A couple of weekends ago D. and I went for a drive and wound up at Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park. We took a walk and some pics. Mine first.
In the parking lot, we pulled in next to a Packard One-Twenty, from the mid-1930s.
Packard used to be the foremost luxury car in America in its time. But the Great Depression decimated their customer base, so they decided to introduce a mid-priced model, which was the One-Twenty (the one we see here). It turned out to be the beginning of the end for Packard: although the One-Twenty sold well enough to keep Packard afloat during the Depression, its success made them decide to go even lower and start making economy models, which eroded the company's reputation as America's premier luxury car.
The hood ornament depicts the Goddess of Speed as a woman with wings holding a tire outstretched in her arms (a.k.a the "doughnut chaser").
The rising twists and turns of the Oak Tree Trail reveal one gorgeous view after another.
The hills and mountains east of Interstate 680, opposite the park.
A bare sycamore reaches into the sky.
Silver grasses begin to turn green from recent rains.
A trough for equestrians and grazing cattle off the Oak Tree Trail.
The views get more breathtaking the closer we get to the ridge.
The Ridgeline Trail marker seems to be butting heads with itself. Good thing it isn't a one-way trail, or we'd still be stuck up there.
Part of an olive orchard someone planted on the ridge about 100 years ago, no one knows by whom.
Viewed from the ridge, the hills to the east are dappled with late afternoon sun, and the mountains to the south are swathed in haze.
Another water trough next to the olive orchard reflects the drifting late afternoon cloudscapes.
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Here's D.'s pics:
A huge mossy live oak along the Oak Tree Trail.
The hillsides on the other side of Interstate 680.
The Oak Tree Trail winds up toward Pleasanton Ridge.
Looking into the mountainous region to the south, the second pic taken from higher up the trail.
Valley oak leaves.
Fungi sprout from a fallen log, some of it very colorful. I think the orange one is the Tremella aurantia jelly fungus. It is parasitic on the other Stereum hirsutum fungus growing in the log.
More views of the hills to the east.
Looking north to Mt. Diablo.
All the trails are open to equestrian users.
A distant mountaintop covered in snow. Perhaps it is Mt. Hamilton.
Once we reach the ridge, the Sunol Water Temple is barely visible to the west (among the leafless trees in the lower right).
Looking southwest toward Fremont, with the olive orchard in the foreground.
The olive orchard.
A phantom swooped past us while resting by the olive orchard. We've tentatively identified it as a northern harrier.
The beautiful hills in late afternoon.