From the San Jose Mercury News, Feb. 14, 2008

So you think he might be the One, but the real deal-killer question looms: What kind of hiker is he?

Nice day for a walk

Park profile

Acres: 165 in the county park; 3,800 in the neighboring open space preserve.

Miles of trails: 24-plus

Hours: 8 a.m. to half-hour after sunset. Deer Hollow Farm is open Tuesday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (except Wednesdays, when it closes at 1 p.m.)

Limitations: No dogs

Parking: Free (carpooling is advised, as the lots fill quickly on weekends)

Driving directions:
From I-280, take the Foothill Boulevard exit and head south on Foothill for 0.2 miles to Cristo Rey Drive. Turn right, go about a mile, veer right around the traffic circle, and turn left into the county park entrance.

On the Web:

Will he match your pace out of kindness, leave you behind out of rudeness or get you both lost out of cluelessness?

A few hours at Rancho San Antonio County Park and Open Space Preserve might just settle the matter. The trails are wide and well-maintained, inclines go from flat to steep and back in short order, and there’s even a farm to see how he behaves around kids and livestock.

Just down the road from Mountain View and less than two miles from Interstate 280, Rancho gets mobbed on the weekends – finding a parking space will remind you of your favorite mall three days before Christmas – but the crowds fade beyond Deer Hollow Farm. From there, the trails snake up and down the tree-covered canyons of the open space preserve, with overlooks offering at least a half-dozen Inspiration Points looking out over the South Bay.

Standard precautions: Watch for poison oak, and be ready for slogging through a bit of winter mud. It’s cold in the canyons and windy on the high meadows, so wear layers.

Hike suggestions

Easy: The one-mile walk out to Deer Hollow Farm will be crowded, but the kids and critters at the farm will be positively charming.

Moderate: Wildcat Canyon Trail plunges deep into the woods, leaving multiple options for three- to five-mile hikes with just enough climb to take the bite off the canyon’s chill. Climbing to a ridge overlooking Silicon Valley and returning on the Upper Rogue Valley Trail is an excellent option.

Hard: A classic 14-mile out-and-back trek takes the Rogue Valley Trail to Chamise Trail to Black Mountain Trail to the Black Mountain Summit, which offers stunning panoramas: On clear winter days you can see the Pacific Ocean, San Francisco and the sprawl of the South Bay from a comfortable distance.