Black Mountain Brouhaha:
Much Ado About Nothing

Day 4, Wednesday, with John (50-59 years)

Logically, we should have started our hike at the northern gate of Los Trancos Open Space Preserve. That is the closest trailhead if one wanted to use the Page Mill/Monte Bello Trail route. John lives in Oakland and doesn't hike too often in the South Bay. He is also my Webmaster and I wanted to make sure we did what he enjoys a lot: long hikes. To give him a chance to hike a couple of more parks, we started from Arastradero Preserve, about nine miles from the Black Mountain summit. After about an hour, we came to a gate separating Arastradero Preserve from Foothills Park. Both of these parks belong to City of Palo Alto, but the latter is open to Palo Alto residents only.

In the mid-1950s, Dr. Russel Lee, founder of Palo Alto Medical Clinic, offered to sell the 1,400 acre property, now known as Foothills Park, to the City. That was a pretty large piece of property for a small town like Palo Alto and the City tried to get the neighboring communities to pitch in to raise the required money. They all refused. Palo Alto somehow managed to raise the money and acquired the property in 1957. Since the Park's dedication in 1965, it has been open to Palo Alto residents and their guests only. To enforce that policy, the City has required that the entry to the Park be only through the one official entrance station. Thus, even a Palo Alto resident cannot legally continue by trail from Arastradero Preserve to Foothills Park. (Update: Starting in 2006, Palo Alto allows any through hiker to enter the park from Arastradero Preserve and continue through the park to Los Trancos Open Space Preserve. Hikers are legally required to stay on the through trail.) On the other hand, because of budget constraints, the main entrance is not manned during weekdays and anyone can just drive in. John probably wasn't too thrilled to be a law-breaker. I, on the other hand, have no such qualm about breaking unjust, unfair or stupid laws. If everyone always obeyed all the laws, women still wouldn't be voting and the blacks would be sitting near the back of the bus.

We exited Foothills Park via a use trail, hiked Page Mill Trail in Los Trancos Open Space Preserve and arrived at the summit via Monte Bello Road. It had taken us a total of four hours.

Dinesh and John on the summit, each with a glass of wine

Thank goodness John is a Webmaster. If he were a wine master instead, he would have spit this wine out.