Back Again!

I promised in my last post that I would return to hike more of the DeAnza trail, which is turning out to be one of my favorites. It reminds me a lot of Briones in the East Bay, with its cloud-brushing climbs and views of surrounding rolling hills.

For anyone planning on checking it out, here is what the trailhead looks like. It’s just outside of San Juan Bautista, and pretty easy to find.
DeAnza trailhead

A welcome sign, and there were brochures in a box just behind this. The DeAnza trail, as you can see, travels all the way from Mexico through Arizona and California, ending at San Francisco. Not all of it is hikeable, but there is a lot of interest in trying to make it so.
DeAnza welcome sign

It’s just a little over a month since my last visit, but there have been changes. Signs of spring abound!
New growth

A view up the valley. The dirt in the foreground is a corral, and a group of four cowboys was practicing calf roping. Later, a class was practicing turning their horses in tight circles. I should mention that at this point I’d only been hiking around 10 minutes, and had started out at about the same level as the ranch – yet it didn’t feel all that steep.
The view up the valley

It does get steeper here and there.
Up up and away

This is cattle country, and there are barbed wire fences on either side of the trail. I love the road in the background of this photo – it winds its way up and over the hills, and looks like it would be a blast to drive, and makes me wish I still had my motorcycle.
Fence and distant road

The way the road curved, and the green and roll of the hills, and the farm nestled in the valley, reminded me of paintings by Grant Wood. This one is titled Rural Scene.
Grant Wood Rural Scene

More barbed wire.
DeAnza trailhead

A gate, with distant cattle.
A gate leads to rolling hills

Downhill fence.
Downhill fence

This fence made me think of Maynard Dixon’s painting, No Place to Go.
Maynard Dixon No Place to Go

The shapes of the hills and trees against the sky! The lines created by the wire fence! The blue! The green!
Designs in nature

The trail is mostly open, but occasionally goes through stands of oak and pine.
Going in to the light

A tenacious tree.
Tenacious tree roots

This is the point at which the trail finally begins its downward course, and the point at which I turned around. In the distance, Watsonville and eventually the Pacific. Lessons learned: either don’t stop at home and pause to check email etc. before going on an afternoon hike, because you will suddenly lose an hour or two; or, don’t go for a hike on a day when you have dinner plans with friends. And especially don’t do both.
Towards Watsonville

On the way back to the car, I saw that the moon had been caught in a fence.
Moon in the fence

Author: Melissa

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