There are no bad seasons here in Santa Cruz mountains. Wet winter clears the horizon and produces dramatic clouds, green Spring is full of wildflowers, Fall brings orange and bright yellow occasional leaves and smelly nuts to shine under yet warm sun above the brown and dead grass. Summer is all about fog. Fog covers ocean when you expect to get a sunbath, but fog creates the mystical patterns over the hills and ranges. Tall and majestic redwoods give you a shade; yellow grass sounds like the talented musician under the wind.
We hiked once at Monte Bello somewhere in Spring. I forgot my camera at home and felt sad that phone will never get the beauty of flowers covered hills.
Once this land was covered with the redwoods as well as other hills in the region. Nineteenth century cleared them, and after came Italian farmers which named the Black mountain as Monte Bello – beautiful mountain.
We stopped at the parking lot right across the Los Trancos Open Space Preserve trailhead parking and followed Canyon to the Bella Vista trails.
Less than half a mile from the trailhead we met two elk. At first sight of us the run on the top of the hill and pationly waited when we will go away.
I do not love parks east of the Skyline boulevard because all views that opens are at the bay and towns near it. Monte Bello differs from them. From the top of the Blcak mountain you get 360 degrees overview of the region: from the Bay to the ocean. And the view on South has similar looks as Tamalpais State park.
We turned on the Indian Creek trail and went downhill all the way to the White Oak trail.
I never saw so many insects before as there down in the canyon near Stevens Creek. We rushed back as fast as possible to get to the open space. The whole hike took us few hours and the last part of the path we finished under the setting sun.
The horizon was a bit hazy because of the recent fires but the sky still looked great!