NSC Participates in the 2016 Coastal Cleanup

Judy Hom

The California Coastal Cleanup is part of the Ocean Conservancy’s international cleanup effort. On the 3rd Saturday in September, people join together at all sites around the world to pick up litter and trash from beaches, lakes, and waterways. This year, 5 volunteers from Nisei Ski Club assisted with the cleanup of Crown Beach in Alameda. This effort is part of NSC’s community service work.

Karen, Curtis, Sandy, Winston, and I got out to Crown Beach would 8:30am. Armed with gloves, bucket, and trash picker, we spent 2.5 hours cleaning up the beach. Part of the job was to itemize and tally up the trash we found. This way, the coastal commission can put policies in place to reduce trash and litter. For example, the ban on one-time use plastic bags was put into place because the coastal cleanup collected so many plastic bags during their cleanups. I am happy to say that we didn’t find plastic bags but cigarette butts comprised the majority of our trash.
It felt good to be part of the effort to clean up the coast. Our planet needs some help from time to time. There are many sites that need to be cleaned around the state and some of the sites may be in your “backyard”. Think about volunteering next year. Check out the California clean up map for a list of sites.


NSC cleanup crew


Winston is ready to cleanup!

September 2016 – President’s Message

Armand Gutierrez, NSC President

Summer is giving way to fall and the next thing we know it will be winter. Are you ready for the upcoming ski season? With the warm temperatures I’m still busy with my summer activities and haven’t started thinking about the ski season, yet. If you need new equipment then starting in October is when the ski shops start having some sales for last year’s inventory. And then in late October/early November we have the annual SnowBomb shows in San Jose and San Francisco. These events offer great deals on ski/snowboard equipment, clothing and accessories, plus it’s like attending a great big party.

This month there are several events designed to get the membership together and have some fun and give some volunteer time to the community. Let’s get together for a fun evening at The Garret in Campbell for a Pizza Social, and then you can make a difference in the community with the Coastal Cleanup that is being organized by Judy Hom.

September Pizza Social – September 11th

Last year, we had an August Pizza Social at The Garret that was well attended, especially for a Thursday evening. This time we’ll have a September Pizza Social on Sunday, September 11th at The Garret (Campbell) so we can gather around, quaff a few ales, dine on outstanding pizza, and watch New England and Arizona battle it out on the turf. Although the game starts at 5:30 we can meet at 5:00 and still catch most of the game. If you’re planning on attending then let me know at president@niseiskiclub.org

SnowBomb Shows in October/November

Coming up in October and November are the annual SnowBomb ski shows in San Jose and San Francisco. I usually attend the San Jose event and Karen Soo and Curtis Otaguro attend the San Francisco event. We’re looking for additional volunteers to support the BAC booth at both locations. As a volunteer you get free admission to the SnowBomb event, talk with people about the various clubs that are part of BAC, and do some self-promoting of NSC. Arrive early, or stay later, and visit the other ski-related booths or perhaps pick up something at one of the retail booths that have discounted prices on ski gear. The San Jose event is October 29-30 and the San Francisco event is November 5-6. If interested, then drop me a line at president@niseiskiclub.org or Karen Soo at tripdirector@niseiskiclub.org.

Snowmass Ski Week 2017

The Snow mass trip is full with 54 signups. I originally targeted 44 people but was able to secure two additional 2-bedroom units. There is one new group of six that made their own air/lodging arrangements but they will still be part of the NSC group. A wait list will be created for those that are still interested in going on the Snowmass trip.

Sign up for Coastal Cleanup Day – September 17

Judy Hom

This is a reminder that I am organizing an NSC team for Coastal Cleanup day on Saturday, September 17, 2016. I’ve picked Crown Beach in Alameda as our clean-up site. 10 spots are available. Send an email to cleanup2016@niseiskiclub.org to let me know if you want to participate. Lunch will be provided courtesy of NSC. For more information see the August Coastal Cleanup article.

NSC Enjoys Alum Rock Hike

Winston Fong

On August 27, a group went on the 7.5 mile Alum Rock hike lead by Dave Schultz. It was a beautiful sunny day and we were lucky that we hiked on the North Woodland and South Rim Trails, which were shaded. This was a fairly steep trail. If you fell, you would roll a couple hundred feet downhill. If you survived, you would surely have a bad case of poison oak. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining because we got some pretty good views of Silicon Valley. We saw some turkey vultures and Rick talked of hang gliding with them.

We saw a sign that said “Trail closed. Do not go beyond this point”. Dave said that he didn’t see anything when he hiked up here a couple of weeks ago. So, he told us to keep going and to ignore the sign! It turned out that the hillside had eroded and the trail was washed out with dirt. Okay, it wasn’t that big of a deal. We had to walk carefully 30 or 40 feet. This was our big adventure for the day. I guess that’s why we signed the NSC waiver.

