The Trail Companion
In the Canyons of San Carlos -- Arguello
On January 20, twenty-five hard working Trail
Center volunteers broke ground on an eagerly awaited
trail in the city of San Carlos' Arguello Park. The
trail will connect the neighborhood at the top of the
canyon in which Arguello Park is located, with the
playing field, picnic areas and trails in the lower
half of the park. Currently, access is limited to two
entrances on the western edge and from the school
below the park. After many years of neighborhood
activism, the city agreed to fund construction of the
new trail as well as improvements to existing trails
throughout the park.
The trail will be
approximately one-third of a mile long when completed
and will climb the steep canyon near a seasonal
creek. Although the park is not pristine wilderness
-- the area was ranched, mined and nearly turned into
a subdivision -- the trail will pass by huge live
oaks, stately buckeyes, and prominent outcrops of
Franciscan Formation chert. Deer and many birds make
their homes under the cover of trees and brush. The
top of the canyon provides wonderful views of Mt.
Umunhum and Loma Prieta.
volunteers nearly completed the first segment at the
lower end of the trail by the end of the first day
and another segment by the end of second. For both
days, the soil was perfect, the rocks few, the sun
shining, and the grass green (and not too wet). We
were treated to hawks, hummingbirds and a hearty
approval from all the park users who saw us
With this auspicious
beginning, we look forward to great work days
throughout the spring and into the summer. Our
biggest workday will take place on April 27 for the
California Trail Days: work at Arguello will be the
centerpiece of the San Carlos Pride Day. We will
return to Arguello on June 1, National Trails Day.
Please call the Trail Center office at (650) 968-7065
to sign up.
and technical information for this project is
available for viewing.
The Trail Center Blazes a Path on the Web
We are initiating a new
Website for the Trail Center, joining other
organizations within the Peninsula Conservation
Center in providing environmental information in
cyberspace. Although our site is a fledgling effort
at this point, you may view the newsletter you are
now reading, as well as the
January/February issue. Other information which
we plan to make available includes publication and
map lists, technical specifications for current trail
projects, expanded volunteer opportunity listings,
and links to other Bay Area environmental
organizations. Take a look and let us know what
Farewell to Cindy Stead...
We extend a fond farewell to Cindy Stead who
worked as the Trail Center's outreach coordinator for
the past eight months. Prior to coming on board at
the center, Cindy worked for seven years as a reserve
associate at the University of California (UC)
Granite Mountains Desert Research Center in the East
Mojave Desert and then as a development specialist
for the UC Natural Reserve System in Oakland. She
will go on to work as an administrative associate and
special projects assistant for Stanford University's
Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve. We will miss
Cindy's enthusiasm and her wonderful organizational
and networking skills. Good luck and best wishes,
If you are
interested in the outreach coordinator position,
please call Alice Stern at (650) 968-7065.
Map Committee News
As announced in the March Activity Schedule, the
Map Committee's first meeting of 1996 is on Sunday,
March 31 from 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. at the Peninsula
Conservation Center. We are starting work on a new
trail map showing a dozen parks in the Woodside area.
The map will include
Huddart and Wunderlich County Parks,
Purisima Creek Redwoods, El Corte De Madera, and
La Honda Creek Preserves, GGNRA's
Phleger Estate, Burleigh Murray State Park and
There will be many
opportunities for volunteer involvement, including
mapping and measuring trails, researching which
trails allow bikes and horses, copying existing
reliable maps, contacting agencies, grant writing and
writing descriptive text. Many hands make light
members Ben Pease and Darwin Poulos will share their
experience from the last several years. We will
establish a calendar of field sessions and committee
meetings which we will list in subsequent activity
schedules and will have available through the Trail
Center office. Join us!
