Saturday is Windy Hill. We'll leave here at 9 and begin the hike at about 9:45. There are several options for this hike. The longest, usual hike is about 8 miles, as I recall, taking about 4 or 5 hours and climbing from Portola, up to highway 35 with great views of the bay, and back. There are shorter loops available, and the option of just turning around if we get tired of hiking. Plan on anywhere from 2 to 4 hours or more. We'll adapt the hike to whoever shows up. There are likely to be quite a few wild flower sights.
Bring lunch and a couple of water bottles. There is a stream crossing that is usually pretty easy, but plan on possibly getting your feet a bit wet. The trails are narrow in places, and you have to watch for poison oak. If we do the whole loop, over half is covered. We'll probably start up in the covered direction (clockwise loop), so if we just turn around, it will be almost all covered. If we make it to the top, we may try flying a fold-up kite.
Climbing up to the junction with the Sausal Trail, we came across another hiker with a bear-size dog who told us to look for the coyote just ahead of us. We didn't see him, though, as the area is heavy brush and poison oak off the sides of the trail. We did hear a wild turkey gobbling in celebration of spring. And Riffi spotted several deer on the edge of Hamms Gulch that we watched on an off all day long. Only a few wild flowers were out - mostly hinting at the upcoming display of California Poppies that should be out in a few weeks. A large field of daffodils was nearly past its bloom. The blackberries were in bloom. But, no matter how I try, I just know I won't be around during the few days that they are ripe before they are all eaten.
A large number of bushes and trees were toppled over. The gallery shows one tree fall where one tree fell on another, which fell on another, which fell on yet another, and they ended up intertwining among themselves and other trees still upright.
We met a half dozen other small groups of hikers, often with dogs, and three larger groups. At the ridge line, the fog was somewhat thick, causing the temperature to plumet. And the wind was fairly strong. I had intended to bring my kite up with me, but at the base, there wasn't any real wind, so I didn't. Next time, though. And one day, I'm going to be here when the blackberries are ripe.