Tag Archives: Castle Rock

Geo-Caching- What’s That?

A short definition first and then you can discover MORE!


GEO-CACHING: The recreational activity of hunting for and finding a hidden object by means of GPS coordinates posted on a website. It’s fun, it’s international, it is like a treasure hunt, and you have the thrill of finding the cache. You can enjoy this by yourself, with friends or with families and kids. It is a fun way to learn how to navigate. You can decide when/where and how long you want to take. You can be low-tech or load up on gadgets.

REI has geo-caching classes and a 4 min online video on using your GPS.

Sports Basement in Sunnyvale has a Free Climbing clinic on September 19.

g4kidsThere are many resources for climbing, geo-caching and learning more about the places in CA that climbers love. Castle Rock is one of these amazing places where there are many climbers and the climbing community is strong and committed to caring for this magical place.

And related to these sports are the ever-popular MUDDER RUNS….. SB has a clinic coming up.

Rock ‘n’ Mud Bash

Tuesday, September 11, 2012  /  6:00pm – 8:00pm
Sunnyvale Store

Come one, come all, to celebrate fitness, fun and friends at the 2012 Rock ?n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon and Columbia Muddy Buddy San Jose kick-off party!

Hiking and Ayurveda

ayurveda spices We have different bodies, and ayurveda medicine acknowledges these differences by suggesting different foods and spices to make each person more comfortable and healthier. This concept can also be used during hiking, by looking at the different attributes of each person constitution.  You can achieve better balance by knowing yourself.

Consider this please:
For Pitta – You may suffer from the heat and should not hike in the direct sun or at midday.
Use the Sitali (cool Breath) yoga technique to feel cooling in the body and stomach.
Drink LOTS of cool water, stay hydrated.
Stay calm.
Protect yourself from the heat, using hats, ventilated shoes, and light shirts.
Rest in the shade.

For Kapha – You may suffer from lethargy or allergies if you are not balanced. Both of which can be common on a long hike, or on a high-pollen day.
Use the Bikram Pranayama breath technique to feel ready to enjoy the hike.
You have great endurance which is lovely while hiking.
Keep a measured pace, there is no rush.
Rather than hurry to keep up and feeling exhausted, just keep hiking at a moderate pace.

For Vata – You may feel impatient while waiting for the hike to begin, however take enough time to stretch and prepare. Relax and focus.
Use the Nadi Shadhana (alternate nostril) pranayama breath technique to enhance your enjoyment of the hike.
You have strength and will start out strong, however, you energy may flag later, if you do not pay attention to what you need.
Stay hydrated with room temperature water.

Thanks to Dr. Rucha Kelkar, BAMS, MPT for assistance in creating this page just for our yoga hikers!  There is so much information that could be included here on hiking and Ayrveda, this is but a small start.  Her contact information is www.ayurbliss.com, info@ayurbliss.com phone: (949)293-2950.

Enjoying the Outdoors!

Settling In!

Set your intention, decide to commune with nature
Be Still. Use the surroundings as a “role model”
Allow your thoughts to slow down
Take three deep breaths
Repeat a relaxing phrase, we’ll use:

  • I am awake
  • I am alive

Find or create a boundary from the busy world to the beginning of the hike (i.e. transition to the dirt path)

Now that we are starting to get in tune with the natural world…
We’ll do a relaxation exercise
Count slowly from FIVE to ZERO
With each count let go of more tension (may be repeated)
Release again from the outer layer of skin to central organs, notice your breath
Slow stretches, neck rolls, shoulder shrugs
Notice the tension drain from the face and neck, core, gluts – out the fingers and toes

Castle Rock, hikes and distances, notes to plan with

Service Road – from Skyline Blvd. to the Campsites 1-5 is 1.2 miles, it is hilly and sometimes steep, the road has gravel patches and loose soil. This road is gated, ranger use only, however, you can walk through the hiking entrance and walk down the road.
From the Castle Rock parking lot to Goat Rock is 1.4 miles
From Goat Rock to the Campgrounds 1-5 is 2.2 miles and takes about one hour to hike
Poison Oak is abundant on the trails during the summer!
There are miles of trails here, and even trails that connect to the ocean
Some short sections of trail are steep, and there are portions of Saratoga Gap Trail that require brief scrambles on narrow exposed paths with sharp drop-offs.  Hiking poles help.
The trail to Goat Rock has stairs on part of the trail.
Some trails involve climbing up short sections of rock & boulders.

Click on the HIKE Category in this site or use the SEARCH TOOL to find out more about Castle Rock.

Info on Plants and Poison Oak is also available!

Plants at Castle Rock

Depending on slope exposure and moisture, you’ll see several types of terrain, plants and rock formations. Wind, water and soil make a big difference in the way each trail and hillside appear.
There are Oak -Bay woodlands throughout the park. California Bay is a common tree to this area and is known by many names, Bay Laurel, Oregon Mytle and others, you can identify it by it’s pungent smell.
On south facing slopes, where it is dryer and hotter, you’ll see chaparral-studded hillsides with few trees.
Forested areas, California Bay, Madrone, Tanoak, and Douglas fir are abundant and provide shade. The fascinating sandstone rock formations known as Tafoni look pitted and sponge-like along the trail.

Caution – there is poison oak on or near the trails. We have even found it hanging in the trail from taller branches!

PESKY POISON OAK

It mimics all kinds of plants. At first glance it looks like a berry, sometimes a vine, sometimes it sheds its leaves. Whether you notice it, this is the HIGH SEASON for POISON OAK.poison-oak It is along the paths in the parks and prevalent on hiking trails. Sometimes it is so bold as to hang down onto the trail, as it does in Castle Rock State Park. Watch out! Stay on the trail.