I found out that Alum Rock Park was the place for the health nuts back in the late 1800s through the 1930s. It was famous for the health benefits of its mineral springs. I understand that there were 27 mineral springs and as many as 10,000 visitors on a Sunday afternoon. I didn’t see 27 minerals springs but I did see a few decomposing baths. Some baths were hidden by vegetation and you could still smell the sulfur.

At the end of the hike, we visited the Youth Science Institute (“YSI”). We saw live owls. The owls live at the YSI because they’re injured or handicapped. One was blind and another had an injured wing. We also saw stuffed animals like a mountain lion, bobcat, gray fox, badger, hawks, shorebirds, and ducks to name a few.

At the end of our hike, we enjoyed snacks at Dave’s house. Thanks for a fun time, Dave!


Our hike leader – Dave Schultz



Panoramic view of Silicon Valley


Remnant of mineral bath


The whiteness of the water is from sulphur


Injured barn owl


Stuffed mountain lion

August 2016 – President’s Message

Armand Gutierrez, NSC President

Although summer is here and once again I’ve been receiving notices from Mammoth Mountain to lock in on low season pass rates for the upcoming season. Mammoth seems to be the only early bird on season pass notifications, but I’m sure that the Tahoe resorts will soon be sending out their notices.

Last year at this time there was quite a bit of talk about El Niño and a wet winter. So far I haven’t heard anything about an El Niño, but there has been some talk about La Niña. Now, La Niña can have an opposite effect on the weather so it’s very possible this will not be a wet season like last year. It’s still too early to predict so we’ll have to wait and see what our winter season will have in store for us.

Last year we had an August Pizza Social at the Garret that was well attended. I completely forgot about discussing it at our July board meeting so I’m going to have a September Pizza Social at the Garret in Campbell. Date and details will be in the September newsletter.

Mt. View Obon Festival – July 16th and 17th

The Mt. View Obon Festival was quite exciting this year and I would like to thank the following volunteers: Bill Lee, Trisha Le, David Miura, David Uyeda, Frank Chang, Brian Hess, Curtis Otaguro, Alex Kami, David Ng. and Alice and Dick Horio. Once again NSC has stepped up to the plate and volunteered for this event. I was there on Sunday with Jeannie and her two grand-nephews (ages 9 and 11) and the boys had a great time playing the carnival games. The only rule was that they were not allowed to play any games that involved goldfish in the bowls, and they did bring home lots of toys.

Snowmass Ski Week 2017

The Snow mass trip is about half full (21 signups) so if you haven’t signed up yet then now is the time to do so. If you’re interested in signing up, here is the link to weeklong trip flyer.The Mountain Collective Season Pass (https://mountaincollective.com) is closed for the summer and will reopen in the fall so check the website often. The MC season pass will be good for two days skiing at Aspen Snowmass, plus a third resort of your choice. The Mountain Collective is also good for Mammoth, Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows.

NSC Alum Rock Park Hike

Nisei Ski Club Presents a Hike in Alum Rock Park, San Jose, CA – Saturday, August 27, 2016

David Schultz

Due to its location, Alum Rock Park is kind of a secret to many people who live in the Bay Area. While other parks like Mission Peak may be full of hikers, the trails at Alum Rock Park are largely empty.

Located in the upper East side of San Jose, Alum Rock Park encompasses over 700 acres of rugged canyon terrain, with each side of the canyon presenting a different ecosystem. On the shady side, the forests are thicker and taller and on the sunny side, the foliage is more bushes than trees, with sweeping areas of dry grassland. Sage is one of the most common plants in the park and the air typically smells of this fragrant bush.

The Hike

I’ve put together a loop hike based on the South Rim Trail. It’s a good overall length (7.5 miles), is on the shady side of the canyon, climbs about 700 feet so it provides good exercise, and offers excellent views of the park and Santa Clara Valley in the distance. In addition, you pass all of the Alum Rock Park tourist attractions on the way back to the beginning, including the Mineral Springs area which contains active sulfur springs and grottos, Youth Science Institute, and the park ranger station (which is part museum). We’ll have time to stop at these attractions.

The hike will be done at a moderate pace and will take approximately 4 hours, including our stops. If we’re lucky, there’s a chance that we’ll spot some wildlife, including deer, rabbits, fox, bobcats, wild turkeys, quail, and possibly a rattlesnake. (Don’t worry – I’ve only seen a rattlesnake once in over 10 years of hiking in the park.) Overhead, we’ll probably spot turkey vultures and hawks.

After the hike, people are welcome to lunch at my house. I’ll provide food and drinks, and we can relax and take in the views.

