Now, my official map of pathways in Berkeley does have a few trails in Albany, Kensington, and Oakland. But the map stops south of where I found this sign, so I decided to throw caution to the wind and be spontaneous. It’s true that I wouldn’t have a map to consult, but I’m pretty bad at reading them anyway…
I parked on the Arlington, walked back to the sign, and, well, followed where it led. The first block was a steep set of steps that brought me panting up to a small residential street. That may have been all there was to the official public path #6, but across the cul-de-sac I spied what appeared to be an entrance to some path that was not connected to the homes on either side of it. So I continued along this much narrower trail that looked as if it were made of stepping-stones and rocks leftover from a big landscaping project. It didn’t really go anywhere particular but spit me out on another residential road, where I decided I may as well walk the long way back to my car and take in some of the quiet neighborhood in this tiny town known as Kensington.
I happen to notice some words carved into the sidewalk beneath my feet. I don’t know if the “proper” was a mistake or if the writer who created it was trying to spoof the Vulcan greeting or if it was just someone hoping to be a civilizing influence on his neighbors.
The next sight on my walk was a patch of colorful mushrooms–a rare and delightful sight in our drought-stricken part of the world.
And then on the busy thoroughfare of Arlington Avenue, I passed some ceramic snakes in a front yard. Perhaps they were art projects that just needed a home, but I wonder if they were meant to scare away wildlife intruders who might otherwise nibble on the plants there.
It was another instance of seeing so much more on foot than from the car. I’d certainly driven past these snakes and mushrooms on several occasions without knowing they were there. Which is one of the benefits of being an urban–or in this case, suburban–hiker.