My latest path wandering included my friend Julie, who is here visiting from China. We left the car in the driveway and began our walk at my front door. We made our way up Capistrano, up Solano, up Los Angeles Ave, and around the Marin Circle. Then it got really steep. Along Marin Avenue, I pointed out fun landmarks and took a few photos, mostly as an excuse to catch my breath and take a break from what felt like a 60-degree climb.
We took a right on San Benito Road, crossed Spruce Street, and continued up on Keith Avenue until it reached Euclid. We were glad we’d brought water because it was hot and all that climbing was hard work.
We didn’t see the sign for Bret Harte Way until we were upon it. Beyond the dappled light on a short stretch of sidewalk lay concrete stairs that looked like they’d been the victim of at least one earthquake. Many aren’t level, and several are cracked, but a well-placed orange cone prevented us from stepping on one of the more dangerously crumbly spots.
Bret Harte Way is number 47. Don’t confuse it with Bret Harte Path (#57) or Bret Harte Lane (#72). (One of the path namers was apparently a big Bret Harte fan.) What distinguishes Bret Harte Way besides its worn appearance is that it is also the street address for two residences: 6 and 8 on the south side near the upper entrance. I don’t know what happened to 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7 Bret Harte Way, but even the street sign clarifies that there are only two addresses there.
Off to one side was another path that disappeared into greenery and presumably onto private land. I wanted to follow it for just a bit to see where it led, but my traveling companion had already trudged ahead of me. So I ignored my curiosity and kept to the path we’d set out to cover, which changed personalities a few times before we reached its end. It zigged and zagged among shady trees, with some boards affixed at various points along the way to reduce more erosion, I suppose. We hit a long straight section with handrails before it turned residential.
Once we reached Keith Ave, my plan had been to walk the short distance to El Mirador Path (#48) and take it back down to Euclid. But as we paused to rejuvenate, a man saw us pondering our map and suggested we walk further down Keith to take the Covert Path, which he declared the nicest. I consulted with Julie, who saw no reason to ignore his advice. So we passed both El Mirador and Martinez Paths, which I will just have to return to another time.
Covert Path (#53 & #54) presumably deserves two numbers because it climbs past Cragmont and ends on Keeler. By the time we reached the middle, I felt as if I were miles from any city. The grasses grew wild around the steps, and we encountered a grove of ivy-covered trees. Every once in a while we stopped to turn around and face the bay, and we were treated to some awesome views. We passed a man who cheerfully affirmed that it was much easier coming down than it had been going up. It was quite a long haul, especially in the mid-afternoon June heat. I was overjoyed to reach the top.
Rather than retrace our steps down, we took the city street route, which was a gentler slope that my knees appreciated, I’m sure. And we came upon an adorable fairy garden on Los Angeles Avenue that we hadn’t seen on the way up.
Upon our return, I checked my fitness tracker and discovered we’d trekked over 13,000 steps!