Grab a copy of today’s Mercury News (look, you can always use the paper to pack your eBay auction items) if you’re interested in my article about Zack Taich, Mike Malone and the historic hiking map they created for Almaden Quicksilver County Park. It’s the Eye cover story and center spread. The intro:

Zack Taich needed to notch one more good deed to become an Eagle Scout.

Mike Malone, his mentor and assistant scoutmaster, thought the South Bay needed a trail celebrating the region’s history.

Together, the Sunnyvale duo – the younger a Homestead High senior and the elder a longtime author and high-tech journalist – made a little history of their own: a first-ever guide to hiking through the rusty remains of San Jose’s mercury-mining heritage at Almaden Quicksilver County Park.

The mining operations at Almaden Quicksilver pose two struggles for hikers: the steep slog up into the hills and the scattershot locations of the surviving remnants. Even if you find them, you don’t always know what you’re seeing. The Santa Clara County Parks Department put up interpretive panels at a few sites, but not all. The map at the park’s trail heads is cryptic at times.

Taich and Malone couldn’t do anything about the climb or the sites, but they could – and did – do something about the map. The result of their work is a brochure that guides hikers along a 6.5-mile route taking in most of the major mining sites and telling the story of a time when men with picks and black powder extracted mercury from the rugged hills.

Rest of the article here.

PDF of Zack Taich’s map is here.