too many words by laura lemay

more pictures of flowers and scenery

I was poking through a whole bunch of old pictures on my computer yesterday and I found a big pile of photos I took from a hike I did a zillion months ago. They’re not bad, and lots of people seemed to mysteriously really like the pictures I took from the hike I did just recently, so what the hey. Here’s a little springtime from a year ago on flickr in a photo set.

This hike was down the hill from me on the Los Gatos Creek Trail. The trail goes along the edge of the Lexington Reservoir, over the dam, along the creek and then on the old railroad bed into the town of Los Gatos.

The Lexington Reservoir is a man-made reservoir; its named for the town of Lexington that used to exist there before the dam was put in and the town was flooded. Along the trail you can still see the old road into town and in the winter when the water is low you can walk amongst the roads and foundations from the original buildings.

There’s an old story in folklore — I’m not sure whose folklore — about a town that was suddenly and mysteriously flooded and if you took a boat out onto the lake you could still see the church steeples and watch as the fish swam into the belfries and rang the bells, ding, dong, ding. Lexington is not nearly so romantic but I think of this story when I go walking in the old town in the winter.

This part of the trail is pretty empty and there are lots of flowers and wildlife. I saw lots of animal footprints in the mud while I was here including this very very large cat print. Given the size it is obviously a mountain lion. This isn’t that unusual; there are mountain lions in this area and chances are good this print is all I will see of one. Ten years of hiking up here in the mountains and I’ve seen a lot of footprints but never an actual cat. I saw something once that might have been one — it was low and mountain-lion colored and completely silent — but I can’t be sure.

Just for the record the town of Los Gatos — “the cats” in spanish — is named for the local bobcats. They’re much more plentiful than the mountain lions and I see them all the time.

In March when the California poppies are blooming the hillsides are really spectacular. The color is just amazing.

Here’s the rail bed at the end of the trail. At the turn of the century the railroad used to run all the way from San Francisco down the peninsula over the mountains to Santa Cruz. The city folk could take the train all the way to the resorts at the beach. There was a stop in downtown Los Gatos (good for a rest but not for a long stay; Los Gatos was a dry town) and then south to Lexington, Alma, Laurel, Wright’s and so on. The original railway tunnels through the mountains are still there although the San Jose Water Company owns them and has sealed them off to random tresspassers. I have heard you can get tours of the tunnels but I don’t know how.

This path is the bed where the tracks used to run — its perfectly flat and wide, which makes it good for walking and running. Unfortunately there’s also no trees on it which isn’t so good for walking and running in the summertime — it gets mighty hot. Fortunately at the end of the trail is the town and the Los Gatos Coffee Roasting Company. Iced latte for the trip back! yay!

See the full set of pictures on flickr.