ADT-CA-8 2021-05

It is dry out there! Poison oak is turning fall colors, at least two months early, California Bay Laurel trees (non-deciduous) are losing a lot of leaves, live oak leaves are browning around the edges, almost all flowers except poppies, monkeyflower, and non-natives are past, the grass is crispy. Except for canyons and seep areas where there is still some moisture left, and things look more like spring. The photo below is ironic, fog over the ridges creating fog capture droplets, as every place else is dry, dry, dry.

fog along Skyview Trail, also ADT

The next segment of the American Discovery Trail. As always, access by transit, in this case Capitol Corridor to Martinez, and County Connection 316 to Pleasant Hill BART station, and then a short walk back to the Contra Costa Canal Trail where I left off the last trip (ADT-CA-7 2021-05). I arrived early afternoon, intending on not hiking far that day, but sometimes the feet get to moving, and I went all the way to San Pablo Creek area.

I grabbed water at Larkey Park, the last source before Bear Creek Staging Area in Briones Regional Park. The Lafayette Ridge Trail in Briones Regional Park is one of my favorites, for the views, not the trail itself which is a fire road and utility road that humps up over every hill and then descends, again and again. But what views!

I continued through the EBMUD East Bay watershed to San Pablo Creek, which is the next source of water. The creek is somewhat unnatural, in that it carries some Mokelumne River water through the plumbing system of EBMUD.

The next day up the Inspiration Trail to Inspiration Point, and then south along the Skyview Trail in Tilden Regional Park. The ADT has been rerouted here, north of the earlier way, and I missed the turn for that. The ADT and Mokelumne Coast to Crest Trail are coincident from Walnut Creek to Inspiration Point, and some though not all of the trail has new ADT and MCCT trail markers. Where the ADT markers are missing, the MCCT markers guide the way. The ridge in Tilden had fog blowing across it all morning long, giving a completely different feel to the trip.

The trail then descends Strawberrry Canyon through the UC Berkeley campus. I had tea at the corner of Bancroft and College, where the ADT becomes an urban trail. In keeping with the urban nature, I rented a Bay Wheels bikeshare to ride College and Broadway into Oakland. Making the best of that, I stopped for beer at Temescal Brewing and again at the Modern Times taproom before continuing around Lake Merced and to Jack London Square. The ferry to San Francisco, which is officially part of the ADT, does not run at all on weekends under the pandemic schedule, so I could not complete the trail to San Francisco and the bridge.

I’ll pick up this section when the weekend ferry is running again, or be there on a weekday. I’m also awaiting the reopening of the Coastal Trail in Point Reyes National Seashore so that I can complete segment 9 to the ocean. It was closed by the Woodward Fire in August 2020.

And home on the Capitol Corridor from Oakland Jack London.

Photos on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/allisondan/albums/72157719323240500

ADT collection on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/allisondan/collections/72157637788624964/

Other ADT blog posts: https://allisondan.wordpress.com/category/backpacking-hiking/american-discovery-trail/

Berkeley to Clayton backpack 2016-06

MtDiablo-foothills
Mt. Diablo foothills

Continuing my repeat trips on the American Discovery Trail, this time I backpacked from Berkeley to Clayton, along American Discovery Trail segments 8 and 7. I skipped the walk from Jack London Square to Berkeley, as I knew my feet did not need all that walking on pavement. So I started from the Berkeley BART station, heading up Bancroft to the Jordan Fire Trail up through Strawberry Canyon on the UC Berkeley campus. I deviated from the route to follow what I’m calling Panoramic Ridge, along Panoramic Drive and then the ridge top trail, sometimes quite steep, up to Grizzly Peak Rd and over into Tilden Park near the steam train. I walked along Skyline Trail north to Inspiration Point and then down to cross San Pablo Creek and up to Briones Reservoir, to Bear Creek staging area for for a late lunch, and then up onto the ridge. All along the trail today there was coyote scat with plum pits in it. Plums are abundant this year, and there are quite a number of either historical or feral plums along the trail. I camped near Russell Peak, where there happens to be a flat spot to sleep and picnic table. There are no legal spots to camp along this route, so I just pick less obvious spots. The night was cold and windy.

The next day I went down along the ADT to Walnut Creek and stopped by a Starbucks to recharge my phone and iPod (which I’d left playing during the night and depleted) and have a cup of iced tea. Then along the canal, through Heather Glen Park, and up onto Shell Ridge which heads southeast into the foothills of Mt. Diablo. Though the grass is all dried and the flowers few, this is a still a beautiful ridge. I camped again at Wall Point, where I’d camped in January 2014. That being a warm winter and this being a stretch of cool weather during the summer, the temps and wind were about the same.

In the morning clouds were hanging about the top of Mt. Diablo. I thought the climb to the top would be hard, about 2300 feet from campsite to peak, but it turned out to be easy in the morning when I was fresh. It was too cold to hang around on the peak, but the views in nearly all directions are worth going on any day. Heading down the north side, I took the Bald Ridge trail instead of the road, avoiding the steep loose surface, though the trail itself was pretty steep and I had to dance around poison oak. Mt. Diablo is simply steep, and if there are non-steep trails there, I haven’t been on them yet. I walked down Mitchell Canyon, and into the town of Clayton. Took the bus to Concord BART, BART to Richmond, and the Amtrak Capitol Corridor home to Sacramento.

This is my third time on the ADT-CA-8 segment, and second on the ADT-CA-7 segment. I did not do the part from Clayton to Antioch, though it would have been a good day to do so with the much cooler temperatures on this very sunny route. I am making an effort to take my feet to the point where they are uncomfortable and sore, but not to the point of damage, and Clayton seemed like a good balance.

This trip is a strange mix of urban and wild lands. It is not just that it starts in Berkeley, crosses through Walnut Creek, and ends in Clayton, but that from any vantage point there are views to the suburbs and often even to San Francisco. But closer to hand, or to foot, the country can be quite wild, and seem like it is miles away from anything. At night, looking out, the lights of some city or another are very visible, but looking up, there are the stars and in this case the first quarter moon. This is also a trail with a number of entry and exit points, if desired, including Orinda, Lafayette, Walnut Creek and Clayton. It could be done as day hikes as well, and in fact I will likely to back and explore some of the side trails that look interesting but are not the main route.

Photos on Flickr

ADT8: Walnut Creek to San Francisco 2014-01

sign post for ADT and others
sign post for ADT and others

This last weekend I completed another of the American Discovery Trail (ADT) segments, this one from Walnut Creek to San Francisco, which is segment 8 of California, leaving just segment 7 for me to complete. I took Amtrak to Richmond, and then BART to the Pleasant Hill station in Walnut Creek.

I walked to the beginning of this segment, mile 0 at Heather Farm Park, just so that I could get an accurate GPS track from the beginning to end of this segment, and then… I forget to turn on the GPS app on my iPad. So I have no track to contribute, but do have some guidance. It is hard to do any of these segments without reference to both the ADT Data Book, and a GPS unit with mapping. A number of times I could not have determined which way the trail went except by looking the the waypoint beyond the trail current trail junction. As it was, I got lost late in the day on Saturday, missing the trail that continues along Lafayette Ridge and dropping into town, from where I had to reorient and then climb the 1000 feet back up to the ridge. I was more careful after that. It is a situation where having a GPS track in hand could really help, but then, that is what I didn’t accomplish. Maybe next time!

Continue reading “ADT8: Walnut Creek to San Francisco 2014-01”