New Maps Available
Santa Clara County Parks has begun to replace its
old photocopied park brochures with attractive,
two-color brochures (available from the Trail
Center). The first new brochures show Anderson
Reservoir and Mount Madonna County Parks, the
twelve-mile long Coyote Creek Parkway bike path, and
the seven-mile long Los Gatos Creek Trail. This trail
extends from Lexington Reservoir to San Jose's Willow
Glen neighborhood, passing through downtown Los Gatos
and Vasona County Park. The brochures include clear
and informative trail maps, showing facilities,
trailheads, and distances, and show several
newly-opened sections of trail. You can obtain these
brochures from the park entrances, from the County
Park office in Vasona Park (phone (408) 358-3741) or
from the Trail Center.
(The donation of the following items for use
in our Trail Center office would be greatly
- Latest version of a Microsoft Word Software
Program for a Macintosh Computer
- A Macintosh Screen Saver Software
Toot Our Own Horn
Spread the word and let others know you support us
-- with our free Trail Center bumper sticker for your
car, bicycle or stroller. Bumper stickers are
available at the Trail Center office.
Give Them Memberships, and They'll Walk for
Are you at a loss for ideas for unusual gifts for
birthdays, Mother's Day, Father's Day, graduations,
or what-have-you? Look no further -- the Trail Center
can meet your needs with membership gifts, ranging
from $25 (Individual) to $1000 (Benefactor). With
each gift the recipient will receive a Peninsula
Parklands map, a subscription to The Trail Companion,
the Activity Schedule, a Trail Center bumper sticker,
a 10% discount on all our maps and books, and many
other membership perks. Just call the Trail Center
office at (650) 968-7065 or see our membership form, and
we'll expedite the process for you.
Ever Thought of Mountain Biking?
Have you ever gone hiking and wished you could
rolling down the trail? Now, imagine that you are on
a peak pedaling a mountain bike -- what could be
better? We offer some hints to help you become
familiar with mountain biking and prepare you for
some serious fun and adventure:
With the basic rules of the road under your belt,
it's time to choose a course that will allow for a
pleasant ride. Here are some suggested trail rides to
get you started:
- Be sure you have the proper equipment. You will
need a mountain bike or a hybrid bike with knobby,
fat tires. Put a helmet on your head (and not on
your handlebars). A helmet is not only smart but
mandatory on many trails; many
tickets have been given to riders not wearing their
helmets! Since bike shops are not commonly found on
the trails, a pump, tire irons, patch kit and spare
tube are all smart trail companions.
- Watch the time. Not only is it illegal to be on
the trails after dusk (and here again, tickets are
liberally issued to evening riders), but darkness
can hide bike-eating obstacles which can be
especially hazardous if you've left your helmet
- The buddy system could save your life.... never
- Share the trails and be a courteous
biker -- trails allowing bikes have a
variety of users. Ride in control, obey all speed
limits, and yield to hikers and equestrians. Let
your presence be known in advance when approaching
Remember, the keys to mountain biking, as with life,
are to HAVE FUN and BE SAFE. Enjoy! Maps to all these
trails and more can be ordered from the Trail
- A good beginner's ride is on the trail system
within Long Ridge Open Space Preserve, located on
Highway 35 between Page Mill Road and Saratoga
Gap/Highway 9. This preserve allows beginning
riders to enjoy legal, single-track mountain
- For an intermediate ride, try the Page Mill
Trail in Los Trancos Open Space Preserve, on Page
Mill Road, two miles east of Skyline Boulevard.
This trail provides rolling hills that will get
your heart rate up and also will keep you
relatively cool under the many trees.
- For more adventurous and fit riders, give the
Purisima Creek Open Space Preserve a try.
Whittemore Gulch, an "epic" single track (closed
during the winter season), and Harkins Fire Trail
are both challenging routes that can provide a good
hour or two workout. The parking lot is located 4
miles south of Highway 92 on Skyline Boulevard,
next door to the Kings Mountain Country Store.
