On a lovely spring-like Saturday D. and I went to a segment of the Coyote Creek Trail in southern San José. The trail was paved and flat. It ran alongside the creek, which flowed and sparkled. The birds sang. We were happy. I took these pics.
The dark gray of this dead pine beside the trail and the mustard-yellow lichen on its branches make a startling contrast.
Before long we come across the Tamienne Monument, marking the geographical center of the Santa Clara Valley. It's a slab of granite with "Santa Clara Valley" carved into it in both English and binary code, symbolizing the shift from the Valley’s agricultural past to its present identity as Silicon Valley and a center of the high-tech business world.
A drainage culvert protrudes from the levee next to the creek.
We find a lost (or discarded) toy by a tree.
Who knows how many floods have soaked this little teddy.
The canopy overhead of sycamores, still leafless.
A bobber, caught in the shallows.
The tangle of trees along the creek bank.
Another look at the creek.
People come here to fish. They leave stuff behind.
Path between the trail up on the levee and the creek.
There is a PG&E substation across the road from the trail. It is full of strange-looking structures. They all have some sort of function, but what?
What are all those strange things? It's like a giant supply house for a mad scientist, and very mysterious to a non-engineer like me.
Another dead tree full of golden yellow lichen.
A remnant of fencing lies along the trail.
Bracket fungi on a fallen tree.
A pair of mallards perches on a stump in the water.
People come here to fish (and/or party). They leave stuff behind.
Another look downstream.
People come here to fish, party or discard evidence of gang tagging activity. They leave stuff behind.
Another lost toy in the tangle of branches next to the creek.
A birdhouse, hanging from a tree out here in the woods next to the creek.
People come here to fish, party, or camp out. They leave stuff behind.
All the comforts of home.
We find an area with clamshells on the bank. They are not native, but are planted in the mud there on purpose by biologists to dig up later and measure how many toxins have been absorbed as a way of monitoring environmental pollutants in the creek.
A bee gathers pollen from an arroyo willow catkin.
A cluster of catkins.
This bracket fungus looks like a cake whose frosting got all melted and smeared around.
People come here to fish, party, camp out, or, um, tie books onto branches with pink biological surveying tape.
There is a golf course a couple of miles to the south, and sea gulls drawn to its lake and restaurant refuse circle the skies constantly.
The Metcalf Energy Center is a 600-megawatt power generation facility built by Calpine Corporation, utilizing natural gas for fuel. It's across the road from this stretch of the creek.
The facility was designed to screen the actual structures of the plant and to look more like a business park than a power plant. The lowering afternoon sun gives it a golden silhouette.
A last look at the creek before turning around and heading back.
The canopy overhead of sycamore and walnut.
This oak tree is full of galls, created by a wasp for its larvae.
The trail has few rules, but this one is important: No Prancing!