Friday, October 31, 2014

Tony Look Trail

Trail length: .4 mile
Trail surface: Dirt and rocky
Trail ratings: Intermediate

The start of the Tony Look Trail is located below the Stevens Creek Reservoir. Make a left turn at the Stevens Creek County Park entrance, which is just before the reservoir. The road will go past a large parking area on the left. Continue to the right, go over a bridge, and you’ll see on the right a small parking lot with a small building. It has one handicap parking spot. The start of the Tony Look Trail is a short ways down the road and on the left.

Even though there is a handicap logo sign at the beginning of the trail, I wouldn’t say that this trail meets the ADA guidelines, mainly due to the angle of the trail’s slope. For wheelchairs, it’s a very short trail and about 3/4 of it is uphill. The trail is wide and rocky at some parts. The trail finally levels out and you’ll have a panoramic view of the back of the reservoir.

The only thing, in my opinion, that makes this trail worth hiking, is the beauty of the trail itself. Most of the trail is shaded by a canopy of trees. To the right of the trail and below, there is a creek. Fall and Spring would be the best time to visit.

After taking a hike on this trail, you can take a very short drive to the Stevens Creek Reservoir. It has two handicap parking spots and the back of the reservoir has a wide trail, giving you a beautiful view of the reservoir and the hills above it. See my video of the Stevens Creek Reservoir - 2012, April

To see more of the Tony Look Trail,
please watch my video.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Shoreline Lake

Trail length:  2 miles of trails. Can extend for several miles on the Bay Trail
Trail surface: Paved, and dirt
Trail ratings: Easy
Trail usage: Hikers, bicyclist, and wheelchairs

 Shoreline Lake, located off Hwy 101 in Mountain View, has become one my favorite places to visit. There are a few accessible trails to enjoy, and most of them are flat. Being an avid bird watcher and photographer, Shoreline is also a wildlife sanctuary to many species of migratory birds.

You also can enjoy the tranquil lake scene, and during the year, you can rent pedal boats, rowboats, canoes, kayaks, windsurfers, and sailboats. For a longer wheelchair hike, the Bay Trail runs next to it. This paved trail will take you to the Baylands Nature Preserve, another great bird watching area.

Lakeside Cafe, which is located next to the lake, offers a place to eat, accessible bathrooms, and handicap parking. It’s where we usually park.You can also access the other side of the lake by taking San Antonio Road, and there is a handicap parking spot at the far end of the parking lot. Because Shoreline Lake is so popular, it will sometime be crowded on the weekends.

For wheelchair users, this is a wonderful place to visit.

To see more of Shoreline Lake and its trails, 
please watch my video.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Horseshoe Lake - Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve

Trail length:  .3 miles
Trail surface: Hard packed dirt
Trail ratings: Easy
Trail usage: Hikers, and wheelchairs

I enjoyed this short, but scenic, wheelchair accessible trail which skirts along the lake. The dirt harden trail though was rough going at times and could use some maintenance. The end of the trail connects to the Ridge Trail, which crosses over a bridge. After crossing it, you’ll be rewarded with a panoramic view of Horseshoe Lake. The trail continues on to a trail junction. The trail to the left is the Horseshoe Loop Trail, the one of the right is the Tree Farm Trail.

I found the first part of the Horseshoe Loop Trail to be much smoother and enjoyable than the wheelchair accessible trail. Eventually, the trail leads to a small, steep hill which will be challenging for manual wheelchairs. The trail continues on, and after crossing a bridge, it becomes more narrow and you’ll need to wheel past overgrowth as the trail becomes steeper. Finally you’ll make it to the top where you’ll have a wonderful view of the lake. It is a very precarious spot though, and I found myself inches away from the drop off. As much as I was elated to finally make it up to this view of the lake, it was too risky at parts of the trail for me to consider to make a return trip, or even to recommend.

The Tree Farm Trail, though very wide, is a very steep trail with rocks and tree roots ready to slam into your wheels. Even with my power chair, I found it very difficult to navigate. Coming back down was even more challenging and a couple of times my wheels skidded out of control.

Throughout the morning, I saw several deer, lots of birds, and a snake sun bathing on a trail. There is plenty of parking and an accessible bathroom.
Weather can change quickly. When I first got there, there was a heavy mist hanging over the area. An hour later though, the sun finally broke though, so come prepared.

I would rate Horseshoe Lake 3 out of 5 stars. The wheelchair accessible trail is bumpy, but the tradeoff is the beauty of the lake and area. It would be a nice place to have a short hike and a picnic.

Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve, is located on Skyline Boulevard (CA 35).

 To see more of Horseshoe Lake,
please watch my video.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Baylands Nature Preserve - 2014

The Baylands Nature Preserve is 1,940 acres of undisturbed marshland, with miles of multi-use trails woven in and around it. It is one of the best areas for bird watching on the West Coast.

There are three main ways to enter the Preserve. First is from the Embarcadero Road, which will lead you to the Lucy Evans Baylands Nature Interpretive Center.  This dirt trail offers a close up view of various bird species.  It’s one of my favorite places for bird watching and for bird photography.  There is also the Duck Pond, but I have only been there a couple of times, mainly because of all the duck poop on the ground.

If you take a right turn at the stop sign, right before entering the Preserve, the road will lead you to Byxbee Park.  There is one handicap parking space, and an accessible bathroom.  If you enjoy a long hike, this is a great place to start from.  You’ll hike past the Mayfield Slough and then eventually see the Charleston Slough.

The third way to enter Baylands Nature Preserve is by taking San Antonio Road.  There are a couple handicap parking spots available, and an accessible bathroom.  What I like about this entrance is that, not only can you hike along the miles of trails, but you have Adobe Creek on the left of the trail, which is a great place to see the American White Pelican.  To the right of the trail you have a viewing platform that gives you a view of the Charleston Slough.  The bonus of parking here is that to the right of the parking area is one of the entrances to Shoreline Lake.  Another wonderful place for bird watching.

Most of the trails are flat and are made up of hard-packed dirt. The only drawback is that you’ll accumulate a lot of trail dust.

Overall, this is a wonderful place to hike and to enjoy seeing many various types of bird species.

To see more of Baylands Nature Preserve
please watch my video