I think one of the reasons I have so much fun walking around Berkeley is because I enjoy the variety of creatures I meet en route to the paths, from plastic dinosaurs to camouflaged Rabbits.
Today’s paths were in the northwest corner of Berkeley, near the Albany border to the west and the Kensington border to the north.
On this particular day, I brought along a companion, our foster dog, Joaquin, who was eager to climb every set of stairs he encountered. And there were many of those opportunities before we ever reached the Visalia Steps (#16), which was stop one on our tour. So he got a lot more exercise than I did because he took several side trips only to have to retrace them when I didn’t let him go onto properties all along Capistrano, San Lorenzo, and Visalia Avenues.
I think the Visalia Steps may be the steepest I’ve encountered so far. Some of the steps were nine inches tall! (I didn’t take my tape measure with me, but I used my arm to mentally mark the height and then measured the distance on my arm when we returned.) Now nine-inch steps are plenty high for a human, but somehow my tiny companion leaped each step effortlessly, despite his legs being significantly shorter than nine inches. I’m sure he thought I was a wuss when I had to stop halfway up to catch my breath.
Then it was a short walk on Menlo Place and up the Alameda until we reached Vincente Walk (#15), which was almost as steep, but since we were going down this time, it wasn’t as hard. Vincente Walk brought us right back to Vincente Avenue, where we wandered around looking for El Paseo. Which is to say, we did not take the most direct route, despite the path entrance being on the same street that Vincente Walk ended. I’d like to say that we were interested in taking in more scenery, but the truth is that I can get lost walking in a straight line…
During our, shall we say, detour, we saw a beautiful garden decorated with two metal peacocks and met another dog, whose owner confirmed that we were actually heading in the right direction.
I am beginning to realize how many boulders make their home in North Berkeley.
Before I started walking the paths, I thought Indian Rock was the only site one would come face to face with a rock that wasn’t purchased at American Soil for an arm and a leg. But today I saw one boulder on the edge of the Visalia Steps and another protruding halfway across El Paseo Path that looked as if a giant had just dropped it there.
Oh, and I received a survey from Map My Walk asking how I was enjoying their app. Ignoring my inner rage and frustration, I decided to give it one more try before giving up and writing up a scathing review.