The western entrance to Oak St. Path is on–you guessed it–Oak Street. Fairly flat, the dirt path is occasionally broken up by what appear to be logs or thick wooden rods that approximate steps. At the beginning, juniper bushes grow along the north side and a short wooden fence borders it to the south. As you round each bend of the somewhat meandering path, the plant life varies, and sunny spots give way to dappled light created by trees leaning toward each other creating a canopy.
At the midway point is a juncture at which one can take Laurel Street south or continue east on the trail, which ends at Euclid Avenue. The map shows a short cul-de-sac called High Court. There are even two different signs that claim to point out the entrance to said street. One is practically hidden by surrounding greenery, and the other is almost up against a house. But if there was a passable road, I could not see one. I’m sure it’s there somewhere…
When I was making the slight jog on Laurel to cover the second half of the trail, I spotted a deer ahead of me. Deer are not unusual in the Berkeley Hills, but one generally sees them closer to nightfall. It was after 4 p.m., but the sun was still quite high in the sky, so it felt like midday, which is why it felt more surprising. He looked straight at me without bolting. Not wanting to rush him, I waited a bit and took a photo; and he eventually wandered off to the left where it became more woodsy.
Although I don’t recollect seeing any oak trees on Oak Street Path, there is a large palm. On one tree trunk along the path someone had painted the word “Fargo.” A Coen brothers fan? Or a transplant from North Dakota who was missing home? Either way–why paint on a tree?
On the property adjacent to the path is an ivy-covered structure in a tree that looked like it may have been a homemade lookout tower or the skeleton of a tree fort. The bottom of it is about even with my shoulders, and it’s probably six feet high, but I couldn’t tell if there was a platform on top or not. What do you think it is?
Near the end, the path widens considerably. To the left (north) is a driveway that winds out of sight. So this short section of the path is drivable. A bit further up, it turns back into a pedestrian-only walkway, after which it takes a sharp right turn south, where I spied some mailboxes. Apparently, for a few residents, the path is actually their address.
I’ve noticed that alongside most of the paths I’ve traveled, the adjacent homeowners have put up fences to delineate where their property lines begin, which isn’t surprising. I imagine public paths coming so close to one’s house would be an issue for those who value privacy. So I particularly appreciate those few people whose landscaping is more open. It’s as if they’re saying, “Look, this may be private property, but we can still share its beauty with path wanderers.”
Or at least that’s what I’ve decided they’re saying.