Saturday, March 31, 2018

A Dessert Hike: To Bald Mountain and Back

Up to the Bald

Date: February 19, 2018
Place: Bald Mountain, Mount Umunhum Open Space, San Jose, California
Coordinates: 37.159630, -121.875483
Length: 1.4 miles round trip
Level: easy

At the end of our hike down Mount Umunhum I pulled my family from the parking lot, urging them to go on one additional hike: a short in and out trail to the nearby Balt Mountain.
Our additional hike to Bald Mountain and back as captured by Pappa Quail's GPS
The chikas made some faces but Pappa Quail urged them on after me. Before long they were running ahead. This trail was nearly flat up until the short ascend at the end. Up until that point it was also considerably warmer than the trail we hiked earlier.
Bald Mountain Trail
Trees were scarce along that trail and the mountainside was covered with thick chaparral. Most of the shrubs were still in their winter slumber but some were already waking to an early spring.
Manzanita, Arctostaphylos sp. 
In fact, there were some lovely blooms along that trail that I haven't seen earlier on the Mount Umunhum trail.
Blue Witch, Solanum umbelliferum
The entire Bald Mountain trail is exposed and as such, the views from the way are wide and sweeping. It gave as a nice, different angle of some of the sights we've seen from the summit of Mount Umunhum.
Loma Prieta
As I mentioned above, we didn't see many trees along that path. Occasionally however, some chaparral members pretended to be trees, growing to a good tree height.
At the far end of the trail the chaparral is replaced by open grass savannah. The winds blow strong there. Or at least on the day we were there it was blowing very strong. So strong that we had to take off our hats. The elder chika rebelled and started to walk back. I called after her and she found a protected corner to sit down and wait for us.
We didn't linger mush on the Bald Mountain summit. The views were terrific, but the wind was intolerable.
South Bay

The younger chika turned around too and run down the trail to join her sister. Papa Quail looked around then started down as well. I tried to give the views more than a few seconds of appreciation but it wasn't long before I couldn't feel my nose anymore.
Imaden Reservoir
I headed back down the trail and joined m family on the bay back to the parking area. In the backdrop loomed Mount Umunhum, looking down on us, reminding me that I didn't really summit it. Driving u and hiking down doesn't count.
We came down all the way from up there ...
We walked quickly. The chikas were already discussing where we should stop for dinner but I chose to linger behind and enjoy the last few minutes in this newly opened Open Space.
Sticky Monkeyflower, Mimulus aurantiacus

Just before reaching the parking lot the hillside is cut and the soil exposed. There I saw some very yellow poison oak plants. I've seen them in every shade of red and green but the yellow is new to me.. I wonder if that's lack of iron or the effects of the cold spell that the area was experiencing. Or ma be it's a mutation ... who knows?
Poison Oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum
Hiking to Bald Mountain was a nice dessert after hiking down the Mount Umunhum trail. But it can be a nice stand-alone trail for people who don't wish or don't have the time to hike Mount Umunhum, but still want to enjoy the views and the interesting vegetation of the area. Just hold on to your hats!


  1. Nice trail.

    Sadly I find it hard to track your blog as I don't get any messages about new posts...

    1. I don't know what the problem is with the notifications :-( I do post on Facebook every time I publish. I can tag you if you like ...