Long Ridge got into my October hiking list without long thought. The Open Space is always on the top of my favorite places in the area no matter what season or weather. Great views over the ridges, animals that don’t fear the human, Peter Creek with its dark maple grown banks, even waterfall, the place has something for all.
The day was warm and sunny. And I have tired of waiting for clouds, or fog, or moderate temperature. The horizon was still hazy (took few weeks for air to clear after the fires) and it was a good sign of the stunning sunset.
We started at Hickory Oaks Trailhead. The parking here is small, but we arrived close to the sunset and found a place for the car quickly. Hickory Oaks is one of the best fall trails in Santa Cruz mountains. Huge oaks hide path in the shadow from the sun heat and give a plenty of acorns.
We followed from Hickory Oaks to the Ward Road and then looped on Ranch Spring trail to increase the difficulty of the hike. All way to the Ranch Spring trail is a descending so you would not get tired. But the loop and the way back will be your cardio workout.
When we returned back to the Warden Road sun began to settle. And, oh boy, I love this purple glow!
There was one more reason I wanted to hike here. Earlier this fall I read the blogpost about sacred Ohlone stones somewhere in Santa Cruz mountains. The author didn’t tell the exact location. But photos were so familiar, so I undoubtedly recall the place.
Hickory Oaks trail follows the ridge and has the great overlook on the very top of it. This place has a bench for tired hikers and the round of the stones. If you see them once you will hardly forget it.
One of the rocks has V-looking form. It’s definitely had special meaning for Ohlone.