Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Morgan Territory - East in winter

We are still working on a few of the EBRPD trail challenge hikes that we didn't get to. So, this last Sunday on a crisp morning we drove east on 580 to N. Livermore Road, and from there along Morgan Territory Road to the trailhead parking lot, about 6 miles. This is a one lane road, so a little exciting meeting other cars. We got to the trailhead at 10:20 am, and temperature was 32 degrees. It had rained a few days before, but ground was frozen solid. After a while, I wished we had not left the hiking sticks in the car. The pressure of my weight on frozen mud on a downsloping trail turned the surface into something like black ice. We persevered, refining our balance skills, and got one of the best hikes of the year. Of course it was only day 4.

The trail is about a nine mile loop, following the trail challenge route, downhill for about 5 miles and you can guess the rest. There were views clear across the valley to the snow covered Sierras. A few cows, lots of birds. There are supposed to be a number of Native American grinding holes, but we missed them. Near the end of the trail, shortly before the trailhead, there is a sharp jog to the west on Prairie Falcon trail. This is sort of an unexciting trail thru scrub brush, and then, Whoa! you come right up to the edge of a deep narrow canyon, with big bare rocks to sit on and enjoy the view. Sticking © 2009 in here to foil blog bandits.

We are finding that on all these East Bay Regional Park trails, they are a lot more fun in the winter - not hot, the air is clear, and the vegetation is in sharp contrast to the brown of summer.

Huckleberry Botanic Regional Preserve - the high trail in January

This Oakland area park is a perfect winter hike right now. Intense greens, quiet, the dust of summer is gone, the Bay trees are stark against the winter sky, and the huckleberries almost tunnel the trail.

Keep walking and you get views to the east of Mt. Diablo and the morning fog filled valleys. An aside, we've been getting some unattributed taking of blog content so inserting © 2009

If you just walk from the Huckleberry parking area, along the high trail to the next road south (Pinehurst) and back, it takes about an hour.