The Berkeley Path Wanderers Association offered guided walks this past Sunday, and I planned to join the longer, more strenuous one that began at 9:45.
But I forgot to tell my dog Ruby. As we were leaving Point Isabel at 9:15, she decided to go swimming, and it took several minutes to persuade her up the muddy banks. I drove over to the meeting spot at John Muir School, hoping that with smooth traffic, I might just make it. When I arrived at 9:55, several people were standing around. I was in luck! They must be getting a late start. No. These folks were already gathering for the next scheduled hike that left at 10:15. The official greeter told me they’d left right on time, and even if I ran, it was unlikely that I’d catch up.
Since I’d driven to that part of town, I figured I might as well find a path to walk. I didn’t have my map with me, but all the paths are listed on their website, so I used my smart phone to search the list for a nearby path. Aha! I saw one named Claremont Path. I was right next to the Claremont Hotel, so it had to be around there somewhere, right? I put the name in my trusty GPS and followed the directions–with a few missteps and U-turns–to Brookside Avenue, where I found a sign that affirmed that I’d found Claremont Path.
The walkway was even, well maintained, and had sturdy railings. A flatter stretch led me through some lush ivy, but there was always plenty of room to walk.
The top of the path opens onto Ocean View Drive, where I wandered a bit. I was able to see the cranes on Oakland’s waterfront, but the moniker notwithstanding, I could not see the ocean, at least not from street level. But I did enjoy all the summer flowers in bloom as I passed the big beautiful houses of various styles.
I headed right on Margarido and discovered a long set of stairs that goes all the way down to Broadway. All these expensive houses with well-tended gardens practically overlook Highway 24, but I didn’t hear the noise until I reached the fence by the stairs. (Its official name is the Grove Shafter Freeway, but I’ve never heard anyone call it that.) The houses that run along Broadway are partially hidden by some tall evergreens, no doubt to absorb some of sound produced from cars whooshing around the bend.
From Broadway, I turned right onto Brookside and realized I was parked directly across the street from College Preparatory School, which I thought was odd because I was sure that CPS was in Oakland, but Claremont Path was listed as being in Berkeley. Huh.
When I got home, I went to mark my progress. According to my Berkeley Path Wanderers map, Claremont Path was between Hillcrest Road and El Camino Real. I downloaded my pics and checked the photographic evidence. No, I wasn’t crazy. Was the map wrong? Did Claremont Path move?
Thanks to Google Maps, I was able to locate both the Claremont Path that is in Berkeley and the one I took, which is in Oakland–two paths on either side of freeway with the same name. So it was a lovely walk, but it didn’t count toward my goal of walking Berkeley’s 140 paths in 2016 because, of course, it wasn’t in Berkeley. I was cheated! You might even say, I was shafted.
And my last name is Grove. (You see where I’m going with this?) When I ended up in Oakland, it was because I got on the wrong side of the highway. So it wasn’t really my fault that I found the wrong Claremont Path. I blame the Grove Shafter Freeway.