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In the Canyons of San Carlos -- Arguello Park

The Trail Center Blazes a Path on the Web

Farewell to Cindy Stead...

Map Committee News

New Maps Available

Wish List

Toot Our Own Horn

Give Them Memberships and They'll Walk for Miles

Ever Thought of Mountain Biking?

Volunteer of the Month: Matthew S. Noall

Trail Center Events

Thanks to These Volunteers

For a Change of Pace

Hike of the Month: Hiking on the Big Island of Hawai'i

The Trail Companion

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The Trail Companion (ISSN 1528-0241 (print); 1094-222X (online)) is the quarterly newsletter of the Trail Center.

Editor: Scott Heeschen
Staff Writer: Geoffrey Skinner
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Trail Center
3921 E. Bayshore Rd.
Palo Alto, CA 94303
Ph.: (650) 968-7065
info@trailcenter.org

The Trail Companion

March/April 1996

     

In the Canyons of San Carlos -- Arguello Park

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.
      Enthusiastic 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 working.
      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.
      Background and technical information for this project is available for viewing.

     --Geoffrey Skinner

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 you think!

     --Geoffrey Skinner

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, Cindy!

      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 several others.
      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 work!

      Map Committee 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.

     --Ben Pease



Wish List

(The donation of the following items for use in our Trail Center office would be greatly appreciated!)

  • 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.

     Back to Top


     

Give Them Memberships, and They'll Walk for Miles

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:

  • 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 behind.
  • The buddy system could save your life.... never ride alone.
  • 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 from behind.
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:
  • 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 biking.
  • 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.
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 Center.

     --Nancy and Marlene Stern

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 assignment.
      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 embarrassing."
      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, "Caring."
      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."
      Traveling combined 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.

     --Anne Bers

Trail Center Events

Monday, April 8, 7:30 - 9:00 p.m.
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.

      Thursday, April 11, 6:30 p.m.
Trail Center Board meeting.

      Saturday & Sunday, April 13-14
Crew leader training workshop at Hidden Villa.

      Tuesday-Thursday, April 16 - 18, evenings
Outreach for the Trail Center at the Santa Clara Decathlon Club (training provided -- see April 8).

      Tuesday-Thursday, April 23 - 25, evenings
Outreach for the Trail Center at the Santa Clara Decathlon Club (training provided -- see April 8).

      Saturday, 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.

      Thursday, May 9, 6:30 p.m.
Trail Center Board meeting at Peninsula Conservation Center.

      Saturday, May 18, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. (rain date May 25)
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 locked gate.

      Saturday, 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!

      Sunday, 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 building!
  • To all the dedicated crew leaders and trail crews who attended Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve and Arguello Park events -- you are great land stewards!
  • 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 decade.
  • 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 newsletter.
  • Matt Noall for his skilled photography.
  • 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 the newsletter.
  • 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 Williams).
  • 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 dates!

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.

      Saturday, 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 can too!

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 Center.

Hike of the Month: Hiking on the Big Island of Hawai'i

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.





     
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