Rancho San Vicente Photo Class/Wildflower Walk 4/17/10
POST Rancho San Vicente Hike, April 10, 2010
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Mercury News Article on Rancho San Vicente,
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Canada Del Oro and Calero Trail Map
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Park and Trail Pages:
Blair Ranch Hike 3/28/10
Blair Ranch Hike, 5/9/09
Doan Ranch Page 1, Page 2
Los Alamitos Creek Trail
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Rancho Canada Del Oro Hike, 5/16/09
Rancho Canada Del Oro Hike, Mayfair Ranch Trail, 3/14/10
Calero Healthy Trails Hike, 4/25/09
Uvas Canyon Healthy Trails Hike, 2/21/09
Coyote Ridge Wildflowers, 4/13/08
Almaden Quicksilver Wildflowers and Views, Spring 2008, Part 2
Healthy Trails Walk, Almaden Quicksilver 3/28/09
Harvey Bear Ranch-Coyote Lake Pictures, 3/10/07, 3/21-21/09, 4/18/09
Palassou Ridge 6/6/09
Mt. Madonna Geocaching Class, 7/11/09
Hellyer HDR Pictures 1/10/10
Almaden Quicksilver Wood Road Geocaching Class 1/16/10
Uvas Canyon HDR Pictures 1/23/10
Joseph D. Grant County Park, 1/31/10
Uvas Canyon Hike, 2/13/10
Rancho Canada Del Oro Hike, Mayfair Ranch Trail, 3/14/10
Coyote Ridge, 4/18/10
Mummy Mountain Trail Day and Hike, Coyote Lake, 4/24/10
Santa Teresa Park Pictures:
Santa Teresa Park Mine, Fortini, Stile Ranch Wildflowers, 4/11/08
Coyote Peak, Rocky Ridge Wildflowers, Feb-Apr. '08
Bernal Hill wildflowers and views, Feb-Apr. '08 Part 1, Part 2
Coyote Peak, Rocky Ridge, Feb-April '08
Mother's Day Walk, Fortini-Stile, 5/4/08
Outdoor Photography Class/Wildflower Walk, Bernal Ranch/Hill 4/4/09
Geocaching Class, Fortini-Mine-Stile Ranch Trail, 4/11/09
Pre-Mother's Day Walk, Fortini-Mine-Stile Ranch Trail, 5/3/09
Healthy Trails Hike, Fortini, Mine, Stile Ranch Trails, 5/9/09
Santa Teresa Sunset Pictures 2/7/10
Mother's Day Walk, Fortini-Stile, 5/2/10
Ron Horii's Outdoor Photography Pages:
Outdoor Photo Gallery
Rancho San Vicente Outdoor Docent Hike, May 30, 2010
Rancho San Vicente is a new property acquired by the Santa Clara County Parks Department in 2009. It will become a county park someday, possibly an extension of Calero County Park, which it adjoins. It is not yet open to the public on a regular basis, but it is open for guided hikes. It will take several years of study, planning, and facilities construction before it is fully open to the public. Part of that process is to assess and catalog the natural resources of the property. Park staff and docents have gone on trips to do that. On May 30, 2010, park interpreter Jan Shriner, along with amateur botanist Tom Cochrane and park docent Ron Horii, went on a hike to catalog and photograph plants and wildflowers and explore different parts of the park. These are pictures from that hike, taken by Ron Horii. This was at the end of May, so despite the late season rains this year, the non-native grasses on the hills were turning brown. Many wildflowers were still out, and there were late spring flowers that were not out during hikes earlier in the year. (See the links to the left for previous hikes.)
We parked by the corral and headed up the main ranch road. At that time, there were no cattle in sight.
Late spring blooming native elegant brodiaea (Brodiaea elegans), a member of the lily family, with non-native rose clover (Trifolium hirtum) in the background.
Seed pods of chick lupine (Lupinus microcarpus var. densiflorus). When in bloom, it has white flowers. It is native to and only found in California.
We approach the crossing of the Almaden-Calero Canal.
Seep spring monkeyflowers (Mimulus guttatus) by a wet spot on the trail. These are common flowers, native to California, frequently found around wet areas.
Spanish Lotus (Lotus purshianus), also called Spanish clover, a native California annual.
California native Flaxflower linanthus (Linanthus liniflorus), also called narrowflower flaxflower, which we would see in huge numbers that day.
Flaxflower linanthus and pink clarkia on the hill.
Looking east over the Almaden-Calero Canal and a farm pond towards the corral, where we parked. Behind it is McKean Road and the Santa Teresa Hills. Santa Teresa County Park is on the right side of the hills.
Flaxflower linanthus and California poppies.
Small pond below a cut in the hillside.
The light-colored tufts are rabbit's foot grass.
Native meadow barley (Hordeum brachyantherum).
