Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Marin Civic Center - Aug. 15, 2013

Walking Distance: 3.5 mi.
Walking Time: 1 hr., 21 min. (3:49 - 5:10 p.m.)
Start and End Point: Street parking, 120 N. San Pedro Road, Santa Venetia/San Rafael, CA

Today was another hot summer day, and the heat curtailed my walk. But, I did enjoy walking the last bit of N. San Pedro Road and seeing the Marin Civic Center complex (designed by architect, Frank Lloyd Wright). Most of this walk was on paved sidewalks or walkways, and all of this stretch was depicted as a broken green line on the latest (2012-2013) Bay Trail Map Set.

First, I walked (northeast) on N. San Pedro Road to Le Chalet Basque restaurant and bar (where I'd left off on the previous walk), passing schools and a 7-Eleven store, along the way. I turned around and walked back (southwest) toward Highway 101. On the way back, I noticed the first tree with leaves changing from green to oranges, yellows and reds. Wild, ripe berries were growing by the roadside --  reminders that, despite the warm weather today, summer was winding down.

From N. San Pedro, I made a right turn on Civic Center Drive and headed (northwest) walked past the post office and fire station (on the right) and the main Marin Civic Center complex (on the left). All these buildings were designed in a similar style, with wide vaulted, domed roof lines.

I also passed "Field of Dogs" -- one of my favorite names for a dog park on the Bay Trail.

Most of the birds I spotted today were located in Lagoon Park. The large, shallow lake attracted a large number of geese, ducks and other birds (see list below). I walked a circular path around the entire lagoon, stopping to rest in the shade on two different park benches along the way, before heading back to the car. At the far end of the lagoon, where there was less foot traffic, dozens of Canada geese had taken up residence. And, I set off a slow stampede geese into the water as I walked by them. No hissing, just a quiet, deliberate march away from the approaching human, en masse.

On the walk back, I stopped to ponder a sign indicating Petanque Courts nearby, with a plea not to walk dogs across the courts. This French game involves rolling balls on a flat surface and something known as a "piglet." It's all happening on the Bay Trail.

Wildlife Sightings:
2 blurs in bushes (BIBs, probably lizards); 37 pigeons; 43 little brown jobs (LBJs) - including at least 20 sparrows; 9 crows/ravens; 1 whiteish butterfly; 246 Canada geese; 57 sea gulls; 85 ducks; 41 red-winged blackbirds; 9 non-Canada geese (white-fronted, other domestic, a few hybrids); 1 cormorant

Monday, September 2, 2013

China Camp to Marin - July 18, 2013

Walking Distance: 7 mi.
Walking Time: 2 hrs., 1 min. (3:27 - 5:28 p.m.)
Start and End Point: street parking near intersection of Birch Way and N. San Pedro Rd., San Rafael, CA

Today I returned to walk the last part (northern end) of China Camp State Park, from Santa Venetia/San Rafael. I walked back (south) along N. San Pedro Road toward China Camp, on mostly paved (sidewalks, asphalt walkway). Initially, the partly shaded walkways were very pleasant on a warm day. Flowers (wisteria, trumpet flowers, passion flowers) spilled over and through a wood fence on my left side.

Gradually, however, the sidewalk disappeared, and the setbacks on N. San Pedro became quite narrow on the last stretch into China Camp. This stretch deserved its broken green line status on the Bay Trail map.

I passed the entrance road to Buck's Boat Storage (and where there also appeared to be a place to buy cold drinks). I was tempted to walk down Buck's driveway to buy a bottle of water, but thought the better of it, since it wasn't clear whether the small store was open.

Once inside China Camp, I continued to walk along the side of N. San Pedro. I was passed by a light stream of traffic - mostly bicyclists and cars. I walked past the Back Ranch Meadows /Campground sign, and kept going until I reached the Miwok Meadows sign, where I turned around to walk back. On the return walk, I took a short detour to climb up a hill (on the Bay side of the road) for views of the water.

I continued walking back on N. San Pedro Rd., the same way that I'd come. The one exception: I walked down Vendola Drive, and decided to return to this spot in the near future -- I remembered remembered walking some interesting trails (Santa Venetia Marsh Preserve and Santa Margarita Island Preserve) by the water, during my first walk round the bay.

I continued, passing where my car was parked on Birch Way, to walk as far as a restaurant. Le Chalet Basque restaurant and bar was tucked away into this residential neighborhood and I remember enjoying a stop there for dinner on my previous walk around the bay. I turned around here and returned to my car.

Wildlife Sightings:
3 turkey vultures; 2 great egrets; 10 crows/ravens; 1 golf ball; 3 horses; 3 dragonflies; 2 deer; 1 swallow; 6 little brown jobs (LBJs)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Candlestick Point - July 8, 2013

Walking Distance: 3.2 mi.
Walking Time: 2 hrs., 19 min. (10:26 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.)
Start and End Point: Candlestick Point State Recreation Area (SRA), picnic/day use area parking lot, San Francisco, CA

This morning I went "backwards" and walked a stretch of Bay Trail in southern San Francisco that I skipped last year. Thank you to Ellen, Betsy and Susan for their good company. We had beautiful sunny weather, during today's walk at Candlestick Point State Recreation Area in San Francisco. We walked on both paved and packed dirt areas (solid green lines on Bay Trail map), and enjoyed a day with no wind (unusual for this area).

We parked in a day use parking lot and walked south along the bay shore (Jackrabbit Cove). We stopped to investigate some purple flowers that were growing by the water line, and were approached cautiously by a few ground squirrels.

We walked out to Sunrise Point and back. We continued southeast, stopping to walk out to the end of a public fishing pier and back.

We followed packed dirt trail(s) along Hermit's Cove that ran in parallel to Hunters Point Expressway/Jamestown Ave., then along Harney Way (the roads that have historically been jammed with traffic on game days for the 49ers and other football teams playing in nearby Candlestick Park stadium). We passed several picnic tables (many with wooden walls to help shelter picnic-ers from the wind).

We paused to try out some exercise course equipment/bars (part of an old Par Course perhaps?), and then continued east. We enjoyed walking on a very creative, multi-colored sidewalk (visible from Harney Way, and accessible by foot). The design was one of a large primary-colored mosaic along Candlestick Cove.

We walked as far as possible, to the end of Harney Way, getting close to the hum of traffic on  Highway 101. We turned around at a cement utility tower and enclosure, north of the San Mateo County boundary, and then we back to the car.

Wildlife Sightings: 
35 ground squirrels; 3 crows/ravens; 2 white butterflies; 102 sea gulls (about 100 were on the beach area by highway 101); 3 cormorants; 2 little brown jobs (LBJs); 1 robin; 1 lizard; 1 rusty screw; 2 mockingbirds