Panochita Hill

Sat, Jan 10, 2009

With: Ryan Burd

  Etymology Story Map Profile
later climbed Thu, Mar 20, 2014

This outing was conceived about as fast as I could possibly manage. I hadn't even heard of Panochito Hill five minutes earlier when I asked Ryan if he'd rather go on a hike or a run. "Neither?" was the not-unexpected response. "Sorry, that's not an option." I didn't really expect he'd choose hiking since that would be measured in hours rather than the customary 30 minutes for one of our runs. So when he chose to hike I made quick work of looking up a list of local peaks, finding something reasonable but not too easy, and preferably not on private property.

Panochita Hill lies at the southern boundary of Joseph Grant County Park, located in the Diablo Range just west of San Jose. The six mile hike roundtrip hike took us just under three hours, using a combination of trails and mostly easy cross-county segments. The 7.5' topo has a lot fewer roads than shown on the trail map provided at the entrance station, but even the latter wasn't all that helpful as many of the older road junctions are unmarked. Our general strategy was to head south, following a road if it presented itself, turning cross-county over the grassy hillsides if the road turned the wrong way. We passed under some high voltage power lines, one of the few orienting landmarks we could discern on the topo map. But this bit of orientation was quite helpful in allowing us to correctly identify our destination, the grass-covered Panochita Hill about half a mile south of the power lines.

The top of the hill was not marked by anything that we could find, just a knee-high grassy hill rolling off on all sides. The views were all pastoral, a pretty sight with the newly green hills coming alive in all directions. I had originally hoped we might continue the outing to the further Mt. Misery to the southwest, but time constraints required us to turn back after Panochita.

Overall it was a very nice half day, beautiful weather with sunny skies, temps in the high 50s. It was the first semi-warm day we'd seen in more than a week. Oh, and I forgot to bring the camera, so no pictures.


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