Thinking Outside the Cube – March 4th 2010
This week, we finally found a park with some elevation. We enjoyed a beautiful day at Alum Rock Park. Weather was gorgeous. Ideas were sparkling. View was fantastic.
The first picture was taken from the parking lot. We started with a hike to the rock up there. It was a little steep for a change. Not a stroll around the lake! It is not as far as it looks though. It was a quick walk up to a gorgeous view.
Straight ahead we could see downtown San Jose in the valley. That day was very nice, and hot, but due to rain we have been having this year, it was a bit foggy.
The contrast of the green hills and the blue-ish bay was stunning. When you look around, you have a hard time believing that you are only minutes away from the legendary world-wide Technology headquarter.
We were not alone on the trail. Besides other hikers and bikers, we met a fair number of ground squirrels and a flock of raptor birds. I am not sure if they were hawks or vultures. We only saw them from a distance. While we walked though, they flew constantly above our heads, closer than I am used to. The big, wide shadows were quite impressive!
The park is very extensive with loads of trails. We decided to follow the North Rim Trail to the ancient mineral springs.
The geography of the area is conducive to charging water at least 7 different minerals. As a result some of the springs are salted, carbonated or sulfurous — yes, that would be smelly! I did not study too much the geology but I found interesting that the park used to be a beach… a long long time ago…
When the park opened in the late 1800’s, as a nationally renowned health spa. The 27 naturally enriched springs were used to fill up baths and an indoor pool.
Fancy baths and grottoes were constructed back then using rocks from the park itself. They make a fancy decor for professional pictures. The area is absolutely gorgeous.
If you prefer less “constructed” parks, just keep walking down the path… The stream may not be as wild as it was after the heavy rain we’ve had recently but when we hiked, it was definitely neat with many rapids along the way.
You can tell that we enjoyed that park a lot. I will definitely come back with the boys. For pictures or just to go wild on the playground, they would love it.
Fresh air does wonders on an open-mind. It is amazing how much work, thinking, analysis you can get done when you get out of your office or, in our case, just out of the house.
I wish they still had those sparkling baths, especially in the baths that were a constant 98 F… Although, it is said that a Midwesterner visiting the springs in the 1890’s sent a post card home with the message that he was sure he’d experienced a taste of purgatory!