Milpitas Camera Club Field Trip
Field Trip: Rancho San Antonio County Park
Trip Date: July 8, 2006
Report Author: Scott Hinrichs
Report Date: July 10, 2006

Eight early-risers rolled out of the rack at “o-dark-thirty” to make it to the parking lot at 
Rancho San Antonio County Park by 6:45 a.m. on Saturday, July 8.

If there was any doubt that this is the most popular pearl in the string of Santa Clara County 
parks it was eliminated by the fact that all of the parking lots had filled by 7 a.m. (Karen 
informed me of that fact a few days later—she showed up a little late—at 7 a.m.—and found 
no place to park! Sorry, Karen. We missed you.) During peak season, according to park 
system statistics, Rancho San Antonio can expect up to 3,000 visitors each day.

Our group was comprised of both veterans of last year’s Rancho San Antonio hike as well as 
some “newbies” who were visiting this wonderful park for the first time.. Our game plan was 
an exact replica of last year’s, since we hiked from the parking lot to the Deer Hollow Farm 
and then took the trail system up to the overlook on the top of the first ridge. On the top 
we saw the Santa Clara Valley covered by a layer of cottony “smaze” trapped in the valley by 
a common summer phenomenon known as a temperature inversion. 

Along the trails we saw very few mammals but the Stelling’s Blue Jays were abundant and 
seemed to be protecting unseen nests or territory in the buckeye trees. A moth trapped on 
the surface of the water in a horse tank also attracted the lenses of several of our shooters, 
as did the bright periwinkle blossoms of artichoke plants that were left to go to seed in the 
little garden at Deer Hollow. In spite of a conspicuous lack of much wildlife and all but a few 
wild flowers, participants seemed to find more than enough subject matter to keep the pace 
of the hike progressing at the rate of a sedated snail. We chatted with each other and the 
whole experience was governed by a general feeling of casual ambience. This was truly a 
very pleasant and laid-back hike. 

As we retraced our tracks back down from the top of the ridge, the summer heat began to 
gain on us and by the time we reached the horse barn near Deer Hollow, we all agreed that 
it was time to end the shoot.

Back at the parking lot, a subgroup formed and made its way to Mountain View’s Castro 
Street to take a well-deserved Margarita break at a Mexican seafood restaurant. 

This past Saturday's event turned out to be a very unremarkable, yet memorably pleasant 
day and we discovered that Rancho San Antonio can always please her guests—even in the 
relatively “ugly” season of summer! (Come here in February and you’ll see a completely 
different park!)

© 2006 S.R. Hinrichs