On the Path Wanderer’s website, Northgate Path is listed as #101. The 2010 Berkeleyside article I read dubs Northgate as the 100th path. But the numbers have been a little off a few times, so this seemed par for the course.
I saw on the map that Glendale-La Loma Park was just south of Northgate Path, so instead of driving to one of the entrances, I parked on La Loma and took the opportunity to traverse the park on my way to today’s path. It was another park I’d never seen before, nestled away behind some hilly scrub and private residences. One entrance was the head of a fire trail chained off at the end of El Portal Court where no parking was allowed.
Glendale-La Loma Park is divided into sections: a baseball diamond, a climbing structure for older kids, a gated area for tot play with a cute stationary train, and a wild hillside. It’s a lovely, spacious park, and not a soul was in it but me. Probably because there’s no parking…
I left the park via Glendale Avenue, turned on Campus Drive and walked precariously on the edge of the road (since there was no sidewalk) until it intersected with Quail Avenue, which ends at the southern entrance to Northgate Path. The sign was fairly hidden by flora, and I might not have noticed it had I not been certain of the path’s location.
The path was long and fairly straight, bordered by eucalyptus trees, ivy, blackberry bushes, and a chain link fence tangled up in convoluted tree branches. Several identical signs were posted on the west side warning those who walked along there not to trim any of the plants without first checking with Charlie Bowen of the Path Wanderers Association. I’m imagining some renegade weeders tearing their way down the path with machetes and an evil plan; then they catch sight of the signs and curse, their afternoon of gleeful trimming foiled.
A few locked gates along the way made it clear that this public passage cuts between private homes. Most of the path was railroad-tie steps continuing downward as far as I could see. Toward the end, the precipitous descent required some carefully built switchbacks with railings, for which I was thankful.
I headed west on Shasta Road, which took me past a house that was getting rid of stuff and had placed it out in front for passersby to see. A small brush labeled “Frogger” was among the miscellaneous items, which I discovered has nothing to do with the video game I played in the 80s. A Google search revealed that it’s a golf brush. (I didn’t even know golf clubs needed brushing!) Most items were free for the taking, but some furniture pieces bore post-it notes with prices on them and instructions as to where to leave the money. That kind of trust in human nature made me smile. I wonder if it worked or if the tables and desk are still there.
A bumper sticker on a truck parked on the street read “Under republicans, man exploits man. Under democrats, it’s just the opposite.” I had to think about it a moment, but then I laughed.
Shasta Road takes a sharp turn south, and according to my map, it was about to turn west for quite a spell before intersecting with any road that would allow me to head back east. This would have made for a much longer walk back to my car.
But happily, a Berkeley Boy Scout troop had seen the need for a more direct route through Glendale-La Loma Park and had built quite a long trail up the wild hillside as a service project. Bless those boy scouts! It was a steep trek up many switchbacks, but it took me right back to the park, where it was a short walk to my car. I probably saved 20 minutes. Thank you, Berkeley Boy Scout Troop 24!