Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Point Pinole - Mar. 21, '11

Walking Distance: 3.9 miles
Walking Time: 2 hr., 12 min. (5:16 - 7:28 p.m.)
Start and End Point: Public parking lot, Point Pinole Regional Shoreline Park

I caught a break in the rain today, and went walking out at Point Pinole Regional Shoreline Park. This large 2,300+ acre park had lots of amenities: restrooms, picnic tables, benches at scenic overlook sites, and even a shuttle bus that apparently runs from the tip of the point (fishing pier) back to the parking lot.

I first walked South, toward basketball court, and quickly turned around and headed toward the point. There was a plaque early on that explained that this site had once been owned by Safety Nitro Powder Company, and then by Giant/Atlas explosives manufacturing companies. There were odd little grass-covered bumps in various locations in the park -- bunkers from days gone by. Happily, the steel plant which was to follow never did, and Point Pinole was preserved as a park.

A small bridge allows pedestrians, bicyclists, runners and others to cross the railroad tracks and over to the main park area and Point Pinole. After the bridge, I chose to head closer to the water and I took the first "turn-off" to the Bay View Trail.

I really enjoyed the wide sweeping views of the water and Mount Tamalpais over in Marin Country, across the Bay. Once out at the end of the point, I walked out to the end of the long fishing pier, and enjoyed more great views. And, on the way back, I took the Owl Alley Trail, and -- no surprise -- there were ... additional memorable views of marshes and very tall groves of eucalyptus trees. Somewhere up in those trees I heard at least one owl, but I could not see them.

Frankly I could have taken pictures all day here. It really was a very enjoyable and scenic place to visit. I plan to come back to walk a few more trails that I wasn't able to cover today. Despite daylight saving time, I still ran out of light to finish the last bit of the Marsh Trail.

Wildlife Sightings:
21 little brown jobs (LBJs); 1 dove; 2 crows; 4 sea gulls; 1 hawk; 2 black-crowned night herons? (flying); 1 kite; 1 hummingbird; 1 turkey vulture; 2 great egrets; 8 dark snails; 1 great blue heron; 4 ducks; plus sounds of owl up in eucalyptus trees on the Owl Trail, but couldn't see any.

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