If you do touch it, do not touch your face. If you have the oil on your hands use a combination of water and soap to get the oil off. Having a bottle of Dawn dishwashing detergent diluted with water for easy cleaning is a great idea. You don’t need much of a watered down solution, you just need to get the oil off your hands.

Also, try using Bennedryl Gel, it is anti-itch and really helps calm down the skin irritation. Do not itch it, it will spread and start to make blisters if you do.

Once you are out of the woods or off the trail, take a luke warm shower, use lots of soap. If you have stepped on the leaves or their were poison oak leaves on the trail, your shoes may have the oil on them. Clean them as you would your hands. And beware, your dog can come home with the oil on their coat.

In fact, I once got poison oak from a goat. Goats can eat it and not get sick. Then the oil is on their fur. I touched the goat, and voila! I had a case of poison oak, hot red itchy skin. Ouch!

Status of California State Parks

Castle Rock State Park is a treasure, climbers and hikers love it.

With Budget difficulties in California, several parks have been considered for closure to public access.
Castle Rock was on the list to be closed, but was granted a reprieve for one year by The Sempervirens Fund, here’s the press release:

Sempervirens Fund Commits $250,000 to
Keep Castle Rock State Park Open
Agreement with State Parks signed on June 11, 2012
One-third of park will be open to hikers for the first time
LOS ALTOS, CA – Sempervirens Fund, a nonprofit conservation group, and California State
Parks, announced this week that they have finalized an agreement wherein Sempervirens will
provide $250,000 to keep Castle Rock State Park open for one year, starting July 1, 2012.  Castle
Rock was one of the 70 parks slated to close this summer, but will now remain open to the
public.  Sempervirens Fund is leading a collaborative fundraising effort with the Portola and
Castle Rock Foundation, Adventure Out, and REI, with additional support from Planet Granite
and Pacific Edge Climbing Gym.
As part of the agreement, an area of Castle Rock previously closed to public access, the San
Lorenzo River Redwoods, will be open on July 1, 2012.  The addition of this 1,340-acre area,
which contains the headwaters of the San Lorenzo Rivers and stunning redwood forests, will
increase the accessible area of Castle Rock by 35% and add to the park’s trail system.

Sempervirens Fund Commits $250,000 to Keep Castle Rock State Park Open

Agreement with State Parks signed on June 11, 2012

One-third of park will be open to hikers for the first time

LOS ALTOS, CA – Sempervirens Fund, a nonprofit conservation group, and California State Parks, announced this week that they have finalized an agreement wherein Sempervirens will provide $250,000 to keep Castle Rock State Park open for one year, starting July 1, 2012.  Castle Rock was one of the 70 parks slated to close this summer, but will now remain open to the public.  Sempervirens Fund is leading a collaborative fundraising effort with the Portola and Castle Rock Foundation, Adventure Out, and REI, with additional support from Planet Granite and Pacific Edge Climbing Gym.

As part of the agreement, an area of Castle Rock previously closed to public access, the San Lorenzo River Redwoods, will be open on July 1, 2012.  The addition of this 1,340-acre area, which contains the headwaters of the San Lorenzo Rivers and stunning redwood forests, will increase the accessible area of Castle Rock by 35% and add to the park’s trail system.


Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. ~John Muir

YTT Yoga Overnight

Our group of 200 hour Yogis in Yoga Teacher Training created an amazing experience at Castle Rock. We had a yoga hike, rock climbing with our experts, and great food provided by Gemma. We stayed at the campground at Castle Rock and were put to rest by the sitar and awakened by the dijeredoo at the break of morning.

We did observation exercises, learned about our practices and prepared to go into the world and teach.

Castle Rock Geology

Rocks that change and flow!

We think of rock formations as solid and unyielding, but Castle Rock has great examples that help us undertstand how much influence the elements can have and how this entired area is changing.  Vaqueros Sandstone is the name of the formation underlying Castle Rock State Park.

It looks like it might have once been pudding, or melted and bubbled – it has a special name- TAFONI. These intricate patterns result from the different erosion rates of the harder and softer regions within the sandstone. The harder regions with more calcium stay cemented together, while the softer regions with less calcium erode away. This formation might also remind you of fossilized sponge or coral.

TIMELINE: this entire area was once a broad sea floor, 30 to 40 million years ago. It was once a marine shelf, the sediments were deposited before the San Andreas fault existed.

The falls continue pushing the changes in the park: Phil Stoffer of the USGS in Menlo Park says

“In winter and spring, Castle Rock Falls, on Kings Creek near the Saratoga Gap trail, plunges about 80 feet down the rocks. Vaqueros Sandstone formations are found at spots around the Central Valley and at locations in the northern and southern Coast Range. Whether it was all originally formed in a single location and then broken up is not known. It could have been formed by similar conditions off the mouths of many ancient rivers during that era. In many areas, Stoffer says, the formation is just a few feet thick. But in the Santa Cruz Mountains, it crops up in a uniquely coherent mass, more than 2,000 feet thick.

The sandstone, a mix of quartz and feldspar crystals lightly glued together with organic compounds from ancient sea life, continues its journey today. Tectonic upthrust here matches or exceeds annual erosion, so the stone moves ever higher, and elements migrate within the rock, dramatically sculpting the shapes of exposed knobs of stone. Rainwater infiltrates the rock and dissolves calcium carbonate and other glues within it, then transports them back out to the rock surface via capillary action. Here they harden and armor the outer surface with a shell up to several feet thick. Meanwhile, unglued inner grains crumble, hollowing the outcrops from within.”

The sculpted shapes have built the large and distinctive forms of Castle Rock itself, Goat Rock, Skull Rock, and other smooth and bulbous nodes that attract and awe hikers and climbers. Some pictures of GOAT ROCK follow.