Long Ridge
Mid-Peninsula Open Space Preserve
Santa Cruz Mountains
Santa Clara County, California
Sunday, January 25, 1998 4:45pm

Long Ridge is the name for one of the Open Space Preserves, a patchwork of land that's been purchased and permanently set aside in the mountains and foothills of the San Francisco Peninsula, which extends south of the city of San Francisco. By the time you've driven the thirty miles down to Palo Alto, the Peninsula is about thirty miles wide, meaning the ocean is about thirty miles or so due west from Palo Alto. Along the Peninsula is the upper range of the Santa Cruz Mountains. The hightest points in thei ridgeline are about 2500', and from those points you can look west to the ocean and east down on the Silicon Valley with all the various cities that stretch unbroken from San Francisco fifty miles south to San Jose. Palo Alto is almost exactly in between, and is located on the west side of the southernmost tip of San Francisco Bay.

There are magnificent hiking and biking trails throughout many of the Open Space Preserves. When I first moved to Palo Alto twelve years ago, I remember my first trip up to Long Ridge. I was stunned speechless. It seemed like the most beautiful place I've ever been. I'd describe it as pastoral grandeur.

I had reason to think of this particular photograph as it was taken almost exactly four years ago.

In the picture, you're looking northwest. You are looking up the San Francisco Peninsula along the ridgeline, which you can see in the distance at the far right side. Going to the right, down the eastern side of this ridgeline are the cities of the Peninsula and the Bay. Visible straight ahead and to the left (when not obscured by clouds, as in this picture) lies the Pacific Ocean, about fifteen miles away. Scenes like these stretch for almost seventy miles north and south along the Peninsula.

 

Jim Leftwich
January 20, 2002