Happy New Year

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Our usual hiking day fell on Dec. 30th this year, so we went hiking as usual in Sycamore Grove, an old favorite of ours, then had our annual pot-luck brunch at the picnic tables in the park. It turned out to be a great day for hiking and we had a lot of fun sharing our treats.

We have been doing this celebration of the coming new year since our inception as a hiking group.  It is the only time during the year that we share a meal after our hike and has become a treasured time for us.

Cresta Blanca

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View of Cresta Blanca

On Friday, October 21, we hiked up to the dam at Lake Del Valle, and
then around by the cliffs that are so prominent from the valley floor. It was a perfect morning for hiking with really clear skies.The grass
was about 2 inches tall from the rains last week.
The parking lot was almost full and we found out there were a lot of
3rd graders from one of the elementary schools in Livermore doing the
hike.
After we finished the 2 1/2 miles, I commented that this was one of
my favorite hikes. Someone reminded me that I say that about every
hike, and it’s true. We have such a beautiful area in which to enjoy nature.

 

Sycamore Grove and The Frog Pond

On August 26, 2016, 10 of us went hiking in an old favorite place, Sycamore Grove up to the Frog Pond.  This hike is about 3 1/2 miles in length with some of the trail going up a short up-hill.  The last time we tried to hike there, the rangers were doing a controlled burn, so we were not allowed to be on the trails.  This time the trails were fine, but it was still a bit of a shock to see the effects of the burn on the landscape.

When we got to the pond we didn’t see the turtles on their little rafts as we usually do.  We still saw plenty of wild life, including a large group of wild turkeys and a young male deer.  The days are shorter and the mornings cool, so the animals are enjoying being out just as much as we are.

We are so lucky to have such a beautiful park so close to the city.  It is near enough to houses that many people walk dogs, jog, push strollers and just enjoy being in the out-of-doors.  We have several choices when we hike here, too.2016-08-26 09.35.55.jpg

Joaquin Miller Regional Park2016

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Another beautiful day by the Bay.  It’s been in the high 90’s in Livermore the last few days, so walking in the Oakland hills seemed like a good idea.  This is a park that has redwoods, cypress, eucalyptus and acacia, and offers very good views of Oakland and the Bay.  There are also stands of California bay, coast live oak, madrone and pine. Most of the trail is shaded, so it offered a feeling of coolness along with the magnificent trees.

We took Sequoia-Bayview Trail, then Cinderella Trail, and finally, Sunset Trail.  Bayview and Sunset trails were wide and well maintained.  Cinderella Trail turned out to be a favorite with mountain bikers, so it had lots of downhill with rocks and deep ruts in the trail.  It caused us some slippery moments but, thankfully, we did not meet any bikers.  I don’t think they could have stopped.  This is a park that also has a horse riding arena and a large meadow with playing fields and areas for picnics.  It is a great park and a favorite of mine for getting respite from the summer heat.  It’s also very easy to get to.

 

Hayward Regional Shoreline

It’s been hot in Livermore lately, so we decided to head for the water.  We went to Hayward Shoreline Regional Park, which is near the San Mateo Bridge, off of Highway 880.  It was very easy to get to because it is at the end of Winton Blvd.  Traffic wasn’t too bad this morning, so the trip was fairly smooth.

The trail is paved and graveled and goes through salt marshes which were formed when the old salt evaporators were abandoned and the dykes breached to allow normal tidal action to occur.  The area is rich in shore birds and marsh plants.  The trail head has a parking lot and toilet.  The trail we took was a 3 mile loop through the marshes and bordering the bay. We saw several birds that were new to us, but there were good identifying signs.  It was a very nice walk for a summer day.

Marsh Creek Regional Trail

2016-06-17 10.43.33.jpgToday, June 17th, we walked along Marsh Creek Trail in Brentwood.  This is a paved trail, suitable for biking, horse back riding, skating, and hiking.  It can be accessed in Brentwood from Brentwood Blvd. and Sunset St. or Grant Street.  It is not well marked and we couldn’t find good parking.  The trail goes to Oakley to the north, and to Round Valley Regional Park to the south.  It is very open in the area where we were walking, and probably not the best place for a summer hike.  There are wonderful views of Mt. Diablo.  We saw several families out biking and I would definitely recommend this area for that kind of activity.

Land’s End

 

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On June 3rd, we went to Sutro Baths and Lands End in San Francisco.  This is now a National Preserve which includes the Coastal Trail, Point Lobos Overlook, Seal Rocks, The Cliff House Restaurant, and spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge.  When we arrived, the sky was fairly clear, with a little fog on the opposite shore.  The weather was perfect for hiking.  We started on the Coastal Trail out of the parking lot, and came to several short sets of stairs, which led to an overlook.  Then, some longer stairs took us up to the street that went past the Palace of the Legion of Honor, the golf course, and the Holocaust Memorial.  Then we went back down to the ocean.  From there, you can walk around the foundations of the old salt water Sutro Baths and other reminders of the time when this was a play ground for San Franciscans.  The circuit was about 3.5 miles.

Since it was noon, getting colder and foggier, we went to the Cliff House for lunch.  It is a land mark in San Francisco, and still attracts tons of visitors.  Unfortunately, by this time the fog was covering the water and there was no view of the bridge or the opposite shore.  We had a great time at one of the Bay’s most spectacular places.