Tom is pointing to Santa Clara dudleya (Dudleya setchellii), an endangered species that only grows on the hills around the Coyote Valley and the South County as far south as Mt. Madonna. This is the most endangered and protected plant species in the park.
A member of the stonecrop family, Santa Clara dudleya grow on rock outcroppings in serpentine grasslands and oak woodlands. It grows on bare rocks, where there is little soil and seemingly nothing else will grow. However, the rocks need to have crevices deep enough for the roots of the dudleya, which are over 6 inches long.
Creamcups (Platystemon californicus), a California native and a member of the poppy family, are surrounded by purple sand spurry (Spergularia rubra), an introduced non-native.
The hillside are covered with clarkia rubicunda, also called farewell-to-spring, or ruby chalice clarkia. They are late blooming flowers, blooming in June and July. They are only found in California, mostly around the central part of the state.
A late season holdover purple owl's clover (Castilleja exserta), a native flower which blooms earlier in the spring.
The most beautiful jewelflower (Streptanthus albidus ssp. peramoenus). lt is a California native, CNPS listed as a rare or endangered plant. It is commonly found in Santa Teresa Park on the Stile Ranch Trail.
A big bay laurel tree (Umbellularia californica) provides a shady rest spot.
On a hill west of the park are the private estates on Cinnabar Hills Road.
We can see the Casa Grande in New Almaden (under reconstruction) at the lower right, the hills of Almaden Quicksilver County Park above it, and the New Almaden chimney on the upper left.
Climbing higher, looking northwest, we can see New Almaden, Almaden Quicksilver, and the Sierra Azuls, with Mt. Umunhum to the right of center, topped by the retired Almaden Air Force Station building.
Sticky rosinweed (Calycadenia multiglandulosa), a California native and a member of the daisy, produces small white flowers when in bloom. Parts of the plant are covered with sticky tack-shaped glands.
Looking over golden yarrow (Eriophyllum confertiflorum), we can see the hills on the northern portion of the park, Almaden Road on the left, and the South Bay ahead.
Looking to the right, we can see the South Almaden Valley and the Santa Teresa Hills.
Tom points towards the Bald Peaks of Calero County Park and Rancho Canada Del Oro Open Space Preserve.
Closeup of a mariposa lily (Calochortus venustus), a perennial found only in California.
Lots of mariposa lilies.
Closeup of Santa Clara Valley dudleya growing on a rock outcropping.
A distant or common phacelia (phacelia distans), a California native annual.
The lower slopes of the hillside are covered with flaxflower linanthus.
We head down a trail leading into a shady riparian woodland.
Tom holds a woodland monolopia (Monolopia gracilens), an annual member of the aster family found only in California, most in the mountains around the Bay Area and just to the south.
Seep spring monkeyflowers growing along a spring.
Seep spring monkeyflowers line a little creek coming down the hill, fed by spring. This flows into the main creek.
Native California blackberries (Rubus ursinus) grow along the banks of the creek.
A variable checkerspot butterfly on a mariposa lily.
Native California wild roses (Rosa californica).
Jan and Tom look at a stand of native and rare Mt. Hamilton thistles (Cirsium fontinale var. campylon) growing along a rivulet feeding the main creek.
The head of a Mt. Hamilton thistle, showing the characteristic drooping flowerheads, which is why it is also called fountain thistle. It is CNPS-listed as a rare or endangered plant.
Jan looks at some rare, threatened Loma Prieta hoitas, also called leatherroot (Hoita strobilina). It is federally listed as a species of concern and CNPS listed as a rare or endangered species.
More Loma Prieta hoitas grow next to the trail. It is a member of the pea family. It produces small purple pealike flowers on a stalk, like lupines. It has only been found around the Bay Area, in the Santa Cruz Mountains, below Coyote Ridge, and the El Sobrante Hills in Contra Costa County.
Ahead through the trees, we can see the houses on the hill ahead on Cinnabar Hills Road. The park boundary line goes partway up that hill.
The trail follows the creek down the hill, but we turn around and go back.
Closeup of examples of winecup clarkia (Clarkia purpurea ssp. quadrivulnera), a West Coast native.
Seedheads of blow-wives (Achyrachaena mollis, left) and silverpuffs (Uropappus lindleyi, right), both West Coast natives.
Seedheads of quaking grass (Briza minor), also called little rattlesnake grass because the seed pods resemble rattlesnake rattles. It is a non-native weed.
We head southwest on the trail, climbing the rolling hills.
Looking back northwest towards Mt. Umhunhum.
Yellow mariposa lily (Calochortus luteus) on the right, a perennial found only in California, and non-native rose clover in the background.
Heading along the hills, the Bald Peaks are getting closer.
Nearing the high point of the trail, which turns left and drops steeply downhill.
Going downhill, we see Calero Reservoir ahead and below.
