I took a fantastic hike on Saturday, starting at the Rhus Ridge trailhead near Foothill College--up the Rhus Ridge Trail to the Black Mountain Trail to the summit of Black Mountain, one of the highest peaks in the northern Santa Cruz Mountains. Nearly ten miles up and back, and it was a bear--the first and last miles are particularly steep. All the details are at the outstanding Bay Area Hiker site, although note that there's a discrepancy in the text for this hike--first it's described as "mostly easy," but later it's described as "strenuous" and the last 1.2 miles as "grueling." YMMV, but it's 2300 vertical feet from the trailhead to the summit, and it pretty much kicked my ass.
May is the perfect time of year, especially after the wet Winter and Spring we've had. Everything's lush and green and wildflowers are in bloom everywhere you look. More shots in my San Francisco album if you're interested--hit "Previous Photo" from this starting point.
And an audio bonus: some birdsong (.wav file, 30 seconds), captured at the summit, and a burbling stream (.wav file, 39 seconds), rushing down a leafy crease in the mountain, about two miles from the top--all that water in May shows you how much rain we've had this year. What an amazing day; I'm so grateful for the experience.