Monday, November 5, 2007

Purisima Creek Redwoods

Open Space Preserve
Harkins Ridge loop
October 28, 2007

7.5 miles

1,200 elevation gain

Rating: Moderate

Hiking Time: 3 1/2 hours

A cool hike along a creek with redwoods leading to views sounded like a nice October hike. I had only been to Purisima once before.

It seemed like it was going to be a large group, but on the day of the hike there were only six of us.
We split into two cars. We left Western drive around 10:30 a.m. Teresa drove her car to Davenport, where we left it so that after our Bloody Marys at the Road House, I could take Bonny Doon road to Felton.

Tim and Teresa rode with me - the "lead" car. Both Tim and Teresa have connections to Half Moon Bay. Teresa grew up there as a child and Tim's plumbing business is located there now. Tim knew of many of Terri's relatives because they are prominent members of the Portuguese community. They talked about how much Half Moon Bay has changed.

Neither Teresa or Tim had been to the Preserve even though they are so familiar with area. So often we don't visit the places in our own back yards! We took Higgins Purisima road off Highway One. This was a pretty, narrow winding road with farms and houses tucked along it. At the top there were several bike riders pulled to the side. After we passed it - Tim wondered if that was the park. We wound down the road and came to the small parking lot. It's a popular place - we parked along the road next to the trailhead.

We were on the trailhead by 11:45. The beginning of the hike follows Purisima Creek. The trail is level and shaded. There were beautiful redwoods and ferns along the creek. There were other trees that were turning yellow and the path was carpeted in leaves. It felt like fall.

We soon came to the junction with Soda Gulch trail. This is one of the few trails in the park that is hiking only. The other trails are popular with cyclists and horses are allowed. The trail stayed close to the creek and narrowed. It was a very
gradual pleasant climb. The ridge gave us nice views towards the ocean - but it was obscured by fog.

It was getting past lunch time and we kept looking for a spot - preferably one with shade and a view. Finally, we settled on shade and enough room for all of us to
sit down. We could just keep our feet out of the path. I was hungry and looking forward to the sandwich Bill had made me. When I pulled out my lunch I discovered
that rather than grabbing the sandwich I had grabbed the bag of pretzels which were stuck inside a baggie and the size of the sandwich. I was so disappointed.
No sandwich! Fortunately, Graciela came well prepared with two sandwiches. Mary gave me some of her avocado and I was quite satiated.

After lunch a bit up the trail was huge oak tree. I took this picture of Graciela and Tim in front of the trunk which is massive.

We came to the junction with Harkins Ridge Road and turned to the left. The ridge started heading down - but still gave us excellent views of the Santa Cruz mountains. There were lots of branches, so almost everyone had found a temporary hiking stick. As always they helped on the downhill.

As the forest closed in there were trees changing color and it was beautiful with the light filtering through the trees. As we entered thicker forest Mary spotted a group of mushrooms. They were very interesting. The tops almost looked like custard and as if they were dripping with icing. Quite unusual.

All too soon we had completed the loop. I wanted more! Because we had time restraints we called it a day. Mary and Jan drove back together because they
needed to get back early. The rest of us took Purisima Creek road back out to Highway One (the road is a loop with Purisima Higgins road).

We stopped at the Road House in Davenport for Bloody Marys. Scott was there, but I was disappointed that he didn't have any of his homemade dilly beans for the drinks. I forgave him when I heard he was going in for a hip replacement the next day. Yikes! I was thankful we were all healthy enough to enjoy our wonderful hike. Another beautiful day in the woods.

Lessons Learned: You will never starve on a hiking group hike. There are always unexplored pockets even in places we know well. Be thankful for healthy hips!

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