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Deepening a sense of place

Original post made on Jun 19, 2007

Windy Hill above Palo Alto, overlooking Silicon Valley, is living up to its name -- the frigid wind whips in a constant roar. <B>Photos by Norbert von der Groeben/Palo Alto Weekly.</B>

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Comments (7)

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Posted by Star Gazer
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2007 at 3:37 pm

This is also a wonderful place to go star gazing. It is often higher than the cloud cover which gives it a bonus and far enough away from city lights for light pollution not to be a problem. It is quiet enough that you can go there with a large group and not need to worry about making noise to disturb neighbors. Be careful though as it is easy to wonder into the road without realising and the occasional traffic can appear suddenly.

Even a small telescope is worth taking there. It is a great place to look at stars and when the moon is in its final quarter, it is good to look at as you can see the craters and also the shadow moving across the surface.

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 19, 2007 at 5:54 pm

So where is the windmill?
Put one up there and wire it direct to the council chambers as the sole source of power.

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Posted by An enviromentalist
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2007 at 7:24 pm

This sounds like an ideal place to put up windmills to produce non polluting power. We enviromentalist must get organized so that can happen. It may take state action to require wind power where feasible. It's govermant owned land and probably isolated from neighbors in many areas. In fact the whole skyline could be lined with windmills as this is one of the most non polluting power source.

I would expect no opposition from true envirmentalista!

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Posted by Jay Thorwaldson
editor emeritus
on Jun 20, 2007 at 8:21 am

Jay Thorwaldson is a registered user.

I imagine there are thousands of people with "Windy Hill" stories. Years ago there was a small concrete bunker of some type -- possibly for water storage -- that kids (even from Los Gatos) could hunker down in to get out of the wind so they could watch the stars and lights at night.

It's a great place for flying kites and for picnics. Halfway down the eastern slope there's an old ranch-house site, now marked by a cluster of cypress trees.

A few years ago I assigned a high-school student intern up there to watch a sunset. Given academic expectations in Palo Alto she had never taken time to really watch a sunset, not just look at one in passing. Watching a sunset means from the time the sun is fully in the sky until the first star comes out. The student felt she failed at it because of distractions from thoughts and passing cars. Perhaps we need a class in sunset-watching. Now *that* would be worth Advanced Placement status, as it seems so hard these days.

Some years back, the 50-Plus Fitness organization sponsored a 100-K run from the Stanford Stadium to the top of Windy Hill and back, twice. Two men in their 90s made the first half of the run. One had flown his own plane in from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to participate, and they still had energy left to tease each other as they left the stadium.

Looking from Palo Alto toward the west, Windy Hill actually appears like two grassy hills, standing out from the wooded areas on the ridge. It's the first open area a few miles south of Highway 84 at Skyline Boulevard and is now part of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District.

Hm. Maybe you need to be out of there by sunset these days?

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 20, 2007 at 11:43 am

Try watching a sunrise and catching the green flash.

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Posted by Jay Thorwaldson
editor emeritus
on Jun 20, 2007 at 11:49 am

Jay Thorwaldson is a registered user.

I believe that's sunset, Walter. Never heard of a green-flash sunrise. ;-)>

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 21, 2007 at 7:19 am

Mine was a desert dawn outside of Mojave.

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