A Tribute to Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve

I want to take this opportunity to pay my own tribute to Rancho San Antonio County Park and Open Space Preserve (RSA). RSA is both a county park (one part) and the rest an open space preserve owned and managed by the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (MROSD), a separate governmental entity that spans San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. The whole thing is administered by MROSD. It has been a favorite place of mine since I moved back to the valley in 1980 and today was a somewhat special day.

I went on my regular out and back run today from Lot 1 (formerly called the horse trailer lot) to the far western point on the Rogue Valley Trail (N37 19.772 W122 05.139 to N37 20.332 W122 07.638 for you geocachers) and three unusual things happened. On the road to the farm next to the Lower Meadow Trail I saw a buck with an impressive set of antlers just to the left of the trail. The deer there are used to people, although they will usually avoid us and the bucks are shyer than the does. This one stayed put and eyed me, then as I got close it lowered its antlers and started toward me. This startled me for a second, but it immediately became clear he was heading to cross the road behind me. He trotted briskly across the road  and I turned to watch as he leapt over the wire fence (at approximately N37 19.913 W122 5.848). The fence isn’t very high, but it was a magnificent display nonetheless. There was only one other person who saw this, a man coming the opposite way. He stopped in his tracks and said “Wow! Amazing!” I told him we got to see a nature show.

That was on the way up. On the way back I was nearing the parking areas and two old men (by that, I mean about my age) were walking ahead of me when we all saw a dust devil whirl up some dirt from the trail directly ahead of us, It formed a violent funnel for a few seconds then disappeared just as quickly as it had formed. As I passed, one man said to the other, laughing, “I guess we can tell people we saw a tornado today.” It was no tornado, but it was unusual.

Finally, on the very last leg, on the Permanente Creek Trail I saw a lone coyote standing right in the middle of the trail about a hundred yards ahead of me. It didn’t seem to notice me as it was facing the other way. I kept running, expecting it to run off. Instead, it started trotting slowly away from me, toward the PG&E Trailhead. I wasn’t gaining on it at first, but after twenty yards or so it spotted some hikers on that trail where it crosses the trail we were on and it slowed, then stopped. I kept going and got to about fifty yards away when it turned and noticed me. It then dodged into the bushes to my left. I never saw it after that. Behind me was another jogger gaining on me (almost everyone is faster than me now) so I turned to him and asked if he’d seen it, too. He confirmed he had and gave me a big grin.

Where else in a busy high-tech hub like Silicon Valley can you see such a fun nature display? I’m not even including the everyday attractions of the place like the cute baby goats at Deer Hollow Farm, flocks of wild turkeys and quail, bunnies, and the hikers talking a myriad of foreign languages. I hear Mandarin and Spanish nearly every time I go there and have often heard German, Japanese, Italian, Greek, Hebrew, and various Indian or other Asian subcontinent languages I don’t know. If I want the place all to myself I can go early on a cold, rainy winter morning. The nature show is often great those days. So RSA, my hat (or running cap) is off to you. Thank you for the many years of enjoyment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.