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Wildflowers and Wildlife at Coyote Ridge

Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve is a more recent preserve of the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority. It has some endangered species, so access to it is currently restricted to either docent-led hikes or special events where a limited amount of self-guided visitors are allowed. I took advantage of one of those special events last Saturday, hoping to get in some good wildflower viewing and maybe see some of the wildlife.

I rode my electric-assist recumbent to the start on Malech Road in San Jose. There I encountered enthusiastic and friendly volunteers who helped me get on my way after I parked the bike and switched to hiking mode. The is mostly classic grasslands common in California foothills. They are starting to turn, but we got a good amount of rain last night so I’m hoping they’ll stay green a while longer. It is a good stout uphill to Coyote ridge, after which the trail follows the ridge and is rolling. I saw quite a few beautiful poppies, lupine, and popcorn flowers. After a couple of miles, I ran into a couple of fellow ex-Ibm’ers. I was only there for three years, 1984-87, but Larry and Howard were there quite a bit longer, working in software in Endicott, NY, and later at IBM on Bailey road in San Jose. I continued along with them and enjoyed some story-swapping about our days with Big Blue. I was glad I did because they talked me into doing an out and back to a spectacular lookout point, which for me was the high point. We didn’t get as lucky about wildlife, no Tule Elk or hawks in view, but did see some butterflies, and also a raven. These are larger cousins to crows but more skillful fliers.

I had my little digital camera, but Larry is a talented photographer with a much higher quality camera, and he was kind enough to give me permission to use his (which are annotated below (C)Larry England).

This ended up being a 3+ hour hike for me, and together with the bike ride there and back added up to a four-hour workout, so I slept well that night.

At The Entrance. I parked my little recumbent next to the Porta-potty. Loma Prieta and Mt. Umumhum are in view to the WestPart of the big climb up to Coyote RidgeMorgan Hill’s El Toro looks like a molehill from up hereOne of the Many Helpful Interpretive SignsMt. Hamilton to the Northeast, with a few lupines in the field in the foregroundLoma Prieta to the West, with poppies among the rocks in the foreground

I took more wildflower photos but they don’t do the scenery justice. So I’m going to show some of Larry’s.

(C)Larry England, 3/26/22
(C)Larry England, 3/26/22
Poppies and popcorn flowers (C)Larry England, 3/26/22
Howard, left, one of the volunteers, right, and I, at the lookout point ((C)Larry England, 3/26/22)

Gorgeous Valley off to the East. The Open-space Authority has acquired a lot of this land, some of which was a former testing facility for rocket engines. I can’t wait to check it out when they open it up ((C)Larry England, 3/26/22)View to the Northeast of the Diablo range. Mt. Hamilton with the white dots of Lick Observatory, to right of center ((C)Larry England, 3/26/22)Butterfly sighting! Bay checkerspot butterfly ((C)Larry England, 3/26/22)Vista with poppies among the rocks ((C)Larry England, 3/26/22)

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