A forager’s delight & some historical women

stoddard pathMy trusty Berkeley Path Wanderers map shows that Tilden Path (#65) and Hill Path (#66) are not built yet, which means I got to skip those two and head over to Stoddard Path (#67) on Grizzly Peak, Betty Olds Path (#68), and Anne Brower Path (#70). Inexplicably, no path with the number 69 is listed, built or unbuilt. Does that mean it existed once but was lost? This is not the first instance of a missing path. How would one lose a path exactly? Or was the person in charge of naming paths for the City of Berkeley at the time just not very  good with math?IMG_1861

In any case the three paths are close to each other, so it made for a simple itinerary.

Stoddard Path begins at Miller Avenue. If I’d been hungry, I’d have been in luck because the path is bordered by wild raspberry plants (to the observant forager) and an apple tree.

IMG_1860The scent of jasmine made for a pleasant walk. The last stretch–an easy stroll on fairly level ground–brings you to Grizzly Peak Boulevard.

From there it was a short distance to the Anne Brower Path, where I headed back down the hill along the shrub-and-ivy-lined dirt trail dotted with railroad ties. A tree with several intertwined branches provides shade as it reaches across to the tall wooden fence. Anne Brower ends on Miller at a fire hydrant.

The Betty Olds Path picks up just below Miller on Whitaker. As I embarked upon IMG_1872on the narrow path, I heard wind chimes off to the left. Further down, I noticed the fence on one side was essentially some light-colored heavy-duty cloth stretched between wooden frames and connected by posts. This arrangement allowed sunlight onto the path without sacrificing any privacy. It looked to me like a series of canvases awaiting painters to come through and turn the path into a gallery. Some peeling manzanita hugged the wooden fence on the right. Below my feet were the smashed remains of what looked like cherries, but I was never able to identify any cherry trees. I exited the Betty Olds Path Sterling onto Sterling, where I walked until I revisited the top half of Stevenson Path to get back to my starting point.

Anne Brower
Anne Brower

For today’s walk, I decided to do a little research.

Anne Brower, according to the Daily Planet, was a local environmentalist who frequented the walkway that was originally named Twain Path but was later referred to as Twin Path. (Somewhere the “a” got lost, I guess.) Berkeley City Council member Betty Olds worked to get the upper half of the path renamed to honor Brower after her death in 2001.

Betty Olds
Betty Olds next to the path named for her

This same Betty Olds, known as queen of common sense, retired from public service in 2008 at the age of 88, and the path was named to honor her in 2014. According to Berkeleyside, Olds was “instrumental in securing city funds to finance the first map of the Berkeley pathways.” The walkway that is now called Betty Olds Path was the lower half of the same Twain Path that was renamed for Brower. (But fear not, Twain fans, there is a Twain Way on the map that looks like it may be built in the future.)

I have no idea who Stoddard Path was named for. The Berkeley Path Wanderers Association‘s website offered no information on the person. The only person I was able to dig up was a Herbert Stoddard, who was a conservationist from the South. But there’s no evidence that he had any connection to Berkeley, so he probably isn’t the Stoddard for whom the path was named. If anyone out there has an idea of who this Stoddard is, please write it in the comments section.



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