A side effect of growing up in San Mateo County was having its parks leave a deep-rooted impression on me; so much so that I was eager and honored to take on this role at the San Mateo County Parks Foundation. This year, my goal has been to hike all the trails in the San Mateo County Parks system so I may know the parks intimately and be inspired by all they have to offer.
Like any good New Year’s resolution, it is a stretch goal. Maybe you can help me tackle a few trails? Here are some of the highlights from the last few months:
- The right gear makes all the difference. My must haves for any hike include water, food, good hiking boots, a camera, a hat and a map. In addition, a GPS unit allows me to record my tracks, mark way-points, and ensure I am not missing that trail back. A couple of tips include clearing the tracks on your GPS at the start of a hike and marking the location of your starting point.
- For the first time ever, I hiked the Ridge Trail on San Bruno Mountain and I picked a pretty good day for it. The views were awesome from the Pacific Ocean to Mt. Diablo. If you would like to see how San Francisco and the Peninsula are laid out, there is no better vantage point (and wow- up goes the Salesforce Tower in downtown San Francisco!) Another thing about San Bruno Mountain- the weather is unpredictable and can be hot and sunny or windy and foggy. That is part of the adventure in my opinion, so be prepared.
- This was an excellent year for wildflowers in all the parks, as well as a difficult one for trails. Some trails remain closed due to significant erosion. Park rangers have their work cut out for them in clearing and shoring up trails, especially as we head into the rainy season.
- Even though I am an avid hiker, the parks have something to offer everyone, whether you love flying kites (Coyote Point) or camping (Memorial Park), hanging out on the beach (Mirada Surf) or bird-watching (all of them!). In most parks, you don’t have to walk too far before you find a bench that offers you stunning views. This is thanks to many people who have generously donated funds for commemorative benches. Find a bench, read the inscription and give thanks for all the park lovers who have come before us and left a legacy for you and I to enjoy.
I still have trails to knock out in Huddart Park, Wunderlich Park and Pillar Point Bluff. Help me out! And stay tuned for a hike I will lead the day after Thanksgiving. Together we can #OptOutside and choose nature with friends and family.