Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Almaden Quicksilver County Park: The Perfect Sunny Day Destination

This whole working while it's 70°F and sunny out is harder than it looks. Fortunately, I finished up with my meetings early enough that I could venture out into San Jose with a bit of daylight. But where to go?

After a some Googling, I decided to hit up Almaden Quicksilver Park. The park, as the name suggests, was the site of a quicksilver (or Mercury) mine, one of the largest (perhaps second or even first) in the world. Not only did it promise 34 miles of trail, but there's also various abandoned mine structures to check out. That's my kryptonite: put a historic marker on a map and like a moth to a flame, I've got search it out.

The first order of business: getting from downtown to the park. I accomplished this using Uber, my first use of the service. I've got to say, I'm quite impressed. Taxi services have good reason to worry; what with the hassle free pricing and incredibly smooth experience, I imagine I'll be doing plenty of Ubering in the future.

Once at the trail head I picked up a map and started plodding up hill. Calling the location a County Park almost seems like a misnomer. This is nearly pristine wilderness that goes on and on for miles. I did a 6 mile loop and didn't touch the vast majority of the park. I saw beautiful flowers, countless interesting bird species, stunning overlooks, various mine detritus and even a ragged looking deer (which had an oddly white, rather than brown hide. Hmmm.). I walked through a stand of Manzanita trees and was shocked at their unique beauty.

As if all this weren't interesting enough, it appears that the mine even played a role during the Civil War. Check out this article to find out why Lincoln personally made moves to acquire the mine and then had to back off. Interesting stuff.

If you find yourself in San Jose on a sunny day, the park is absolutely worth a visit.

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