Sunday, October 26, 2008
The beautiful mountain
Looking for relief from the unseasonable warm weather and wanting to stretch or legs on a hike we headed to the Bay Area for the South Skyline Open Space Preserves in Santa Clara County. Our choice from the numerous parks was the Monte Bello Open Space Preserve.
Monte Bello encompasses 3,142 acres with 15 miles of trail for hiking. The trails vary from sunlit rolling grasslands to the shade of tree lined paths that meander along ridges.
Our hike was a good 6-mile workout as we made our way to a backpacking camp along one of the main trails. The weather was unexpectedly hot as we followed the sometimes narrow trail cut into the hills and valleys.
The trail often reminded me of the Mount Diablo trails, rugged, sometimes barren and hot. As we slipped from grassland to trees the colors would change from the golden grasslands to the purple tinged hues of the deep shade where the sunlight fought a one sided battle to light the trail.
Early in the hike I decided to try and channel the spirit of Ansel Adams for inspiration. I found myself switching to black and white mode often as the shapes and textures along the trail called for the simplicity and starkness of grayscale.
I have carried my 24 to 70 mm f.2.8 lens on the last few hikes and I confess it is becoming a favorite of mine. It give me a medium wide angle to short telephoto lens and is a great compliment to my 10-24mm wide angle. Despite the weight of the f.2.8 optics it has a nice macro capability which came in handy as I tried to capture the sunlight dancing off a spider’s web strung in the tree branched.
It was a great hike as we get in shape for a next hike, big one as we tackle rite of passage for bay area hikers, the Mount Tamalpais Dipsea Trail in early November.