Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Just an ordinary weekend, local scenes, walks
The day before, we walked around our neighborhood for an hour, finding new routes, new yard art, and some Christmas displays still out. One I liked gave sincerity to a plastic Jesus.
We have armed ourselves with maps from these groups. Berkeley Pathways covers one area, Oakland Walks, another. Saturday we resolved to follow the Berkeley Pathways "Elmwood medium difficulty route". It started at John Muir School, was estimated at two hours, seemed a good choice. We parked at the school, perused our printed directions, looked at the street signs, nothing matched. Looked at the school again. Over the doorway "Chabot School". Didn't have a clue where the right school was, so we walked our own route. Passed by some private school like institution, tried to cut through it to a higher street, but were stymied. Up the street. This is near the edge of the 1991 Oakland fire, which burned 3300 homes and took 25 lives. The new homes are modern and fire resistant - minimal shrubbery. Unburned homes standout. We kept going clockwise when there was an option, gradually circling through an area of grand old Berkeley homes, huge, mostly past their prime, but still grand, complete with lions guarding the entry gate. Of course there was yard art.
This was Saturday, still a small hike, Sunday we rested and Monday we headed for Briones Reservoir, a thirteen mile circumnavigation on permit required EBMUD trails.
A late start, 11am, but ice still covered the trail in shady spots. No other hikers, but ducks, herons and a coyote. In one place there was a cluster of high-voltage towers. One was fully armored against climbers. Don't know what made it special, as the others were unprotected:
As we rounded the end of the lake for our start back, we saw the University of California Berkeley Women's Crew practicing. The lake was dead calm, and you could hear the coach hollering at the rowing crew "lock those shoulders like they were all attached to a steel bar, pull!" The coach was following the shell in something that looked like a two person jet ski trimaran.
We cut the trip a little close. We finished at 5:30 and by 5:45 it was too dark to see. Had our tent for emergencies, but glad we didn't have to use it.
The end of an ordinary weekend in the San Francisco Bay Area.