Exploring Pulgas Ridge Preserve! 🐾 👣
Otter-Pop’s K-9 Social Club!
Our dog Otter-Pop and I enjoy exploring the many open space preserves we have surrounding us in the San Francisco Bay Area. On a gorgeous spring day, we went to bang out a 6-mile run at Pulgas Ridge Preserve in San Carlos, California.
Pulgas Ridge Open Space is a well managed 293-acres preserve that has a variety of trails and an expansive ‘Off-leash’ area for our K-9 pals to mingle and romp together. Some of the trails are quite rigorous, while others are paved fire roads, which make for great accessibility for people of all sizes, ages and abilities. Otter-Pop and I frequent the Dusky-footed Woodrat Trail on a very regular basis. This preserve is closed to bike riding, so you don’t need to fear getting blown off the trail by some yahoo screaming around a blind turn. All of these amenities lead to a peaceful, relaxing experience beneath the quiet, shady trees.
On a clear day, the expansive, breathtaking views across the canyon look like an early California Percy Gray painting. With the Santa Cruz Mountains flanking to the west, and Mount Diablo looming in the distance off to the east, the panorama is nothing short of spectacular…
What I find particularly pleasing about this open space preserve is the incredible wildlife living throughout. Otter-Pop and I enjoy running in the cool morning air during the heat of summer. At that hour we’ve seen coyotes, deer, bob cats, mountain lion, dragonflies, frogs, wild bee hives, snakes, butterflies, and migratory birds, along with the plethora of resident raptors (mostly hawks, falcons, owls, and turkey vultures). Witnessing these marvelous creatures dancing in the early morning sunlight is truly awe-inspiring.
Blue and Coast Live Oaks, California Bays, Madrones, and Buckeyes provide year-around shade, which is a pure delight during the hot summer months. The Spanish Moss dances in the breeze from the gnarled boughs of the massive oaks. Beneath the shadows of the trees you’ll find Manzanita, Snowberries, Honeysuckle and Gooseberries nestled among the ferns and moss.
Spring is a particularly lovely time of the year to enjoy the extraordinary pallet of colors resulting from the winter rains, including mushrooms, wildflowers and the delightful buzz of wild bees and butterflies. Look for mission bells, mule ear sunflower, milkmaids, columbine, starflower, hound’s tongue, giant trillium, woodland star, zigadene, blue witch nightshade, fetid adder’s tongue, Indian warrior, and my personal favorites fairy lanterns and sticky monkey flowers by late March.
A few gentle words of caution, spring is also when poison oak and the rattlesnakes come out of hibernation. While hiking in early April around mid-day, Otter-Pop and I encountered several very large, fat, Northern Pacific Rattlesnakes basking in the sun on the side of the trail. Each was kind enough to alert us to their presence with their heart-stopping, deafening rattle, which Otter-Pop and I genuinely appreciated. So, keep your eyes open and your dog close to you… 🐍
On a fun side note, my friend Carol’s Mom Elli Hess played an essential role in securing the property for both Pulgas Ridge and Edgewood Open Space Preserve across the street. There is a lovely meadow named in her honor at Edgewood Park. Otter-Pop and I are forever grateful to her for all of her foresight and effort to preserve these glorious places for future generations to enjoy! Thank You Elli!!!! 🐾 👣