Jim Handy and Bella at Belgatos Park
Do you like maps? My better half, Jim Handy, is crazy about them. And when he learned that the road just on the other side of the house next door is actually a meridian, he got pretty excited. I think it’s the engineer in him – that beautiful, inner geek – that loves the analysis of it all.
Today’s blog entry, then, is a Guest Post by my map enthusiast (and former volunteer parks commissioner), Jim Handy. This post originally published on LiveInLosGatos.com.
Many think of Harwood Road as the far eastern boundary of Los Gatos, which it nearly is, but there’s much more to this humble road than that. Travel uphill to the top of the road and you can see views of the entire valley and get into beautiful Belgatos Park and Santa Rosa Open Space, but the majority of the street, the straight part of Harwood Road, has the distinction of following the Mount Diablo Meridian.
View of downtown San Jose from near the top of Harwood Road and Belgatos Park
Back in California’s early days, great tracts of land known as Ranchos or Spanish Land Grants were defined by features that sometimes changed: they might run north to the edge of a creek, east to a tree, south to a boulder, etc. Some of these landmarks could move a bit over time, but when you’re dealing with a tract of thousands of acres, these alterations are very small overall. (more…)
Today is Labor Day – it’s many things, but it’s also the end of summer. But it’s not the end of the dry season. In fact, the rains won’t really arrive until November. So between now and then, the fire danger will continue to rise in our hilly, rural areas.
A few days ago, the coastal hills near Stevens Creek Reservoir and the Montebello Ridge over Cupertino (just a little north of Los Gatos) burned fiercely. It took a couple of days and a lot of firefighters to extinguish it.
Now the hills by Mount Hamilton on the east side are ablaze too. We just took a quick drive to the top of Harwood Road to see the enormous plume of smoke rising over the hills by south San Jose.
What does this have to do with Belwood, Belgatos & Surmont? Earlier today, Bella and I took a walk down Bacigalupi Drive and into Belgatos Park, entering on the side, as we do most days. The grassy area there is parched. The path is covered in wood chips and tanbark. And to my horror, I saw two cigarette butts among the wood chips.
Smoking is not illegal in the park, as my husband (the volunteer parks commissioner) reminded me today. But it is very unwise to do it in the tinderbox areas which comprise most of the park.
Should we put a polite request at the entrance to the park that cigarettes are a great danger to the park, to Belwood and to Los Gatos as a whole, and that putting them out in the grassy areas is inadvisable???
To me it’s obvious: fire season and burning objects over dry grass don’t mix. But apparently it’s not obvious to everyone.
Fire season’s not over yet. Let’s hope that common sense prevails and we won’t have any more senseless fires.