An easy first hike of the New Year tucked in between storms and holiday family and friend gatherings. It was a pretty spontaneous venture, so we didn't even arrive at the park until just after noon- pretty late in the day for us.

Parking for Fremont Older Open Space Preserve was easy to find- it was the actual trailhead that wasn't so easy. There were several large parking areas that were surprisingly empty as we drove around searching for the trailhead. We backtracked and found it along the road that passes the visitors center. There was a small parking lot at the end of the road where we left the truck.

We followed an easy grade up the Coyote Ridge Trail to the top of Maisie's Peak- arriving there after only about two miles of hiking. The views were pretty nice for such an insignificant peak, but I wasn't satisfied with such a short hike, so I easily talked Nora into continuing another .75 miles or so to tag nearby Knob Hill. Another nice view, but the wind had picked up and it was getting cold, so we didn't stay long.

We probably should have returned the way we'd come and all would have been nice, but I suggested that we continue with our original plan to follow the Lookout Trail back to the car. I'd read about it in one of Bob Burd's trip reports and thought it would be a nice way to pad the hiking out a bit. I told her that it was part of the total 6.5 miles I'd 'quoted' her before the trip, although that number might be revised upward a mile or so due to the unplanned side trip to Knob Hill. She seemed okay with that, but i could tell she was getting tired and somewhat impatient for the trip to end.

I thoroughly enjoyed this scenic trail as it wound its way over ridge tops and through lush ravines. Unfortunately, she wasn't quite as happy as I was. An unexpected bathroom near where the trail parallels the main road for a short stretch helped improve her mood a little. A short time later we found a nice spot for a snack break. This helped immensely- for a while. It wasn't that far back to the car, but I think she was hoping that the parking lot would finally be visible around every corner we took. Instead, we were faced with yet another set of switchbacks or a winding sidehill through a deep ravine. Because of her down mood, I felt guilty about the joy I was feeling on this part of the hike.

She announced that her bad leg (Achillies heel tendonitus diagnosed a year or so earlier) was hurting again (great!). I told her to lead the way and set whatever pace she was comfortable with. Unsurprisingly, it was pretty slow, but I didn't mind as long as she was more comfortable. The sun was often disappearing behind the high dark ridges to the west and she now worried that we wouldn't get back before dark. I showed her my GPS which indicated that sunset wouldn't be for another 2 hours or so. We had plenty of time to cover that last mile or two.

Finally, we reached the lower part of Stevens Creek Lake (still unexpectantly low in spite of the recent rains) and the dam. Once past the dam, we were back on the Coyote Ridge Trail which we followed silently back down to the car. I looked at my GPS and mentioned that the trip was about 7.7 miles total- only a little more than a mile beyond the 6.5 miles I'd originally estimated. The extra mile being due to the side trip to Knob Hill. That didn't seem to cheer her up much. Oh well, everyone has a bad day once in a while.

A couple of weeks later, she was back to her old self enjoying an even longer and harder trip with me in the Russian Ridge OSP. Good times or bad, she wil always be my favorite hiking partner. :-)
Maisie's Peak, Knob Hill
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