Paths #4 & 9: The steep & literary Yosemite Steps + the utilitarian Black Path


Just a few of the resident rabbits

Today I started my walk from my dentist’s office on The Alameda, just south of Solano Ave. (Because I had an appointment, not just because it was a good starting point.)

Before I reached my destination of the Yosemite Steps, I came across a warren* of rabbits (of the concrete variety) lollygagging in someone’s front yard. Now, I’ve seen people use small animal statues as accents, but this landscape was all about the bunnies.

The Yosemite Steps begin down on The Alameda and angle sharply up toward The Arlington with a slight zigzag at Contra Costa Avenue. IMG_0923

I took the slightest detour at the bottom to get a better view of a mural a few houses down. I particularly like that the paintings of the trees seem to turn into real ones that appear above the top of the wall from the other side.

Much of the path was defined by ivy-covered fences, but at one spot, someone had IMG_0925stapled up some poetry. Each one was written by a different poet and may have been contributed by more than one person. I have no idea how long each poem has been posted there, but it was a welcome diversion after hoofing up the steep climb. In addition to the short one by Rumi that I photographed, there were verses penned by Naomi Shihab Nye, e.e. cummings, and Jack Gilbert. I enjoyed just happening upon them that way–a little poetry surprise to accompany my walk.

Walking along the Arlington, I passed over Blackberry Creek, which, due to the recent rain I suppose, produced audible gurgles far below the road. I’ve driven that stretch more times than I could possibly count, but I never knew an open creek ran below the street there.

The top of Mendocino is the site of some palatial homes, at least a few of which appear to border the creek. Imagine having that as your back yard. I did not trespass, but a few of the houses have short fences that I could just see over if I stood on tippy-toe. I’m officially envious.

As I turned from Arlington down Mendocino Avenue, I passed the entrance to Mendocino Path (#6) but decided to save it for another day. Shortly after that, I crossed Indian Rock Path (#5) at its halfway point, but I knew that path deserved to be the focus of a post, not just an addendum to this one.

IMG_0926I did, however, take the Black Path (#9) back toward home because it was most convenient and short enough that it didn’t warrant my venturing out on a separate day to walk it. Essentially Black Path is just a way to go on foot from Mendocino Ave down to Contra Costa Ave along the tiptop of Solano that heads into Northbrae Tunnel. Which means it’s bordered on its south side by cars whizzing by and on its north side by a tall fence to separate the traffic noise from nearby homes.

Below the official end of Black Path is a narrow but serviceable walkway that ends IMG_0927at The Alameda. Someone had put out plastic take-out containers of dry cat food and water. I don’t know if it’s intended to be a feral kitty oasis or if someone is hoping to feed Berkeley wildlife in general. I wondered who would get to it first. Perhaps a living warren of rabbits…

*Yes, I had to look that up. I started to write a “gaggle” of rabbits, but I knew that was wrong…


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