Spring has sprung! Wildflowers are blooming, birds are chirping and the sun is out! Life is good, and it’s time to make good on my New Year’s resolution: to hit the reset button and hike all 190 miles of trails in the San Mateo County Parks system.
I am off to a bit of a slow start due to the rainy winter, but it hasn’t stopped me completely: I have 15-and-a-half miles under my belt. It all started with a New Year’s Day hike at Devil’s Slide. Since then, I’ve had a walking meeting at Huddart, participated in a group hike at Sam McDonald in honor of Black History Month, and hiked nearly every trail at San Pedro Valley in preparation for an event.
I invite you to join me on my next hike. Show me your favorite trail. Tell me about a favorite park outing. Ask me what the San Mateo County Parks Foundation is up to. I want to hear from you!
For now, here are six things that have left an impression on me, so far:
- Sam McDonald was a remarkable and well-loved man who began acquiring land around La Honda in 1917. Descendants of slaves, Sam’s family moved from Louisiana to California where Sam landed at Stanford, the start of a 50-year career that would see him become the superintendent of athletic grounds and buildings. When he died in 1957, he left his 400+ acres to Stanford to be used as a park for the benefit of young people.
- Devil’s Slide is a great place to catch the sunset, but I love it just as much in the early morning, especially when bundled up in warm clothing and with coffee in hand. Feeling the wind on my face is rejuvenating. Devil’s Slide is a good place to welcome the day!
- Brooks Falls in San Pedro Valley Park is visible and now is a great time to go check it out. After years of drought, I struggled to see it until this past January. Locals I greeted on the trail said it was the first time they’d seen all three tiers of the waterfall.
- The rain has done a lot of damage to the parks in the form of mudslides, washed-out trails, erosion and fallen trees. It is important to be aware of and respect trail closures and to take care on muddy trails. Good hiking shoes will serve you well. The rain has also brought new life to riparian corridors, swelling creeks and creating numerous cascades. This will be a spectacular year for wildflowers.
- Trail signs provide loads of useful information. New trail signs have been rolled out in a few parks, including Huddart and Sam McDonald. Trailheads and intersections are numbered and correspond to numbers on park maps. This is one of the projects the San Mateo County Parks Foundation is funding.
- Group hikes are a lot of fun! I love to hike alone. It is how I get centered, how I get my exercise and how I re-charge my batteries. But I am discovering a renewed love for hiking with a group of people. This is a great way to meet wonderful people.
In fact, my next hike is a group hike. Join me and San Mateo County Parks for the first Take a Hike of the season. It is happening this Saturday, April 1 at 9am at Huddart Park.