First Blush

Reflections and sightings from [almost] daily jogging at dawn

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Sunrise 5:47 am: Hiking the Fifield-Cahill Ridge Trail




The Dawn Joggers spent most of the day on a 12 mile hike along the Fifield-Cahill Ridge Trail in the San Francisco Peninsula Watershed, something they've both wanted to do for some time. This watershed is where the water supply for San Francisco and portions of surrounding counties is stored. It's overseen by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

When they first moved to the Bay Area in 1990, they commuted along Highway 280 into the City and would look longingly at the protected PUC land that runs above Crystal Springs and San Andreas Reservoirs. But access was extremely limited. The female DJ can remember her father talking about the beauty of the area; he'd visited before World War II because his best friend had worked for the water department.

Then in 2003 a 10-mile stretch of trail was opened named the Fifield-Cahill Ridge Trail, a part of the Bay Area Ridge Trail. The entire watershed consists of 23,000 acres and is home to stands of old growth Douglas fir as well as Cypress that are both amazing given their multiple limbs (In the pictures, the Cypress are the 'stick' trees while the Douglas fir has has the more rounded limbs.)

Hikes are guided, and today's hike was ably and amiably lead by John Fournet of the water department. The DJs were joined by three other hikers. They climbed from 400 feet up to 1,050 feet in the first 1.3 miles; the views from above Crystal Springs were mimimal due to heavy fog. The fog had lifted enough that they did get to see "hidden" Pilarcitos Reservoir, which is located to the east of the trail, "hidden" as a result of its location. And along the way they were accompanied by mule deer and fawns. The group stopped for lunch at mile six and returned along the same trail, enjoying the different perspective of the trail in reverse.

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