Down below to the right of the trail, we can see a tiny finger of Calero Reservoir, the end of Cherry Cove. Calero's Cherry Cove Trail runs along the lakeshore, beginning above Cherry Cove. Hidden in the trees in the center is probably the Javelina Trail.
The hills on the right are part of Calero County Park. On top of the hills are the Pena and Javelina Loop Trails.
Ahead are water tanks and a cattle feeder.
To the side of the main trail is an overgrown ranch road leading downhill.
We can see the old ranch road heading downhill on the right.
Looking back, the hills of Rancho Canada Del Oro are on the left.
Looking towards the heavily-wooded slopes of Calero and Rancho Canada Del Oro.
The hill to the left is covered with dense chaparral and sticky monkeyflowers.
The ranch road ends here, probably because the area beyond has little use for ranching. It is steep, heavily wooded, with dense chaparral. We explore farther, following animal trails.
We're following a trail between grasslands and chaparral.
California native hillside gooseberry bush (Ribes californicum) with edible berries.
View looking back towards the hills and trails of Calero. Beyond here, it becomes too steep and wooded to go any farther. We turn around and head back.
A checkerspot butterfly on sticky monkeyflowers (Mimulus aurantiacus), a California native.
California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) and small pink serpentine linanthus (Linanthus ambiguus), both California natives.
Lots of rare serpentine lessingia (Lessingia micradenia var. glabrata) cover the hillside. They are not yet in bloom. They are CNPS listed as a rare or endangered plant.
We head back uphill past the hillside covered with lessingia. The old overgrown trail is on the left.
There are lots of elegant brodiaea and rose clover along the route.
Jan is holding Sacramento mint or mesamint (pogogyne zizyphoroides), a member of the mint family and a California native.
View of the boats on Calero Reservoir.
A fringed sidalcea (Sidalcea diploscypha), also called checker mallow.
We head back along the trail towards the peak.
Ahead is a trail junction. The trail that leads to the down the creek we saw earlier branches off to the left. An orange lick tank is on the other side of the trail.
Lots of flaxflower linanthus on the hillside.
Galls on native big-berried manzanita bush (Arctostaphylos glauca).
We climb up to the antenna-topped peak.
We look down from the peak towards Calero Reservoir. McKean Road is on the left.
Down below the steep hillside are Calero Dam and the end of the Almaden-Calero Canal.
Leather oak (Quercus durata), also called scrub oak, on top of the peak. They are also found near the bay laurel tree lower down. They are short trees, found only in California, in serpentine soils, often with manzanitas in chaparral.
Looking back north, we can barely make out the silhouette of Mt. Tamalpais on the left horizon.
A lone ithuriel's spear (Triteleia laxa). They are a common native wildflower, found only in California. They are relatives of the elegant brodiaea and look similar to them, but bloom earlier in the year.
A large farm pond.
California tree frog in the grass.
Non-native brass buttons (Cotula coronopifolia).
Back at the corral, we see cattle for the first time today. They bid us farewell, as we leave the ranch. The total distance covered was 6.46 miles. We started at 9:25 am and left at 2:30 pm.
Google Earth Maps of the Hike
The maps below were made by taking a GPS track taken on a DeLorme PN-30, importing it into Topo 7, exporting it into a GPX file, then importing it into Google Earth. The pictures below are Google Earth screen shots. The purpose of these maps is to show the route of the hike relative to the terrain and some ideas about possible future trail routes. Click on each image for a larger view.
The trail route as seen from above the Santa Teresa Hills, with Calero on the left. The hike began on the lower right, at the corral just off McKean Road.
View of the hike route from above New Almaden, showing the crossing of the Almaden-Calero Canal on the left, wrapping around the hill, the trip to the peak, the trip down the creek, and the trip to the end of the road above Calero.
This is a closeup showing the trip partway down the creek.
This is a view of that side trip, from above Cinnabar Hills Road, showing how the valleys converge. It looks like there may be a way to loop back to the main ranch road by going up another valley on the right.
This is where the hike crested a hill, turned left, and went downhill. Looking back towards Rancho Canada Del Oro and Mt. Loma Prieta, it looks like there is a faint path leading to a network of mountain roads.
This is a view from above those mountain roads, looking back towards the trail, showing the steep canyons.
This is a view looking towards Rancho Canada Del Oro, showing where the ranch road ends. On the right is the start of the old overgrown trail. It may be a way to get down to the Cottle Trail in Calero.
This shows the route of the hike relative to the Cottle Trail and Cherry Cove Trail in Calero County Park.
This is a view of farthest reach of the hike, showing how it ended on the hill between Cherry Cove and Miner's Cove above Calero Reservoir. The Cherry Cove Trail in Calero runs along the base of the hill just above the lake. The hillside may be too steep to go directly down to the trail.
Created by Ronald Horii, 6/13/10