--Nancy and Marlene
Volunteer of the Month: Matthew S. Noall
If you're a regular on the trail building crew,
you've probably met him. He's the guy zooming in on
you from behind the Canon F1. Or maybe you've admired
the dramatic and richly textured image of the Santa
Cruz Mountains on the cover of the Trail Center
brochure. The photographer is Matt Noall. After his
first trail build left him with a blistering case of
poison oak, Matt began looking for another way to
contribute to the Trail Center. Fortunately, he
listed photography as one of his hobbies. The
newsletter needed a photographer, and Matt was put on
When covering events,
Matt avoids posed shots in favor of candids that
communicate what's really going on. "Building a
gently sloping trail at Arguello Park may look easy,
but the actual work involves cutting on a fairly
steep grade. You want to give people who aren't there
a sense of what that's like."
Even for the
photographer, things don't always go smoothly. Matt
recalls a Castle Rock event during which he attempted
to capture someone trying to split a rock with a
banana. At the end of the day, Matt discovered he had
no film in his camera. "I was pretty frustrated. We
all do it once or twice. It's still
An avid hiker, Matt
quips "I'm told I was hiking in the Tetons before I
was born." His parents met while members of the
Wasatch Mountain Club in Salt Lake City, where his
father was in graduate school and his mother was
employed as a librarian at the University of Utah.
Growing up in east Texas, Matt remembers frequent
hiking vacations with his family, including trips
through Colorado and New Mexico.
He first learned about
the Trail Center in 1986 from the Sierra Club chapter
newsletter. "I'd been enjoying the Bay Area trails
since I moved here after grad school in 1979, and I
wanted to give something back."
Giving back is a theme
that echoes throughout Matt's active life. In
addition to his full-time job as a systems engineer
for GTE in Mountain View, Matt is administrative vice
president of the board of the Community Association
for Rehabilitation (CAR) in Palo Alto, a human
services agency for the disabled community. He serves
on the Program Services Committee, does fund raising,
and takes photographs for their newsletter,
His long day starts at
5:30 a.m. when he heads for the local YMCA to take a
swim before work, and doesn't end until 8:00 or 9:00
p.m. after meetings with his volunteer work.
Matt also leads hikes
for the Sierra Club's Loma Prieta chapter, where he
has been a member for many years and serves at outing
chair of the Guadalupe Group. His own favorite hike
is Portola State Park in Santa Clara County. "I love
the varied terrain that goes from dense redwood
forests, through winding creek beds to open
chaparral. It used to be very remote, but now more
people have access to it."
with photography is another one of Matt's hobbies. On
a recent trip to New Zealand, he shot 19 rolls of
film. "I'll budget a roll a day. Trouble is, it gets
expensive when you come back to get it processed!"
Look for an article on Matt's recent trip to Hawaii
featured in this issue.
Trail Center Events
Monday, April 8, 7:30 - 9:00
Outreach Training at the Peninsula Conservation
Center for members interested in spreading the word
about the Trail Center by tabling our display at
trail events. For questions, and to RSVP, call the
office at (650) 968-7065.
April 11, 6:30 p.m.
Trail Center Board meeting.
& Sunday, April 13-14
Crew leader training workshop at Hidden Villa.
Tuesday-Thursday, April 16 - 18,
Outreach for the Trail Center at the Santa Clara
Decathlon Club (training provided -- see April
Tuesday-Thursday, April 23 - 25,
Outreach for the Trail Center at the Santa Clara
Decathlon Club (training provided -- see April
April 27, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
11th Annual California Trail Days! Celebrate trails
across the state by helping out at Arguello Park in
San Carlos. In conjunction with San Carlos Pride Day
we will be constructing a new trail through oak
woodlands to allow for convenient circulation into
the park from the neighborhood. For reservations call
the Trail Center office at (650) 968-7065.
May 9, 6:30 p.m.
Trail Center Board meeting at Peninsula Conservation
May 18, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. (rain date May
Trail work at Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve. We
will be building about 3/4 mile of new trail through
a beautiful stream-side site at Stanford in a
biological preserve that has limited public access.
Come help us on this exciting project! You must make
reservations through the Trail Center office, ( 415)
968-7065 and arrive on time to be admitted through a
June 1, 9:00 am - 3:00 p.m.
