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Grant Ranch, Roundup - California, United States

by Brighto  
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So I went back to Grant Tuesday to do the loop I intended to do on Sunday; Canada de Pala, Hotel, Foothill, Bonhoff.   It was another nice day after Monday's rain and the trails to the west of the Twin Gates parking lot were closed to bikes and equestrians because of the rain.

The lower part of Canada de Pala is all downhill and serpentine.  It runs along the power lines from the road to beyond the Hotel trail.   I stopped underneath one of the towers to change to my big lens as there was a red tail circling.  As I was doing that I heard a screeching sound and before I could turn around to see what it was, a huge brown bird flew over my head and landed on the tower very close to me.  It was a golden eagle, but before I could get it in my sights, it saw me and bolted; dropping below the ridge line and out of sight.  It was immediately pursued by the red tail I had seen earlier, apparently upset at the eagle for violating its territorial  rights.  

We continued on down the trail and soon began to hear the Grant Ranch cattle lowing in the meadows below us.  Sure enough, when Cody and I got to the Hotel trail junction we began to see, hear and smell the bovine behemoths.  I don't know about anyone else, but I'm not sure that cattle have a place in public parks whether it be in this one or the Sierra wilderness.  Here we are paying big bucks to restore the riparian habitat and we have these huge non native animals tearing up the hills crapping everywhere and fouling the streams.  Where's the value added?

OK, enough ranting.  We continued on up the Hotel trail running into several contingents of the herd on the way until we reached Eagle lake which is supposedly closed for restoration.  I guess the cows on the other side of the fence walking in the lake and fouling it had been hired by the county to help with the restoration.  Sigh.

At Eagle, the Hotel trail ends and the Foothill trail hooks east.  This is a very nice, heavily wooded trail with a series of steep ups and downs.  At this point it was getting late in the day and we had to increase the pace to avoid getting a ticket.  We made it to Bonhoff as the sun was disappearing behind the Santa Cruz mountains.  

Bonhoff was familiar, I had limped up its steep hills a few days earlier.  My knee was okay today though, thank goodness.  It was dark when we made it back to the trailhead, but no ticket; thanks again...

Avoid the Hotel trail if you want to avoid cows and their pies.   Foothill, Bonhoff and that part of Canada de pala would probably be tough on a bike
J. D. Grant, Santa Clara County Parks, Mt. Hamilton, Twin Gates, Hotel Trail
Photos: See all pictures and videos from Grant Ranch, Roundup
Trip Info
by Brighto
December 23, 2009
Trip Location: Evergreen, California, United States
Length: 5.1 miles
Duration: 3 hours
Activity: Hiking
Trip viewed 4,970 times
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