My visits to Monte Bello Open Space Preserve in the golden hills of the San Francisco Bay Area on two consecutive weekends couldn’t be more different. Whether walking or on a trail run like I was, both were intriguing.
The first weekend was cloud covered with low hanging fog that gave the golden grass at the preserve a unique look:
The rising sun was beautifully veiled.
And my favorite bench looked otherworldly.
The next weekend was sunny and gave the preserve the look that everyone thinks about when they hear the word California:
The trails were cheerful and open:
Grasses contrast nicely with the sky:
And my favorite bench looked spritely:
The critters were quite different from one weekend to the next. In the canyon, I found this 8″ to 10″ salamander in the middle of single track frequented by cyclists. He was unmoved when I let him know he was in danger from fat knobby tires:
On the exposed hilltops I found centipedes hiding from the sun:
In the tree covered areas, lizards raced me for short distances and usually won. This one was an extrovert and stayed long enough for me to snap a photo.
Here you can get high enough to clear the pollution in the valley below:
The paths are very well-marked and sometimes customized with a feather:
If you’ve read this far you totally deserve to see my favorite from both weekends:
Monte Bello Open Space Preserve is well worth the hike (with sunscreen) to experience some of Northern California’s true beauty. Enjoy!