Time to Hit the Trails (with Peninsula Trails)


Thursday, 29 October 1953. A four engine DC-6 is heading for a landing at San Francisco International Airport. The plane is almost at the conclusion of the last leg of its journey from Sydney, Australia. with eleven passengers and a crew of eight.

The Remains of a 50s Tragedy

As the plane was approaching the west coast of the United States it encountered a fog bank. At 8:44 a.m. the plane's wings sheared off the tops of Redwood trees at an elevation of 2,020 feet, and the plane's fuselage then slammed into the west side of a forested and steep mountain area in San Mateo County.All of the crew and passengers perished.

Photo of San Bruno Mountain Park by jdnxFast forward to the present. Due to the ruggedness of the terrain, much of the plane debris was never removed and can be seen on a hike described in the book by Jean Rusmore and others, Peninsula Trails: Hiking and Biking Trails on the San Francisco Peninsula. The book is available at many local libraries.

Unique Natural Features

That hike also features intricate rock formations called tafoni, venerable old growth redwoods, and possible giant amphibian encounters along the Giant Salamander Trail.

Something for Everyone

The book is a wonderful resource for unearthing such hidden outdoor treasures of the Peninsula. I have been using various editions of the book myself since the 1980s, when I was looking for free, fun, and healthful things to do with my kids. The hikes range from short and easy, to long and advanced, and everything in between.

Enjoy the Improvements

Most of what has changed along the local trails since that time has actually been for the better. Today there are more and better maintained Peninsula trails than ever, and this book is the key to experiencing their riches.

Getting Started

To participate in an organized exploration of San Mateo County trails, check out Department of Park's Take a Hike 2011 schedule. The next one will take place on May 14 at the Junipero Serra Park. 

Photo credit: jdnx


Author Bio:

Warren Netz is a librarian at the Millbrae Library

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