Monday, December 12, 2011

Answer: Where is that trail?

Quick answer:  One end of the trail is here, near 13456 S Fork Ln, Los Altos, CA 94022 (or, lat/long: 37.376390, -122.16103).  And after reading through some of your comments, I was able to find the other end of the trail on Edgerton Rd.  

Here's what I did to find it. 

I kept thinking it was a "trail" so I kept searching for a trail map that had "Wallace Stegner trail" on it.  

That turned out to be a bit of a dead end.  It's partly because Los Altos Hills calls their system of trails "pathways" rather than trails.  I picked up that useful factoid by reading about Los Altos Hills trails and stumbling across an article that mentioned their "system of pathways."  

Once I did a search for [ "Wallace Stegner pathway"] and it returned only 5 hits (and one of which is broken with a 404 error).  Luckily, the link to SF Gate article about Wallace Stegner's house being demolished was good enough.

The key piece of data to take away from this is this sentence: 
"It [the trail] starts on Three Forks Lane where the narrow path alongside Matadero Creek near the Stegner property. "  
Elsewhere in that article it gives the Stegner home address at 13456 South Fork Lane, Los Altos Hills, CA.  (Note: Wallace passed away a few years ago and the residence has changed hands.)  

If you look at the Google map for that street address, you can see that the obvious nearby watershed is named "Matadero Creek."  And if you use Google Streetview to "walk"  down the street to the place where the creek crosses the road, you'll quickly find that location, here.
Click on the image to see the full resolution.  

Now, to tell the truth, even though I was THERE, because of the complications of the hills where I'd been running, I really didn't know where the official start of the trail was.  So this result surprised me.

Now, my next task... to find the other end.

Since I know that the trail is part of the official city "pathway system," I just did [ wallace stegner pathway ] to limit my search to the official city publications and that gave me the city newletter, "Our Town" from 2009.  In that newletter it says: 
"...Wallace Stegner Path from Three Forks Lane to Edgerton Road, named for the world famous author who lived for many years just uphill from that path."

It wasn't hard to use StreetView to find the other end on Edgerton Rd.  

Click on the image to see the full resolution.
Note that the first part of the sign was blurred-out by the algorithm
 that blurs out license plate numbers.  For some reason, it thinks part of
 this sign is a license plate.

To be sure, I tried following the trail on the Maps view, and I even tried Google Earth, hoping to get better resolution.  But the trail is obscured by heavy trees, and I couldn't follow it reliably.  Luckily, the city put up those handy markers to let me find it! 

Now... I have to point out that many readers found the Wallace Stegner Memorial Bench located up in the Long Ridge Open Space Preserve at lat/long: 37.278778, -122.160767   It turns out that I've gone running up there too, and it's NOT on the Wallace Stegner trail (or pathway), and it's definitely NOT in Los Altos Hills (as I said in the original challenge).  It's actually on Long Ridge Road (a fire road / trail).  

It's a beautiful place too... and for some very nice photos of the Stegner Bench, see SmugMug photos.

But I congratulate you on finding a truly wonderful place to go for a hike that perfectly captures the sense of Stegner's writing.  If you're in the area, I highly recommend a visit--both to the bench and to the trail.  

Search lesson:  (1)  Check your work.  (It wasn't in Los Altos Hills!)  And (2) when you're reading through related texts, be sure to stay alert to the possibility that what you're searching for might be called something else.  That is, your terminology might not quite be the right one.  Stay open to other ways of saying things.  

Search on!


  1. Dr Russell said:
    "It wasn't hard to use StreetView to find the other end on Edgerton Rd."

    Please enlighten.

    Edgerton Rd is such a long road. Please teach me how to use Google StreetView to zero in on that particular spot , where Wallace Stegner Path ends, given the fact that the only clues we had is "Wallace Stegner Path from Three Forks Lane to Edgerton Road"

    Thanks a million.

    1. Edgerton Rd isn't all that long. I looked it up on the map and found it was a short, dead-end road in Los Altos Hills.

      All I did was to start with streetview at the point where it starts at Black Mountain Road. I then virtually "walked" up the street. It took me about 16 clicks on the "forward" arrow... around 45 seconds or so to visually scan the side of the road until I saw the wooden marker. I could see enough of the marker to let me know that this was the other end of the trail.

      Hope that helps.