Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Mt. Umunhum and Spring Break

The kids are on Spring Break right now, but we are going nowhere.  We don't usually travel this week anyway (too busy with baseball season) but we will frequently take the week off and do local stuff with the kids.  Unfortunately this year we couldn't find anyone to cover the office (plus I just had 2 weeks "off" for jury duty), so it is a mostly normal work week for us.  We had today off though and wanted to do a little something.

We started the morning off at Scramblz, the kids' favorite place to eat breakfast.  Then we decided to see how close we could drive to Mt. Umunhum.  Everyone local knows what Mt. Umunhum is-- The mountain peak with the big white cube shaped building at top that we can all see from Almaden.   An old military base (read here for details) the concrete tower was part of a radar system used to detect incoming aircraft during the Cold War.

For what ever reason, Vinny is fascinated with Mt Umunhum and the building on top.  Frequently when he draws an outdoor scene, he will include the mountain and building in the background.  We knew it was closed up top, but wanted to see how close we could get.  So off we went.

 We drove and drove, up Hicks Rd to Mt Umunhum Rd  We passed the Sierra Azul Open Reserve parking lot.  We finally came to a closed gate blocking the road.  There was an open gate to walk through, with a sign stating that the boundary of the reserve was 1.2 miles up ahead.  We decided to walk up.

 It was a beautiful hike, with amazing views of Almaden Valley below--look closely, you can see our house.  Lol.  I was surprised at how little the kids complained about the walk, which was straight up a hill.

The view was worth it though.

 So close, yet so far...

 We walked until we reached this sign, stating we were at the boundary of the reserve,  and that there was no trespassing past this point.

This is the tower next to the square building--some type of radar facility I believe?

When we got back to our car there was a nice Park Ranger waiting for us, with a written warning.  Apparently the "do not block access" sign that Pete parked in front of was real and they really didn't want us to block the road.  Thank you Mr. Park Ranger for not giving us a real ticket!

You don't have to go far, or do anything elaborate or fancy to have a fun family day.  It was just a few hours total, but we had a nice morning visiting with the kids, and enjoying some beautiful scenery right in our own backyard.


Anonymous said...

Nice blog! Found this on a search. If you want to learn more about the radar tower, attend one of the free public presentations. They are fabulous and very informative with lots of fascinating photos of the site when it was in operation. visit for details.

Suzanne said...

They found you, didn't they? Love a good track back.

I think that was an awesome adventure. I bet there is a geocache up there. That's one reason why we love to cache so much. Great family adventures often happen off the beaten path.

Love seeing how big the boys are getting.

Doug said...

The Umunhum Conservancy is working to raise the money to save the tower; otherwise the Open Space people will tear it down. See .