Joseph D. Grant County Park

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Arriving at the Park I was struck by the quiet. Long tall grass swaying in the wind and not a sound to be heard. No one around. It’s the 4th of July; where is everyone?

No one in the car park, just one isolated vehicle parked a few hundred yards away.

We head out along the Dairy Trail and then onto the Brush Trail. Everything is dry and dusty. It makes you wonder how the plants and flowers survive year after year, but they do.

When I come here I wonder what it was like when the family of J.D. Grant lived here. How long did it take them to get here from their mansion in San Francisco? What was it like when the temperature went over 100o F.? It was not until 1930 that air conditioning became available. What drama was lived out here? What was their joy, what tragedies befell them?

Parts of the trail have copses but for the most part we are out in the sun looking at the brown rolling meadows, the oak trees sitting there majestically regardless of how hot it gets.

Instead of following along the Brush Trail we turn up the Dutch Flats Trail, however it’s not clear where this goes. It says four miles but thinking we would be on familiar territory we neglected to bring a trail map so we don’t know if the four miles will take us back to the trailhead or an additional four miles further away. It’s still morning and we have plenty of time so we go off to explore.
The first part of trail is uphill but continually passes through copses that filter the sun and lay soft light on the ground.
We pass an old fence covered in moss. I wonder how old it is. Once it was probably new wood erected to keep something out or something in. It sat here for who knows how long as the wood decayed and the moss grew on it. How many summers has it survived? What has come and gone during its lifetime?

Once we are on the ridge line we can see San Jose. Somehow seeing local civilization always makes me feel closed in, and so it is with seeing San Jose from afar. A nice view of the city but how much nicer it would be if it were just a valley with no houses, trees or roads.

The land to our left is private. Another old fence is keeping the cows separated from the hikers and bikers. Something about the view makes me reflect again on times past but this time I’m thinking of the early days of California when cattle ranching was probably a significant part of the economy.

As we move along the trail it’s clear that we are heading back to the trailhead. Grant Lake can be seen in the distance and so now it’s just a matter of finding our way back.
According to my trusty Timex temperature watch it’s now about 92o and we are grateful for any wind that we can find on the ridge.

Eventually we start down the hillside and it’s clear that the Dutch Flat Trail is just a loop around – something that is self evident when you look at the map.

Back in the car park there are more cars than when we arrived but it’s still deserted, none of the picnic tables are occupied and the only person around is a solo hiker returning to his car.

I guess everyone stays home on the 4th July.

Trail Map

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