Meeting Point

We will meet at David Schultz’ house at 16100 Yona Vista Avenue, San Jose, CA 95127. There is room in my driveway for about 8 cars, plus there’s plenty of street parking. The park entrance is about 1/4 mile away from my house, so we can avoid parking fees at the park and still be close to the entrance. We’ll meet at 10 AM.


Take Route 680 to Alum Rock Avenue. Follow Alum Rock Avenue all the way past the San Jose Country Club, where the road bends to the left. Keep bending around to the left, and as the road straightens out, look for Chula Vista Drive. The street sign will also say “To Yona Vista Avenue”.

Chula Vista Drive twists and turns and goes up and down, but it doesn’t last long. After going down a short steep hill, the road rises and offers a great unobstructed view of San Jose to the left. About 50 feet later, you reach the intersection of Chula Vista Drive and Yona Vista Avenue. My house is on the corner on the right side. It’s a brown house with beige trim, and it has a Japanese style roof. Feel free to park in the driveway if there’s space. Pull up as far as you can since we’ll pack the cars in.

What to Bring

There are no drinking fountains until the last mile of the hike, so bring plenty of Gatorade or a similar electrolyte drink. Water is okay, but since you may sweat a lot if the weather is warm, an electrolyte drink is better for replacing lost salts. I recommend at least two quarts of liquid to cover you over the 6 miles of dry trail.
In addition, the following items are recommended:

  • Wide brimmed hat for sun protection
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen (at least SPF 15)
  • Snacks for the trail and lunch if you need it earlier than lunch at my house
  • Lightweight hiking shoes. The trail is mostly packed dirt, but there will be some loose rocks occasionally. So hiking shoes will be better than running shoes or sneakers
  • Jacket in case of cooler weather
Hiking Details
  1. From 16100 Yona Vista Avenue, we’ll walk 1/2 mile along Yona Vista and Canon Vista avenues to the park entrance at the end of Alum Rock Avenue
  2. After entering the park, we’ll make a quick left onto the Stables Trail.
  3. The Stables Trail takes us another .4 mile down to the Penitencia Creek Trail. This is the main trail through the lower part of the park. We make a right onto the trail.
  4. Walking along the Penitencia Creek Trail, we’ll cross a bridge over Penitencia Creek, cross over Penitencia Creek Road (the main road through Alum Rock Park), and turn right onto an access ramp that takes us to the Peninsular Trail.
  5. We walk along the historic ramparts of the Peninsula Trail (once part of the Alum Rock Railroad), cross back over Penitencia Creek Road, and take a right onto the North Woodland Trail.
  6. The North Woodland Trail meanders upwards through a forest of oak, buckeye, and madrone trees. In between them, I’ll point out to everyone the abundant poison oak.

    Poison oak exists throughout Alum Rock Park, often in large bushes, and is identified by its classic three-leaf from one stem arrangement, with mildly serrated leaves similar to regular oak trees, and the leaves are shiny (due to the poisonous oil) and often red in color. Poison oak is a natural part of central California and the park service doesn’t do much to contain it. Basically, they clear the trails of it. By exercising a little caution, you won’t have any trouble with this constant companion.

    In about .5 mile, the North Woodland Trail brings us to a service road.

  7. We cross the service road and look on our right for the South Rim Trailhead. Getting on the South Rim Trailhead, we soon start seeing views of the park valley below.
  8. The South Rim Trail switchbacks along the upper forests of Alum Rock Park. As we near the top of the trail, the foliage becomes shorter and the trail sunnier. And the views get bigger. If the weather is good, we’ll have fine views of the park below and the Santa Clara Valley further out. By mile 3, we have reached the top of the South Rim Trail,
  9. We begin our descent while still on the South Rim Trail. It switches back and forth along the backside of Alum Rock Park, giving us a good sense of the steepness of the hillside. We reach the bottom of the trail around mile mark 4.5, and we turn onto the Penitencia Creek Trail.
  10. Right away we come to a beautiful rest area near Penitencia Creek and just before an old foot bridge. We’ll stop and have a snack.
  11. Crossing over the bridge, we continue on the Penitencia Creek Trail past group picnic areas and various man-made structures to contain the sulfurous mineral springs. We’ll explore some of these structures.

    (from Wikipedia)

    “In the late 19th century and through the 1930s, the park was famed throughout the country as a health resort. Through those years and as late as the 1970s, the park featured a natatorium (a huge, heated indoor swimming pool), dozens of private heated mineral baths that visitors could rent, a restaurant, and various other buildings. Many of the springs were enclosed in stonework grottos, and stone bridges were built across the creek. Due to overuse, some of the springs became extinct, and surviving ones became very weak, producing very little output.”

  12. Leaving the mineral springs area, we walk into the “tourist” part of the park and soon come to the Youth Science Institute. We’ll also find bathrooms and water fountains. We’ve now hiked about 6 miles.

