Hill Court Steps: Short, hidden & steep


I took our foster dog, Zazzie, on my walk yesterday. I think she felt special because she was the only dog who got to accompany me. Ruby walks too fast, and Rufus walks too slow. But Zazzie is just right for a Berkeley path.

The week before I had planned to walk the Hill Court Steps (#106) but got sidetracked, so I made a special trip. The map showed Hill Court Steps as between Hill Court and LeRoy Avenue. But even though I knew where it was supposed to be, I missed the eastern entrance on LeRoy. I guess I was preoccupied with discovering a school that I never knew was there.

It used to be Hillside Elementary, a public school, but it’s located right on the Hayward Fault, so the City of Berkeley sold it. Apparently it’s had a few identities, but now it’s GISSV, or German International School of Silicon Valley. Except Berkeley is not part of Silicon Valley. At least last time I checked. I guess it’s their northern campus?

in a front yard on Hill Ct.

Anyway, Zazzie and I walked down Buena Vista Way and made a left on Euclid Ave, where we saw  a squirrel making a showy dash across the street. I’m glad I had a strong grasp of her leash because she tried to bolt after it, ignoring the cars that were whizzing by between her and her prey. Whew!

We climbed the tiny Hill Court, which is not a through street and has no sidewalks. But it does have some fun decor. At the end of the cul-de-sac I saw some carefully pieced-together stone stairs to someone’s house but no sign pointing out Hill Court Steps. Hmmm…


Hill Court Steps entrance on Hill Court

We mounted the short staircase adorned with a citrus tree that was bursting with fruit, which led us to a concrete path that you couldn’t see from across the street because it was perpendicular to the first few steps and heavily camouflaged with greenery. This path would have benefited from stair steps, for it was quite steep, and the only railing was just a few feet long. We continued up the broken, shady pathway as it took a 60-degree turn to the right and then dumped us onto what looked like a sidewalk that ran between a wall of ivy and a small front yard. And at the end is where I finally saw the Hill Court Steps sign peeking up amid some tree branches right at the curve in LeRoy.

img_2423It was a beautiful October afternoon, and I had to stop to admire the colorful autumn leaves, which Zazzie took as an excuse to pee. It was a short but productive walk.

Since I’ve already walked #107, #109, and #112 (and #108, #110, and #111 are unbuilt), that means I’m ready for #113. Except no path #113 exists. So next time I’ll start with #114. I looked ahead to see if any other paths have “unbuilt” next to their names on the path list, and none of them do. So in order to meet my my challenge, I need to cover the last 36 paths in 10 weeks. Can I do it? Stay tuned to see.



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