So I told the gray-bearded mountain biker dude with the bike that probably cost more than my car, “I’d probably be a mountain biker but I have a this strange fear of flat tires.”

“Well if that’s the only thing standing between you and a mountain bike,” he assured me, “you should get one.” Tube and tire technology have rendered such worries obsolete, you see.

So, as inevitable as the return of spring wildflowers, about three hours later I came across another mountain biker fixing a flat. He told me another biker just gave him an extra inner tube so he wouldn’t have to drag his bike all the way back to the car. No questions asked.

Major karma points there.

You can’t talk about Santa Teresa County Park without mentioning the mountain bikers — I saw two people on wheels for every one on foot. Maybe they aren’t all as groovy as the guy who gave away the spare inner tube, but they were polite, smiling, etc. Their favorite trails are steep and rock-strewn, which enforces a rough discipline missing in a lot of local parks. It’s hard to work up enough speed to do anything dangerous without rattling a few rear molars loose.

If you can’t bear to share with bicycle types, Santa Teresa might not be your patch of trail. It’s not the sexiest park in the South Bay, but it is putting on a decent wildflower show as spring unfolds. Taking pictures and chatting with mountain bikers kept my brain occupied for several hours on Sunday, so I’m not complaining.

Speaking of pictures, let’s look at some (double my usual quota this week!):

Stile Ranch trail head

I started out at the Stile Ranch trail head, which isn’t actually in the park, but comes highly recommended from people who know things about wildflowers. Right now there are many, many poppies — whole bushes of them, in fact. The trail zigzags up a hillside and is very rough and rocky, which attracts bikers like bugs to an open flame. Upside: going fast here is borderline suicidal.

Poppies on the Stile Ranch Trail

Many of the poppies hadn’t opened to the sun when I arrived.

Bluedicks on the Stile Ranch Trail

Good ol’ bluedicks, got a bunch of pictures of them.

Oak and sky, an old fave

The ever trustworthy oak and sky pic.

Santa Teresa County Park from the Mine Trail

This picture sums up Santa Teresa: Open, unshaded, hilly. Trails are in pretty good shape, and the signage is pretty good.

One of many mountain bikers

There’s a bump on the trail here where downhill bikers can get a little air if they work up enough speed. A group of four came through, and the second got enough air to make me think I’d get a cool action shot of the guys coming after him. Alas, this guy, the third one through, was in full politeness mode and slammed on the brakes when he saw me standing there. So, no action shots. Where are the reckless speed demons when you need them?

Bug on a bluedick

Didn’t even notice the bug on this one till I got the picture uploaded at home.

Pretty lupine

Saw only a few lupines here.

Tons o' tidy tips

Big batch of tidy tips along the Rocky Ridge Trail, which is where all the bikers want to be. Also had the most flowers, of all the trails I walked on.

Globe gilia perhaps?

Not sure but I think this might be a globe gilia.

Wacky poppy

Not all poppy blooms form into those perfect cups.

Coyote Peak

Coyote Peak in the distance.

Santa Teresa County Park from Coyote Peak

The view of the rest of the park from Coyote Peak.

Poppies and barbed wire

Flowers and rusty barbed wire — how’s that for visual contrast?

Checkerblooms blooming

Pretty sure this is a checkerbloom.

Hikers on Santa Teresa's Ohlone Trail

This is Santa Teresa’s Ohlone Trail. Some is shady, some goes next to the golf course, where you can exult in the knowledge that you’re not ruining a perfectly good walk in the sunshine by trying to smack and absurdly small ball across the landscape with an absurdly shaped mallet.

Santa Teresa County Park from the other side

Another look at the park from the opposite end — Coyote Peak is the high point in the distance.

Wild turkey

A wild turkey.

Oak and clouds

More oak and sky.

Redmaids, perhaps?

These look kinda sorta like redmaids.

Poppy in full bloom

A poppy in full bloom in the early afternoon.

Stile Ranch Trail again

Almost back where I started, five hours later.

Back where I started, five hours later

All done. Here’s a map of the park:

Santa Teresa County Park map

My route: Stile Ranch Trail (lower left) to Mine Trail to Rocky Ridge Trail (bottom center) to Coyote Peak. From there, down the Boundary Trail (way steep) to Coyote Peak to Ohlone Trail, across Bernal Road, picked up Mine Trail again, to Bernal Trail (saw turkeys there) to the Vista Loop (top left), then returned to Mine Trail, crossed Bernal Road again, took Mine Trail back to Stile Ranch Trail and retraced my steps there. Park district PDF of the park here.

See my previous Santa Teresa post for many more park-related links.

I didn’t quite get in all the park’s trails… I may do a few more miles there this afternoon.