Saturday, March 26, 2011

Pt. Pinole, San Pablo - Mar. 25, '11

Walking Distance: 5.3 mi.
Walking Time: 2 hrs., 44 min. (3:47 - 6:31 p.m.)
Start and End Point: Atlas Road and Horizon Drive, San Pablo, CA

Atlas Road (solid red line at the bottom of the map shown) runs slightly downhill toward the Bay, ending at a business park at the bottom of a hill. Formal sidewalks pause after the railroad track crossing (at the end of Atlas Rd/ the red line, before where dotted lines appear).

I turned left at the Point Pinole Business Park and continued on Giant Highway (white line on map) for a short distance to find the entrance to Point Pinole Park, on the right, which is where the red line picks up again on the map. I walked this short stretch of Giant Highway in between the business park and the Park's entrance. Caution: Setbacks on this white line stretch were very narrow, so, travel with care if you're on foot or bicycle.

Across the street/highway, perched on a hill, were fairly new houses, near a golf course. A correctional facility was located on the right, just before the park.

It was great to return to Point Pinole Regional Shoreline Park. This was my second time walking at Point Pinole this month. I'd been there last week but darkness prevented me from hiking all the trails there. I returned to walk the rest of the Marsh Trail and to wander out to Cook Point. The variety of scenery in this park was impressive. In addition to acres of green grass and areas of towering eucalyptus, there were narrow strips of beaches festooned with shells; gobs of miner's lettuce (green vegetation shown at right); and little flowers of all colors.

It was raining for part of the time, but that didn't matter, as long as I could keep my camera dry. Wet weather (standing water on trails) had closed some of the trails to bicycle and equestrian traffic. I had to tip toe through some puddles, but if you didn't mind sacrificing some dryness for fields of bright green grass, some wildflowers, and beautiful scenery, a little rain was well worth the trouble.

I had a brief feeling that I was in Ireland at one point this afternoon. Little natural waterfalls and streams had sprung to life. Hawks, herons, egrets, hummingbirds, an owl, and other birds were out.  I could hear frogs in the distance, but couldn't see any.

3 hawks; 1 great blue heron; 1 great egret; 7 red-winged blackbirds; 5 crows; 1 owl; 1 small falcon or hawk; 1 dove; 42 little brown jobs (LBJs); 3 bluebirds; 2 sea gulls; 2 dark snails; 4 hummingbirds; sounds of frogs, but no sightings

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