ADT8: Walnut Creek to San Francisco 2014-11

buckeye nuts
buckeye nuts

I repeated the American Discovery Trail section 8 from Walnut Creek to San Francisco, this time successfully creating a GPS track, though the track was just an excuse to get out on the trail again. I love this ADT section for its combination of fairly remote backcountry with an urban experience. This is my third time. After my first trip in January 2014, I re-walked it in March 2014 in an attempt to create a track, but messed it up. And forgot my journal, which is largely why I never did a post on that trip. But the photos are good!

I started after a Sunday evening circle dance in El Cerrito, then BART to Pleasant Hill, and then walked for about two hours to Lafayette Ridge, arriving about 2:00AM. I camped under a spreading oak, and sunrise came soon. Monday I continued the route through Briones Regional Park, the EBMUD Briones watershed, and Tilden Regional Park. It is hard to say whether this year is drier or wetter than last year. There are wet areas, mostly in the canyon bottoms, and a little furze of green growth coming up, but the hillsides are largely still brown and waiting for rain. Fall is well along, with some fall color still present and some leaves gone entirely. Since I was hiking on a weekday, I saw very few people on the trail, three before Tilden and only about 15 within Tilden, very much different from my prior weekend trips where I passed many people and Tilden was crowded with hikers.

EBMUD gate latch
EBMUD gate latch

EBMUD (East Bay Municipal Utility District) has an interesting gate latch system that I’ve never seen anywhere else, shown at right. The ring holds the gate closed and must be lifted to open the gate, but the gate can be swung closed and will re-latch itself. The trail passes through about eight miles of EBMUD lands, so there are a number of these gates. Some have not been maintained and no longer work properly, but when they do, it is fun to use them. These EBMUD lands are not really watershed lands, in that only a small amount of water comes from these mostly dry hills. The water is brought by pipeline and canal from the Mokelumne River and then stored in Briones and San Pablo reservoirs. Hiking these watershed lands requires a special trail use permit, which can be ordered online or purchased at a few locations in the east bay.

At the top of the UC Berkeley campus, the official waypoints and trail log encourage walking along Grizzly Peak Rd in a section with no shoulder, and then crossing Grizzly Peak Rd at a high-speed blind corner to T80200. I have created an alternative, with T80194 and T80194, that crosses Grizzly Peak Rd at a location with much better visibility, and then returns to the Jordan Firetrail just to the west. My waypoint and track files reflect this change. I’ve also added a few waypoints at trail junctions that might be confusing.

I camped above Berkeley, and watched the the fog thicken at sunset. During the night it turned to fog drizzle, for which I’d not set up my tarp and was not prepared, so I eventually just packed up and walked down into Berkeley in the dark. Had breakfast at Cafe Lizzi near Jack London Square, caught the ferry to San Francisco, and walked along the waterfront to Fort Mason, where the Hostelling International San Francisco Fishermans Wharf is. My ADT section 8 track ends here, rather than at the Golden Gate Bridge, since a person long-distance hiking the trail would logically break the section at the hostel rather than at the bridge.

Prior trip: ADT: Walnut Creek to San Francisco 2014-01

  • ADT-CA-8 Track (created by Dan Allison 2014-11-10; edited and smoothed in Adze)
  • ADT-CA-8 Waypoints (modified by Dan Allison from the American Discovery Trail Association file to add critical waypoints)

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