Launching The Urban Hiker

My project for 2016? Walk! My plan is to procure a map of Berkeley (and possibly Albany, since my house is just a few blocks from its border) and keep track of my daily walks throughout the year. When I was in Dublin this past October, I bought a light but sturdy pair of hiking boots, and I plan to put them to work. This is the year I become The Urban Hiker.

January 1, 2016 (New Year’s Day)

Albany BulbA favorite spot for dogs and their human companions, the Albany Bulb is a nine-minute drive from my house in North Berkeley. A former landfill, it juts into the San Francisco Bay and offers clear views of the city skyline north of the Bay Bridge. As you arrive, you pass Golden Gate Fields, the horse-race track, on the left. Opposite the parking strip is a short climb to a plateau that abuts mudflats, which separate the Bulb from Point Isabel to the north. After a short stretch of sandy beach, you can walk the Bulb around the perimeter or aim straight through the middle. Sculptures made of wood, metal, and found objects dot the northern end of the bulb and provide unusual photo opportunities. The south side that’s next to the beach has recently been replanted with grass seed to slow erosion and you can see carefully grouped boulders that create placid lagoons for roosting birds. Scattered throughout the Bulb are painted concrete and rocks bear whimsical messages, such as the three large stones placed at fifty-yard intervals along the path in classic Burma Shave billboard style telling us all: Call–Your–Mother.

Bulb pic
one of the many unique sights at the Albany Bulb

Today being a holiday,  extended family and dogs joined me on my walk. It was sunny but cold, and when the wind got strong enough that we had to hold onto our caps, it felt even chillier. But our group was bundled appropriately in layers, so we were warm enough as long as we kept moving. Undaunted by the cold, our ten-month old puppy, Ruby, ran into the freezing waves on the beach and then was drawn to every mud puddle on the walk afterward. (Needless to say, my husband, Dave, bathed her immediately upon our return home.)

We didn’t do the whole circumference this time out, but I walked about a mile and a half, which–if I’m reading my Jawbone fitness tracker correctly–was 3,693 steps, or over a third of my 10,000-step daily goal.

I guess I’d better hit the annual Pegasus calendar sale up on Solano so I can get in the remainder of my steps…

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