With my son running in the Stanford XC Invitational on Saturday, I took the
opportunity to spend a few hours tagging a few minor summits in the area. Most
were in San Mateo County around San Carlos and Redwood City, none of them
terribly exciting, but not without some interest.
This unnamed summit was the most interesting of the bunch, located in the
pricier hills of Redwood City near the border with Woodside. There is a
located on the SE side of the summit called Easter Bowl. It comprises an
undeveloped hillside covered in oak woodlands whose primary users appear
to be BMX riders. The upper slopes of the park are a collection of
that look exceedingly fun and at the same time, downright dangerous.
Surprisingly, there is only a modest amount of grafitti and trash found
in the park. Above the park is the summit
of Peak 940ft, crowned by a water tower, a large white cross and a
smattering of cell towers. I found the juxtaposition
of religion and technology humorous. The views to the south
and southwest take in the Santa Cruz Mtns
while to the east and northeast is the urban sprawl of the South Bay. A
variety of fences and No Trespassing signs surround the complex, but
it is a simple matter to walk up to the top which many evidently do.
One can park off the road next to the water tank for an even shorter visit,
bypassing Easter Bowl completely.
To the north lies the small summit of Eagle Hill nearer to downtown Redwood
City. Though Eagle Hill has been nearly completely developed, the Hetch Hetchy
Aqueduct runs right over the summit on its way to Upper Cyrstal Springs
Reservoir. This can be seen as a strip
of undeveloped land running across the landscape. An easily breeched
fence with a large gap at the bottom can be used
to hike a short distance to the top
of Eagle Hill (the very highpoint is
located about 5ft higher in someone's backyard which I didn't visit - even I
have my trespassing limits). Poor views.
This unnamed summit lies just outside the southern boundary of San Carlos in
the hills overlooking Upper Crystal Springs Reservoir and Interstate 280. Like
the easement on Eagle Hill, the property here is owned by the SF Water Dept,
but policing is sparse. The highpoint is found just inside
a fence up against the road. About 1/3mi away is a slightly lower
point that was once a View Area
that could be reached from the freeway. It has been closed for a number of
years, a result of budget cuts, but it's hard to understand why it was ever
built in the first place. I hiked the short distance to check it out, nature
doing her best to reclaim the land through cracks in the asphalt.
and trash suggest it still gets some use by neighborhood youths. A buck with
one antler took off from under a tree in the center where it had been resting.
One side of the view area has been fenced to house a number of
cell towers. The view is decent looking southwest to the
reservoir and the Santa Cruz Mtns.
lies mostly in San Carlos, with a small portion in the city of
Belmont named after the hill. This moderately-sized hill has been completely
developed. A heavily fortified fence bars access to a pair of
old water towers placed at the summit many years ago. A
driveway serving two homes and the construction of two
new water towers is found on the north side of the hill and
provided a fortuitous access point to the summit. I half-expected someone to ask
me what I was doing in there, but no one came out to disturb my inspection of
the new facilities under construction. I found the highpoint tucked
into the NE corner of the water tower area. No views.
This was the most disappointing summit of the morning - this tiny hill is
completely developed and has no easement or water towers to help out. The best
one can do without serious trespassing is drive around the top group of homes
and try to guess which one occupies the highpoint.
After spending almost three hours watching cross-country races at the Stanford
golf course, I paid a visit to one more hill before heading home.
It was not clear who owns this small hill
SE of Stanford University in Palo Alto, but it's
signed for private property and No Trespassing. There are a number
of high tech companies headquartered at its base including VMware and SAP. I
could find no legal street parking, so I parked in the near-empty lot of
the Palo Alto Research Center, originally an R&D branch of the
Massachusetts-based Xerox corporation. PARC innovated a number of key
technologies including laser printers, the PC mouse, the Graphical User
Interface (GUI), bitmap graphics, Ethernet, and more. While
Xerox regrettably neglected much of what was developed at PARC, Apple famously
ripped off these impressive breakthroughs to put in their own hugely popular
iMac. Luckily PARC is not heavy on security personnel and no one came to inquire
about the suspicious van parked in their lot. After crossing the road,
I found a hole cut in the
barbed-wire fence surrounding Coyote Hill, climbed through, and made my way to
the summit in less than 5 minutes.
The hill has been heavily overgrazed by horses, leaving mostly just
bare dirt and much horse manure. Some old oaks
are concentrated on the crest of
the hill leading to the open, bare highpoint.
There are decent views to be had
from the summit of the surrounding peninsula landscape including the
Stanford Campus to the northwest.
Bob, boy you really pushed the envelope today trying to find "any high point" to describe, you certainly have motivation :) I was at the meet with my son too.Anonymous comments
Dear Bob. how about finishing the 2014 sierra challenge real mountain write ups before telling us about climbing "hills".