Sunday, May 09, 2010

Palo Alto Baylands

Palo Alto Baylands is sort of my home park. Its just a five minute drive from my condo. When my hiking buddy, L, cancelled on the Pinnacles hike we planned today, I decided to go on a solo hike at the Baylands. I had a blast.

When I started the hike rain arrived, but it didn't last that long. I got just a bit damp but not soaked. The sky views were incredible all day long as the clouds and blue sky and rain rolled in and out. Gnats were abundant at times and seemed to come in clouds. I saw the usual small airplanes landing and taking off from the Palo Alto airport and I saw some jets way up in the air on their way to and from the SF airport or the SJ airport. I saw the usual assortment of sea birds: ducks, geese, pelicans, coots, gulls, herons, egrets, and more whose names don't roll off my tongue. I saw one hare disappearing into the bushes but that was my only wild mammal sighting of the day. I did see quite a few dogs being walked and of course human beings enjoying the park as I was. I saw quite a few snails.

I made it to the nature center around 10 a.m. I always enjoy walking out the board walk and seeing the San Francisco bay, the Coyote Hills, and the Dumbarton bridge. On the way back I stopped by at the duck pond and took some pictures of the Bird Migration Sanctuary that I never really knew was there before. Discovering new stuff on a hike you have been on lots of times is fun. I then hiked back to the small dam and crossed it and headed back to the cars while watching some very dark clouds approach. About a mile away from the end of the hike the wind picked up and ripples covered the water and then the rain just came pouring down. I was poured on for about 5 to 10 minutes and it was wet wet wet and cold cold cold. Phew! But before I knew it, it was over and heading off across the bay to the east bay. I kept up a very fast pace to stay warm as I hadn't really worn the proper cloths to stay warm when wet. I was somewhat amazed though that before I ever got back to the car, the blue sky returned and the sun came out. Wow. What a fast fierce storm! I reached the car at 11:30 a.m. and headed home for a nice hot shower. It was a fun hike and it felt very adventurous to have been poured on so vigorously.

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