I had wanted to visit Mount Gower Open Space Preserve for quite a long time, but since the two possible hikes in the area are both out in the open and without any shade, it’s something to be done only in Winter, or on an overcast day. Now, our Winter is not exactly what it should be this year (in fact, it’s cause of the worst drought in California, ever) but the temperatures are much more pleasant for activities in that area, nevertheless.
With this first visit, I only wanted to find my bearings and see the area, get a feeling for the hike – hiking books can be as detailed as possible, but it’s never easy to really understand written descriptions. For that, I did my little scouting trip quite lazily in the afternoon on January 9th, as an extended walk with Toni, and also to test my knee a little more after the injury in November.
I parked outside the preserve and entered the trail from there because I was quite certain that I would not be back before sunset – the gates to the official staging area, parking lot and trailhead get locked at sunset, and quite obviously, I didn’t want to get locked in. The trail gently climbs up towards a ridge, then drops down into a little canyon (where the only shade is), only to rise up steeply again on the other side, out of the canyon. Trekking poles are definitely a plus here and I was happy that I brought mine. This first section isn’t very long however, and as I continued on the trail it go easier again, and then happily goes up and down along the higher ridge. This was were I made the photos.
Mount Gower sure does look interesting there in the distance, with it’s bare granite outcroppings and chaparral slopes dotted with big granite boulders. Definitely a peak that I would like to tackle this Spring, hopefully after we get some rain – the landscape is in a depressingly dry state right now, and a little more green definitely wouldn’t hurt. My eyes are getting sore from all this bone-dry dusty pale brown around here…