Monday, January 24, 2011

Carquinez Scenic Dr. - Jan. 23, '11

Walking Distance: 6.2 miles (estimate)
Walking Time: 2 hrs., 31 min. (2:53 - 5:24 p.m.)
Start and End Point: unpaved shoulder Carquinez Scenic Drive, West of Nejedly Staging Area parking lot, Martinez, CA

It was a beautiful, sunny winter day for walking Carquinez Scenic Drive, a winding, paved road with great views of the Carquinez Strait and the railroad tracks below (shown as double yellow lines closest to water on Bay Trail map).

This road is closed to cars in a long section (where we walked today). In this closed stretch are a few spots where parts of the road have washed away, so it's easy to see why car traffic has been banned. Several days of dry weather previous to today's walk meant dry ground on the very few unpaved spots.

Oak trees hang in the air above the road on the south side, providing areas of shade and dappled light. And there are plenty of other interesting sights and sounds -- e.g., paintings on the road and a few small caves (access is blocked off, but they're visible from the road), and one or two unfortunate wrecked cars that had gone off the road in years past -- stopped from tumbling all the way down the steep embankment and onto the train tracks by trees and bushes. We also heard the sounds of frogs, and passing trains far below.

While we didn't see the frogs, they appeared to be coming from spots in and amongst the oak trees. I had no clue there might be tree frogs in the San Francisco Bay Area. Most frogs disappeared many years ago in the very developed area where I live. As I've said before, there hasn't been a day I've walked the Bay Trail where I didn't see or learn something new. This, after living in the Bay Area for many years.

This also appeared to be one of the better, longer dog-friendly walks with Bay views. We saw many owners taking their dogs for a walk (or vice versa) today.

Wildlife Sightings:
9 little brown jobs (LBJs); 2 mockingbirds; 2 blue jays; 1 turkey vulture; 1 large, dark mystery bird (osprey or California Condor?) - dark with white markings flying over water/cliffs.

Note: For more information on this walk, see also "Walk About Martinez" write-up by The Patch columnist, Scott Williams (Jan. 1, 2011).

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