National Trail Days! Reserve this day to join other
outdoor enthusiasts across the nation by working on
our Arguello Park project!
June 9, 10:00 am - 4:00 p.m.
Outreach for the Trail Center at This Land is Your
Land - Environmental Festival sponsored by the
Midpeninsula Open Space District at beautiful Skyline
Ridge Open Space Preserve. We need you to inform and
educate the public about the Trail Center. See events
listing for outreach volunteer training date.
Thanks to These Volunteers...
- To the Board of Directors for
all the time they devote to all aspects of the
organization -- from board meetings to trail
- To all the dedicated crew leaders and trail
crews who attended Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve
and Arguello Park events -- you are great land
- Geoffrey Skinner, Larry Macmillan, Dave
Croker and Bob Kelly for
serving on the Projects Committee and setting up
great trail builds!
- Scott Heeschen for heading up
the Administration Committee and giving so much
assistance to the staff.
- Rich Allsop, Boyd Wise, and
Scott Heeschen for serving on the
Crew Leader Training Committee and working to make
our next Crew Leader Training the best yet!
- Ben Pease and Darwin
Poulos for serving on the Mapping
Committee. Special thanks to Ben for keeping hot on
the trail of our new map.
- Craig Beckman for his
dedication to producing the Activity Schedule month
after month, year after year, and now decade after
- Judie Corrales for her service
as our new newsletter editor. As one member put it,
"This is the first time in my years with the Trail
Center that the newsletter came before the end of
the month." (Congratulations to Judie for being
awarded a scholarship from the California Trails
and Greenways Foundation to attend the 1996
California Trails Conference.)
- Jennifer Gardin for her
awesome and artful layout of our newsletter.
- Anne Bers for interviewing
people and writing articles for our
- Matt Noall for his skilled
- Dorothy Bell, Yvonne Duncanson
and Carol Adams for preparing
Peninsula Parklands maps for resale on last minute
notice and for their consistent help with mailing
- Peter Nelson and Len
Berg for their ongoing data entry and
support during a computer crisis (our SE 30 died,
and we now have a new Power Macintosh computer --
thanks to the help of Susan
- Bob Tupper for hauling the
tool trailer to our work projects. Dea
Smith for her great ideas about outreach
and for bringing ice (and enthusiasm) to trail
builds. Special thanks to both Bob and Dea for
installing racks and bins inside our tool trailer!
To quote a member, "Now the gloves, papers, and
poison oak barrier creams do not roll around with
the tools. I've spent enough time dragging tools in
and out of the trailer to really appreciate the
work they did."
- Will Rudge for supplying ice
for our Jasper Ridge trail build.
For a Change of Pace .... more details to
come in May's Activity Schedule - save these
Saturday, June 8, 1996
A Premier Event: Hidden Treasure Hike! Come and join
Trail Center outdoor enthusiasts and Decathlon Club
members for this exciting new event! Meet at 8:30 am
for a continental breakfast at Decathlon Club, then
carpool to a mystery site, break into teams, seek out
treasures and new friends! There will be a small fee.
For reservations call (650) 968-7065.
June 15, 1996
Potluck and slide show of trail builds! Join with
other members and volunteers to celebrate our 1996
trail builds and successes - a great opportunity to
meet fellow trail enthusiasts!
Volunteers act on their good intentions - you
Help! We need members willing to devote an evening
or a weekend day to spread the word about the Trail
Center. In the next several months we will be
attending several events to inform and educate the
public about the Trail Center (see events listing).
We need you to sit at our display to answer questions
and pass out literature - training provided! If you
like meeting new people and want to give back to the
trails, please call and sign up to attend an outreach
training session on April 8 at 7:30 p.m. at the Trail
I enjoy the good fortune of having relatives in
Hilo, which is located on the northeast side of the
island of Hawai'i (also known as the Big Island). I
visit Hawai'i often, and love to hike in the island's
Volcanoes National Park. One favorite trail is Kipuka
Puaulu, which literally means "Bird Park" in English.
By Matt Noall.
Trail Center. All rights reserved.
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