On Sunday D. and I went to Monte Bello Open Space Preserve to go to the lookout on top of Black Mountain (the mountain visible from town). Here's the pics we took, starting with mine.
Who brings their dry cleaning with them to the nature preserve?
We start out on the trail. The hills are golden brown.
Teasel, gone to seed.
A view along the aptly-named Bella Vista Trail.
The hills are very dry. Fire danger: high.
Lichen and moss grow on a boulder where the trail crosses a draw, which funnels enough moisture to support such life.
The views get more magnificent as we ascend the trail.
We join the Old Ranch Trail.
We pass by a backpack campground. I guess fire-fighting is DIY here.
On the outskirts of the campground, we pass by a seismic measuring device half-buried in the weeds.
A leftover from the ranching days.
Poles, in the middle of relative nowhere.
Antennae come into view above the treetops, a sign we are nearing the summit.
Some of them are for Stanford University, others are for air traffic control.
Air traffic control antennae.
Papa Dish, Mama Dish and Baby Dish (plus Whacky Neighbor Dish).
I want to play this big antenna like a drum!
Another look at the air traffic control antennae.
A 70-year-old US Army Corps of Engineers survey control marker, near the antennae.
Looking back at the antennae from the summit of Black Mountain.
Looking southwest from the summit. A rock garden of boulders.
The antennae on the edge of forever.
(Yes, I like taking pictures of antennae. )
Looking east toward downtown San Jose and Mt. Hamilton on the horizon.
We take a spur trail to the east, and part of the Lehigh Quarry and Permanente Cement Plant are visible.
Their operation has created a huge unsightly scar on the side of the mountain facing our house. They are also polluting the nearby Permanente Creek headwaters and surrounding habitat.
Looking east across San Francisco Bay to the Diablo Range. The large white area in front of the hills are salt evaporation ponds.
On our way back we have a close encounter with a western fence lizard.
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And here are D.'s pics.
Rose clover, gone to seed.
Fly and teasel.
Hmm, that sounds like a pub name: The Fly and Teasel.
Bella Vista Trail.
Hikers on the Bella Vista Trail.
You can see for miles.
The trail on Monte Bello Road.
A peek to the east, with Mt. Diablo prominent on the horizon.
Shed near backpack camp with bird guano on doors.
Um . . . okay.
One of the biggest grass spider webs we've ever seen.
Downtown San Jose from Black Mountain summit.
Air traffic control antennae, noir.
Dead plants at the summit boulder garden.
The lizard and I.