Tamalpais Path has a lot of steps!

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A stray ball on the bank of Codornices Creek reminds onlookers that a basketball court is nearby.

IMG_1627Right on Euclid Avenue is Codornices Park, which for some reason that I’ve never understood, is pronounced cord-uh-nee-sus. Bordering its northern edge is Tamalpais Path (#100), which offers a beautiful view of Codornices Creek and the fields and playgrounds that lie just south of it. I visited that playground fairly often when I was a parent of a young child, as it’s a favorite spot for birthday parties.

IMG_1628Surrounded by woods, it doesn’t feel like it’s in the middle of Berkeley. As you walk east toward the hills, you cross a few wooden bridges and catch glimpses of houses that are set back in the woods, away from the streets.

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the path not taken

Once you reach a bend, three routes present themselves: on the right is one that wanders back into the park.

IMG_1632To the left is a mysterious curved stairway that I assume is on private property.

And in the middle is Tamalpais Path, which is how I proceeded, regardless of my curiosity about the stairway.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

IMG_1637The concrete steps looked manageable, so I continued in blissful ignorance, unable to see how far they went or how high they rose. At first, every ten or twelve steps, a landing offered a respite from the ascent. But after several such sections, a long stairway came into view. I took a deep breath and began to climb.IMG_1641

Because trees bordered each side, their branches obscured the views ahead, lulling me into thinking that each set of steps could be the last. On one hand, I wish I’d known ahead of time what I was embarking upon. I probably would have counted the steps. But maybe it’s better that I never knew how far I’d travel because the prospect might have tired me out before my legs did.

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So I just kept taking pictures of what lay ahead of me and occasionally turned around to see what I’d climbed. The last few sections had railings, which I made use of. It’s as if the path builders knew that hikers would have plenty of energy at the bottom of the path but would need support toward the end.

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Can you make out the street sign at the top of the stairs?

 

 

When I finally reached a place on the steps when I spied the top of a sign that I recognized as the end of the trail, I was so happy that I took a photo from that exact spot.

The path exited onto Tamalpais Road, where I walked happily on more level terrain. Narrow sidewalks were not always passable between the parked cars and overly enthusiastic flora spilling from people’s yards. But the streets were quiet, and little traffic passed by while I wandered the neighborhood.

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Earlier, when I was on Oak Street Path, I’d seen a deer–my first one during this year-long project of walking every path in Berkeley. And on Tamalpais Road I saw another deer. This one was actually in someone’s front yard. When it saw me, it took off up the stairs that presumably led to the house’s back door. Because a wall blocked my view, I couldn’t see where it ended up. Perhaps it’s lying in a chaise lounge in their back yard now.

IMG_1655I saw some unusual structures on Tamalpais Road, including two funiculars and a building that appeared to be a two-story room, judging by its dimensions.

Storybook houses and wood-shingled beauties were scattered among more modern architecture–most in mint condition and a few in need of repair or a paint job. IMG_1647 IMG_1650IMG_1658

And I saw a variety of landscaping that I couldn’t resist photographing. All in all, it was a most pleasant walk.

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I passed both the La Loma Steps and Rose Walk on my way back home, but I decided to save those for another day…

 

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