    The YSI is used for educating Santa Clara County’s youth about ecology and native flora and fauna. It offers summer camps, classes, and has a good museum with both live and taxidermy animals.

  13. Soon after leaving the YSI, we come to the park’s official ranger station, where another small museum awaits, this one offering more human history than ecology. Nearby is one of the oldest buildings in the park – a log cabin built in 1913.
  14. The sweet smell of barbecue from the picnickers will probably be our companion as we continue along the Penitencia Creek Trail to the base of the Alum Rock Road entrance. Our total walk is now 7 miles. This part of the road is closed to vehicles, so we can spread out and ascend it to the park entrance where we began.
  15. Another 1/2 mile brings us back to my home on Yona Vista Avenue.
Contact me

For more information, you can email me at aughike2016@niseiskiclub.org. My contact number is 510-512-6441. Participants can call me if they get lost coming to my house, or while on the hike.


Link to trail map

Coastal Cleanup 2016

Giving Back to the Community

Judy Hom

If you’re looking for a way to give back to the community and be environmentally conscious, consider participating in the coast cleanup. Coastal cleanup day is Saturday, September 17, 2016 across the globe. NSC is organizing a clean-up team and we’ve picked Crown Beach in Alameda as our clean-up site.

Crown Beach

Meet at Shoreline Blvd. and Park Street
(across from Sushi House and bowling alley)
Alameda, CA
September 17, 2016

I’ve signed up for 10 spots. Send an email to cleanup2016@niseiskiclub.org to let me know if you want to be part of the NSC team. In efforts to “Go Green” and reduce the amount of waste, please bring a refillable water bottle, a bucket for trash, hat, and gloves. All volunteers should wear closed toed shoes, appropriate layered clothing, and sunscreen. We will be part of the East Bay Regional Park District cleanup effort and they will provide snacks, water, and trash bags.

All volunteers will need to fill out and sign the coastal cleanup day waiver. Here is the link to the waiver.

Afterwards, lunch will be provided courtesy of NSC.


If you want to participate in the Coastal Cleanup but Crown Beach is too far for you, you can find another location on the coastal cleanup map. If you do cleanup in another location, let me or Armand know so you can get credit and get invited to the annual NSC Thank You picnic.

Please consider signing up! I will send you information on where we will be meeting as the event gets closer.


2015 California Coastal Commission Cleanup Poster

August 2016 – Tune Your Skis for Less

Sandy Kiyomura

Summer is quickly coming to an end and our thoughts are turning to the ski season. I just saw the race schedule for next year. For those of you who race or ski, tuning your skis is a must if you want them to keep them in good condition. This is your $700-$1000 investment and some of you have many pairs of skis. Did you know that you can get a $200 service card at Granite Chief for $100? There is a limited number available so it’s good to get one soon. It is good for mounting and adjusting bindings and tuning and repairing your skis. You can also share the card with friends. Here is the link for the Granite Chief service card.

July 2016 – President’s Message

Armand Gutierrez, NSC President

Summer has officially arrived and we can now expect warm-to-hot temperatures for the next three months. Our wet winter is behind us and drought conditions are not as much as a concern as last year. However, one year of above-average rains is not going to alleviate the drought problem. Yes, El Niño brought us a good rainy season, but now La Niña is expected to impact our weather system and that could bring us another dry winter season.

Mt. View Obon Festival – July 16th and 17th

This is an annual volunteer event that NSC participates in and is always a fun event. After all, there’s a variety of food, carnival-style games, cultural events, lots of people, lots of food, and the famous Beer Booth. There’s room for a few more volunteers to work the Beer Booth and the new Chicken Teriyaki so look for information in the newsletter or contact Karen Soo tripdirector@niseiskiclub.org.

NSC Annual Membership Meeting and Luau Picnic, June 11th

Once again we had a great turnout for our annual membership meeting and Luau picnic, and the weather was most cooperative. And once again I didn’t win the Left-Center-Right game that Karen sponsored. Congratulations to Rick Dumlao for being the big winner. Even if he had lost, it would have been to his wife Patt because they were the only two left. Thanks to everyone that showed up and had a great time.

Snowmass Ski Week 2017

Applications have been coming in for the Snowmass ski week so if you haven’t signed up yet then what are you waiting for? There are quite a few from Hawaii coming on this trip and I expect it to fill up quickly. Link to the flyer: Snowmass 2017 week trip.

It’s not too late to consider getting the Mountain Collective Season Pass https://mountaincollective.com, which will be good for two days skiing at Aspen Snowmass, plus a third resort of your choice. The Mountain Collective is also good for Mammoth, Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows.

2017 Weeklong trip to Snowmass

Link to flyer: 2017 weeklong trip to Snowmass