Ever wondered about the building on top of one of the mountains near Saratoga? You can now hike to the summit (or drive) and learn about the history of this place.
Mount Umunhum one of the highest mountains in the Santa Cruz mountain range (3,486 feet) was once a sacred site of the local Native Americans. In fact, rituals are still performed here today.
The Mountain is easy to spot because of the radar tower on top of it. From 1957 to 1980 this was part of the Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) defense system.SAGE was a network of computer systems that coordinated data from many radar sites and processed it into a single image of the airspace over a wide area.* Back in these days as many as 125 military personnel with their families lived at Mount Umunhum.
There are three parking areas depending on your intentions:
Jacques Ridge parking lot is the closest to the entrance of the park – furthest hike to the summit.
Bald Mountain parking area – from here the hike up to the summit is 3.7 miles
Mt Umunhum Summit parking area – 159 steps to the summit
We only did a short hike, from the Bald Mountain parking lot to the Guadalupe Creek Overlook 1.3 miles each way and then drove to the Summit parking area. But I would like to do the whole summit hike at one point. On the summit itself the views are amazing! We were there on a cloudy day, but on a clear day you can see from the Pacific to the Sierra Nevada.
There is also an audio tour app about the Stories of Mount Umunhum for free in the app store of your choice. You should download the audio tour before you go because there is limited cell service.
Have you seen my list of 50 things to do in Sunnyvale? Number 36 on the list (not in any order) is Sunnyvale Lawn Bowling. The club invited me and a group of my friends to come check out the game. Joe, a lawn bowl Hall of Famer, and Pauline were our coaches for a beautiful Sunday afternoon lawn bowling session. We learned all about the Jack (a small white ball) and the bowls that you roll at the Jack.
A game easy to learn – and hard to master.
Joe and Pauline were constantly helping and correcting us, but in a fun way. This sport is also relatively inexpensive. You have to join a club near you, but they usually let you use their bowls for a while to try out the right size for you. I think every club around the area has a drop-in policy where you can check out the game.
There are quite a few places in the Bay Area to try out lawn bowling.
The new exhibit at the Palo Alto Art Center is called Play! An artful approach to make us realize that we all need to be more playful.
The first installment entering the gallery reminded me of my son’s wish when he was younger that he wanted a rollercoaster in the house. The slide came out of the wall and connected with colorful paths up and down the wall.
Since 2015 Silicon Valley has a truly inclusive playground in Palo Alto’s Mitchell Park; the Magical Bridge Playground. The design is uplifting, you see all children embracing the fun. There are different climbing and sliding options, a fully accessible tree house for role play, multiple installations to experience sounds, and a nice shady picnic area.
This is by far the coolest playground I have ever seen – and mind you I’ve seen a few. The great news is that they are expanding. The Magical Bridge Foundation plans to open up another magical playground in Redwood City late 2017/ early 2018. Please consider to donate!
This year’s motto is ‘Color my run’ and if you participate you will get a t-shirt to color in your way and a coloring book. The event starts at the Westwind Community Barn and runs through the Byrne Preserve, a hilly and challenging endeavor.
If you prefer to explore Los Altos Hills pathways without a crowd challenge I advise you to get the pathways map from the Los Altos town hall ($4). This pathways system is quite unique in it’s vastness and it is used by school children, walkers, horseback riders and bicyclists alike. So, please observe the 3 Cs – common sense, courtesy and communication and enjoy your path.
Do you know of any hidden pathways in the Bay Area?
Or like Aziz Ansari put it in last weeks SNL Monologue: “[…]if you look at our country’s history, change doesn’t come from presidents. Change comes from large groups of angry people. And if Day 1 is any indication, you are part of the largest group of angry people I have ever seen.”
We went to Calistoga as kind of a pre-Christmas treat. One thing I know is that I have to come back! First, I did not get to try out the famous mud bath, (maybe I wasn’t ready for it?), the wine tasting rooms looked cosy and the lunch we had at the Culinary Institute was divine!
Before Silicon Valley this area was mostly orchards. There are still some places where you be reminded of this. I made a treasure hunt taking you to some of these places. Enjoy!
You can do this alone or in a group, or even with competing teams. I attached the questions as a pdf, so you can print them out and off you go!
Please don’t google the questions – where is the fun in that?!
Duration: about 1 to 2 hours
Distance: about 2 miles
Starting point: 490 W California Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94086 (please obey parking restrictions)
What is the Historical Landmark at your starting point?
How old is the current structure?
The neighborhood between Matilda, Maude, Bayshore Freeway and Fair Oaks Ave is named after a garden pest. What is it?
Continue south towards El Camino. On the corner is a shopping center. What is the name?
Write down the year C.J. Olson opened.
Who is quoted saying the following: “My parents moved from San Francisco to Mountain View when I was five… Silicon Valley for the most part at that time was still orchards — apricot orchards and prune orchards — and it was really paradise.”
Find the Heritage Museum of Sunnyvale. What trees are preserved in the Heritage Park?