Long Ridge Hike
San Mateo County, California

Sunday, August 31, 2008

By Peter Y. Chou

Preface: On Sunday, August 31, 2008, my friend drove to Skyline Boulevard where we went on a hike at Long Ridge Open Space Preserve in San Mateo County. Long Ridge has 13 miles of trails to explore at its 2035-acre Preserve. Sixteen years ago, I came here with a group of hikers for some poetry reading at Turtle Rock while seeing the sunset over the ocean. Today, we started out at the Hickory Oaks Trail at a pullout on Skyline Boulevard. The old roadbed led us through a forest of majestic canyon oaks. Next we ascended to the top of a grassy knoll that is interspersed with rock outcroppings. From this spot, we can see portions of Big Basin State Park, Butano Ridge, and the Pacific Ocean. The next 20 minutes on a treeless dirt trail was quite boring especially on a hot day. When I complained, my friend reprimanded me: “Get you feet moving the way your mouth is moving, then we'll get somewhere!” She showed me the map that we're heading for Ward Road which leads to the Ranch Spring Trail that will provided some oasis. Although she had never been there before, her hunch was correct. This is my third hike for the summer. Photos were taken with a Canon PowerShot A590IS digital camera. Haikus were written soon afterwards.

Click on Photos for Enlarged Images

Sunday, August 31, 2008, 3:00 pm
Long Ridge Preserve, San Mateo County
Sign at entrance of Long Ridge Trail

Here's the entrance gate
to Long Ridge Open Space
Preserve— Here I come!
Sunday, August 31, 2008, 3:03 pm
Long Ridge, San Mateo County
Redwood at start of Hickory Oaks Trail

Giant Redwood welcomes
me to Hickory Oaks Trail—
start of the long march.

Sunday, August 31, 2008, 3:10 pm
Long Ridge, San Mateo County
Sign at entrance of Long Ridge Trail

Long Ridge Sign
with maps and brochures
for hikers, bikers, riders.
Sunday, August 31, 2008, 3:25 pm
Long Ridge, Hickory Oaks Trail
This Monster Tree— a Halloween treat

More tentacles than
an octopus— your ten limbs
stretch high to the skies.

Sunday, August 31, 2008, 3:26 pm
Long Ridge, Hickory Oaks Trail
Top of Monster Tree brushing the sky

Top of Monster Tree
less frightening than at bottom—
like a giant paint brush.
Sunday, August 31, 2008, 3:27 pm
Long Ridge, Hickory Oaks Trail
Monster Tree— a witch's broom?

When Halloween comes
you may serve as a giant broom
for Witch of the West.

Sunday, August 31, 2008, 3:30 pm
Long Ridge, Hickory Oaks Trail
Four tall trees by rail up the hill

Four Redwoods greet me
as I use the guard rail
to climb up this trail.
Sunday, August 31, 2008, 3:33 pm
Long Ridge, Hickory Oaks Trail
A deer runs up this hill as I arrive

Just before these rocks
a deer leaped across this trail—
a refreshing sight!
Sunday, August 31, 2008, 3:45 pm
Long Ridge, Hickory Oaks Trail
Scenic view from Turtle Rock

Panoramic view
of grass, rocks, trees, mountains,
fog and pale blue skies.
Sunday, August 31, 2008, 3:46 pm
Long Ridge, Hickory Oaks Trail
Scenic view from Turtle Rock

Pacific Ocean
at the horizon kissing
the deep pale blue sky.

Sunday, August 31, 2008, 3:48 pm
Long Ridge, Hickory Oaks Trail
On this Turtle Rock a group of hikers
read poetry while watching the sunset

Sixteen years ago
a group of hikers came here
to read poetry at sunset.
Sunday, August 31, 2008, 3:50 pm
Long Ridge, Hickory Oaks Trail
Layers of mountains in the fog

Grass, trees, mountains,
ocean, and sky all layered
in fog like ice cream.
Sunday, August 31, 2008, 3:55 pm
Long Ridge, Hickory Oaks Trail
Twin rocks on the hill top

Two rocks enjoying
the panoramic view on
this tranquil hilltop.
Sunday, August 31, 2008, 4:18 pm
Long Ridge, Hickory Oaks Trail
Hickory Oak Trail without trees

No trees all around—
why are we treking this dust
trail on this hot day?

Sunday, August 31, 2008, 4:40 pm
Ward Road heading for
Ranch Spring Trail

Ah!— first sign of shade
away from the blazing sun
to the Promise Land!
Sunday, August 31, 2008, 5:00 pm
Ward Road to Ranch Spring Trail
for some shade after dry heat

Shady woods at last—
after the dry spell, Nature's
gifts of shade and rest.

Sunday, August 31, 2008, 5:10 pm
Ranch Spring Trail
Entering into the shade

From steaming hot sun
to the cool shaded forest—
Ranch Spring Trail greets us.
Sunday, August 31, 2008, 5:17 pm
Ranch Spring Trail
More trees on this trail

Sunlight descends from
top of Redwood down the sap
to the roots of spring.

Sunday, August 31, 2008, 5:25 pm
Ranch Spring Trail
Giant Redwood at the center

A giant Redwood guards
the hidden spring deep inside
its dark Ranch Spring Trail.
Sunday, August 31, 2008, 5:40 pm
Ranch Spring Trail
Giant V-shaped California Live Oak

This V-shaped Live Oak
stretches its arms skyward
receiving great blessings!

Sunday, August 31, 2008, 5:50 pm
Ranch Spring Trail
Monster Tree— a Halloween treat

Monster Oak with arms
outstretched— "Come O ye children
for Halloween treats!"
Sunday, August 31, 2008, 6:00 pm
Ranch Spring Trail
Old ranch site

Cattle and goats lived
here once inside this pen
but those days are long gone.

Sunday, August 31, 2008, 6:20 pm
Leaving Ranch Spring Trail
I take a photo of the signpost

I place tiny pine cone
found in the Ranch Spring Trail
on the signpost as thanks.
Sunday, August 31, 2008, 6:25 pm
Junction of Ward Road & Ranch
Spring Trail looking westward:
Dog-like branch on ground

Woof! Woof!— Dog-like branch
barks on this beautiful
hillside view as I leave.

Sunday, August 31, 2008, 7:07 pm
Long Ridge, Hickory Oaks Trail
Rocks & fog coming over the hills

Are these rocks ready
for a steam bath as the fog
moves slowing forward?
Sunday, August 31, 2008, 7:15 pm
Long Ridge, Hickory Oaks Trail
Madrone trees in orange sunset

Beautiful Madrone
in orange sunlight—
I dance with you cheek to cheek.

Sunday, August 31, 2008, 7:20 pm
Long Ridge, Hickory Oaks Trail
Madrone trees in orange sunset

Two Madrone sisters
dressed in orange sunlight
ready for the ball.
Sunday, August 31, 2008, 7:40 pm
Long Ridge, Achistaca Trail
Sunset at end of Long Ridge hike

Orange and green wash
over the hills as the Sun
dips below the horizon.

— Peter Y. Chou, Mountain View, August 31, 2008

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P.O. Box 390707, Mountain View, CA 94039
email: (11-11-2008)