I know that technically I was still in the same atmospheric layer up on Grizzly Peak Boulevard, but it felt like I had entered the stratosphere once I’d reached that height on Marin Avenue. This is truly the Berkeley Hills.
I parked my car as far over as I could so as not to block the bike lane. Bicyclists apparently love Grizzly Peak, even though it’s a bus route. Maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised, but on a Friday after 4:30 it’s actually got a bit of traffic.
Making my way to the entrance to Latham Walk (#43) was more dangerous than any walk I’ve taken so far. I had to cross Grizzly Peak, a winding road with no sidewalks on the eastern side where the trail begins. A very nice car stopped for me even though there was no crosswalk or stop sign for as far as the eye can see.
The steps paralleled the road for a bit and then took a sharp angle left, where the trail squeezed its way between two houses. It’s one of the shortest paths, so I found myself on Creston Road in no time.
From there I walked northwest to the upper entrance to Miller Path East (#44), not to be confused with Miller Path West (#42), which is numbered but hasn’t been built yet. (I still don’t understand the logic behind the numbering system.)
The top of the path doesn’t actually start at the signpost. A concrete walkway that probably belongs to the homeowner on the left side leads path wanderers past trash, recycling, and compost bins until the real path begins off to the right several yards from Creston Road. You can’t really even see it from the road.
I propose that Miller Path East be renamed Bamboo Path. Not only was there a solid bamboo barrier between the residence to the north and the path, but there were renegade shoots on the path itself and one that had jumped the steps and claimed land for itself on the other side. Knowing from experience how quickly bamboo grows, I’m sure that if I were to walk that same path in a month, those fledgling plants would be taller than me.
Miller Path East is longer than Latham Walk, and I enjoyed the rather curvy descent that deposited me back onto Grizzly Peak Boulevard. At two different spots along the way, private homemade trails broke off from the public path, one to each of its neighboring houses. I smiled, imagining the people who lived there creating these little detours that connected these two households to each other and to the path wanderers out there.
I managed to cross back over Grizzly Peak and walked as far as I could until the sidewalk was overtaken by greenery.
As I approached my car, I spotted a sign warning motorists to watch out for pedestrians. It was no longer perpendicular to earth, which made me wonder if it had been hit by a car that was swerving to avoid crashing into an unfortunate path wanderer such as myself.
Probably better not to think about it too much.