30 minutes

Quality of views: Pretty awesome… gotta be at least a 9.  The top of El Sombroso was disappointing though.  Hard to see anything because of all the brush.  But there were places where there were views of the entire Bay Area … and then there are almost constant views of Mt. Umunhum.

Weather conditions when we did it: Sunny, 70 degrees-ish, mostly clear ‘cept for some haze

Red tape: None

Maps we used: Internet, Google Earth, Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve

Water: None – bring what you need.  There are a couple creek crossings so I guess you could pump and filter if you wanted

Restrooms: At parking lot.  Restroom was wonderfully clean

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Parking: In a lovely parking lot off Mt. Umunhum Road

How to get there:  Starting at the intersection of Highway 17 and Highway 85, go south on 85 for about 2.5 miles and exit onto Camden Avenue and turn south (towards the mountains).  Go down Camden for about 2 miles and then turn right on Hicks Rd.  Follow Hicks Rd for about 7 miles, passing Guadalupe Reservoir, and up a large hill until you reach the Hicks and Mt Umunhum intersection.  Continue driving about 1.3 miles until a gate bars any more vehicular access up the road. Park here.

Now for a few of the details…

Select this link to go to lotsa pictures

This was an outing with Donna’s hiking group.  This included Joan, Anita, Judy, Tai, and Chris.  We all piled into the van for the trip to the trail head.

From the parking lot at the trailhead we decided to knock out Bald Mountain first so with lively legs we went the 0.7 miles over to the view point.  From there we had a lovely view of Guadalupe and Almaden Reservoirs.

After this short warm up, it was time to get started.

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This hike was a bit different from most of the hikes we’ve done in that it was entirely on road.  So for the most part we just walked and talked our way to the top of El Sombrosa.  There was quite a bit of walking though… so lotsa time for talking.  However, besides being long, the road was steep in places.  And of course all the heavy breathing had an impact on a the talking.

Anyway, we eventually arrived at the top.  Kinda weird top though.  Power lines ran right over the peak.  That and the fact that we had never left the road took some of the adventure out of the outing.  But the views were stunning.  And we were in good company.

We stopped for lunch at a road intersection near the top….  Checked out the views for a while… And then headed back the way we came.  On our way down, since we were now facing that way, it was very noticeable that we could see the van off in the distance, parked at the Bald Mountain parking lot.

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And all the while the cube at the top of Mt. Umunhum sat brooding above us.  The trail basically wraps around the eastern side of Mt. Umunhum so the cube was almost always visible.

It was a very pleasant outing.

Been Awhile, Huh?

Okay… I admit it… I’ve been kinda slackin’ with respect to keeping this blog up to date.  Been silence on the line for awhile… and before that there’s been a lot of Donna’s and my hiking posts… so not much variety unless you’re into the hiking scene.  Not saying that’s gonna end.  My next post will be about an outing that we did recently.  But that’s not all that’s been happening here at Casa Fogelquist.  So I’m gonna try and be better about posting more family stuff.

Just a few of the recent highlights from home:

  1. Spencer and I got our crops in.  So this year there are the usual tomato plants, plus a buncha peppers.  I’ve never done peppers before so this is gonna be a bit of an adventure.  We put in 13 tomato plants… Yeah… that’s quite a few tomatoes huh?  But now that I have a clue how to can, I guess I’m gonna be a canning maniac this year.  So we should be able to absorb the volume.

    Shortly after 'the planting'... all plants in their containers. Kinda barren now but it's not gonna look like this for long.
    Shortly after ‘the planting’… all plants in their containers. Kinda barren now but it’s not gonna look like this for long.
  2. I started a photo site using Smug Mug.  So from now on that’s where I’m going to put the photos that normally accompany these posts.  Of course I’ll put a few photos in the blog but the majority will go to Smug Mug.The address is: http://www.fogfam.smugmug.com

    Just go to the link and cast around a bit.  The photo site is stand alone so now you can just go directly to Smug Mug and look at the pictures without having to wade through the blog.  Only issue is that, now that we have a place to easily post pictures, I won’t be as selective about what pictures I post.  So you’ll no doubt have to slog through a few extras.  Other than that though, it’s all good.

  3. We have joined a CSA… What the Hell is a CSA?  CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  This is where you buy a share of a farm’s produce and your share is delivered to a pickup location each week.  Then you just go pick it up.  So in effect we’re getting our produce directly from the farm.  This helps flatten the food supply chain which is good for lots of reasons.  Our farm is the Live Earth Farm in Watsonville.  Go to the link if you wanna read about it.  This is in addition to our massive tomato (and now pepper) supply.   I know I know… what are you people doing?  Good Lord!  Why don’t you just get your food from the grocery store like everybody else?  Well… this is way too big a topic for here, or even another entire post.  Besides I probably wouldn’t be able to stop it from coming off as preachy, so you wouldn’t read it anyway.  But if you’re interested (and I hope you are), here’s a book that can start you on your way… Read In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan.  He has a number of other books too.  You can pretty much read any of them to get the idea.  The concept isn’t new though.  It’s just that Michael Pollan’s approach was compelling to us.  He’s not preachy, or judgmental.  He’s matter of fact, well reasoned and well researched.  And his style is refreshing.  Finally, in our particular case, getting produce mostly from this CSA is more practical than going to the grocery store.  Essentially, it’s almost directly delivered to us.  So it all works out.
  4. A few weeks ago, I got myself an eBike… That’s an Electric Bike if you’re unfamiliar with the term.  This also could be (and will definitely be) the topic for another post… (or several posts actually).  But for now, in a nut shell, I’ll just say that I think this is one of the best purchases that I’ve ever made, in my entire life.  It is SO much fun… and practical… and great exercise.  I just zip by the traffic in Santa Cruz and much of the time, especially with the Santa Cruz area traffic problems, arrive at my destination more quickly than I would by car.   But more about this later.
  5. The boys are done with school for the 2015-16 school year.  Kinda fun having them home again.  Spencer has been gardening, ref’ing, and coaching while Jack is working and riding his bike again.  Kinda fun seeing the school tension relax off their faces.
  6. A couple weeks ago, I bought a bunch of strawberries and made strawberry jam for the first time.  And… it was almost a disaster.  It didn’t set up the way it should and was WAY too sweet.  Jack is the only one helping me to eat it.  I guess I’ll make some adjustments and try again later.   It does taste good though… so at least I have that going for me.   Next time I’ll use a different pectin, not mash up the strawberries as much and add less sugar.  But first I gotta down the jam (syrup) from this batch.  Oh… one REALLY good thing… Donna used it to make strawberry ice cream.  Not gonna lie, it was unbelievably good.  I couldn’t stop myself from going back to the refrigerator to get some more.
  7. We got to host Chris Bauer (One of Donna’s many nephews) for a quick tour of San Francisco.
    Chris and Donna in front of the Lone Sailor statue near the Golden Gate Bridge.
    Chris and Donna in front of the Lone Sailor statue near the Golden Gate Bridge.

    Chris was here in the Bay Area for a conference.  And we were able to steal him away for a quick run through San Francisco and then dinner at the Cliff House Bistro.  Was fun for me to get to hang with him a bit and get to know him a little better.

Okay…  This was just a quick catch up.  There’s more of course but that’s probably enough for this post.