Sunday, May 11, 2014

Redwood Highway - Nov. 25, 2013

Walking Distance: 6.1 miles
Walking Time: 2 hours, 0 min. (2:05 - 4:05 p.m.)
Start and End Point: 4050 Redwood Highway, San Rafael, CA

Today's walk started from a Subway sandwich shop in a small shopping center off the Redwood Highway in San Rafael, CA. (Redwood Highway is a frontage road that runs parallel to Highway 101.)

From 4050 Redwood Highway (the intersection of Marin Center Drive and Redwood Highway), I walked south, on sidewalks, toward the Marin County Civic Center/Civic Center Drive.

When I'd almost reached the point where Redwood Highway turned into Civic Center Drive, I saw a large sign adjacent to an old set of railroad tracks indicating that a Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) train was in the works and would run through the area (connecting communities and providing transit options in the region) sometime in the near future. This sign had been posted for awhile; and I believe it might be a few years before railcars for this new train have been tested and are in operation. I'm hoping there will be Bay Trail access arrangements that complement these plans.

Back to today's walk. I turned around, a bit south of the SMART sign, at the South Fork(s) of Gallinas Creek just past old railroad tracks (at the intersection of Redwood Highway and McInnis Parkway, at the northern end of Marin County Civic Center complex). The Creek with not terribly visible close to the road, but in the distance (east, toward the Bay) I could see a great white egret standing in shallow water.

After turning around, I walked north on Redwood Highway, passing my starting point. As I was headed toward Smith Ranch Rd., I passed the Cat Chateau and Luxury Cat Boarding, Joe's Cafe (4150 Redwood Highway), Happy Garden (Chinese) Restaurant, and Jimbo's Hot Dogs. In short, small businesses which I'm always interested in seeing.

These local businesses give a community a unique sense of place that I don't get with bigger chains. I also passed an office building with attractive, drought-tolerant (or at least a nod to local Mediterranean) landscaping -- with clusters of dark grapes ripening on vines, lavender plants, and neat beds of packed, amber gravel. With water being scarce this year, I was inspired to emulate this design at my house. And, I hope others will be too.

I walked east on Smith Ranch Road to John F. McInnis County Park, and stopped to watch a hawk flutter into a tree along the way.

Once in the park, I found another trail (solid green line on the Bay Trail map) near the old railroad tracks -- a more northerly stretch of the same tracks I'd seen further south; and I walked back on this more peaceful, shaded trail with occasional views of the creek and ducks, that led me back to Redwood Highway (Frontage Road).

I'd seen a family of quail crossing this same trail a few years ago, but it was too late in the day to see much this evening. I did however, enjoy seeing some great views of Mount Tamalpais in the distance as the sun set.

Wildlife Sightings:
11 little brown jobs (LBJs); 11 ducks; 1 red-tailed hawk; 8 pigeons; 7 crows/ravens; 2 clouds of ankle-to-eyeball gnats; 1 great egret; 1 sea gull with bread in beak being chased by 2 crows