Falling ill will not foil my plan

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building on edge of Clark Kerr campus
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Looking up Tanglewood Path

 

I awoke on Christmas morning with a cold and a urinary tract infection, which not only dampened the holiday a bit but also threatened my path-wandering progress.

But yesterday I was feeling better, so I ventured out to tackle Tanglewood Path (#129), which is on the southern edge of UC’s Clark Kerr campus. I parked on Belrose Avenue and crossed Derby Street to Tanglewood Road, where the western entrance is clearly marked.

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Some flowers along the path

I went up the short staircase and began ascending the long straight walkway, where I passed a jogger and someone who looked like a student. To one side was a tall wooden fence with a fair amount of graffiti. To the other was a row of trees with long, narrow, smooth-edged leaves and bumpy, brown trunks hiding a chain link fence.

The end of the path becomes steep but has no steps or railing. I took it slow, not wanting to jeopardize my recovery, but I still found myself a bit winded.

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At the top, the path’s north side ends at the entrance to Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve, which I didn’t even know existed. It looked tempting, and it was a beautiful day, so I walked beyond Tanglewood Path onto the flatter terrain just for a bit.

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I saw a hound and a human companion entering the park itself, but I skirted the edge, which was more of a border between Clark Kerr Campus and the park. I stopped before passing through a gate that not only looked permanently open but also was not attached to any fence. Despite my sparse knowledge of botany, I was able to identify a row of eucalyptus. Or would that be eucalypti?

Off to timg_2601he side in a clump of young trees were two towels draped over branches. It wasn’t near any body of water that would suggest a swimming expedition, so I think it may have been a temporary shelter for someone who had no home.

Just south of the unmarked eastern entrance to Tanglewood Path lies quiet residential Stonewall Road, where one sign warned people not to leave valuables in parked cars and another let you know you were being watched.img_2608

Returning to my car, I passed another sign. This one seemed rather silly to me, so I ignored it.  No, I didn’t ignore it–I defied it. I twirled on my toes flagrantly before resuming my walk and suffered no consequences whatsoever. So there!

Eight-path day and counting down! Part II

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Oak Ridge Road is the site of some stately mansions, at least one of which still bears the fallen hopes of the recent presidential election.

img_2569From there I took Park Path (#134), which is two short staircases interrupted by a gentle footpath that cuts through ferns, flowers, and trees. At the top of the second staircase, as I neared El Camino Real, my foot kicked a round, polished rock that was unlike any others around it. The shiny gray orb bounced all the way down the steps and out into the street. I tracked it down and placed it on a fence in case it was something that escaped rock-tumblera child’s collection. I thought of the rock tumbler that I had as a kid, from the days of Spirograph and Silly Putty. It was magical once you had the polished rock, but it required a lot of patience for a ten-year old.

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The sidewalks on El Camino Real were extremely tall on one side, probably 20 inches, definitely a hindrance to passengers wanting to exit cars and probably the cause of many scrapes and dents on car doors. On the other side of the street in a driveway was what I can only imagine is a huge concrete Granny Smith apple.

img_2573At the top of The Cutoff (#131) I met an adorable border collie mix named Riley, who was on a walk with his human. When I tried to take a picture of him on the path, he disappeared into the bushes. Camera shy? No, more likely there was a fascinating smell he needed to experience.

img_2574The Cutoff consists of two concrete staircases with railings on either end of an asphalt walkway that has a gradual decline. Along the way I saw a beautiful gate made of metal leaves.

Between Parkside Drive and The Uplands is a long skinny park, or, perhaps, a glorified median that continues all the way to Encina Place where it intersects with Hillcrest. A wide dirt path bordered by thick ivy allows one to walk between the two streets, and there are two staircases where one can cross. Riley and his companion continued on the dirt path while I veered off to take Crossways (#127)  which is a straight longish climb that allows one to go directly to Hillcrest Road without meandering around the  curvy streets.

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The flat section of Crossways

img_2583The first part of the path cuts between houses and involves some climbing. The second part is flatter and gorgeous with its perfectly placed trees on either side creating a canopy and providing a colorful walkway.

After a slight jog on Hillcrest Road, I found the entrance to South Crossways (#128). This path begins at its top end as a concrete staircase with iron railings on either side but turns into a sidewalk that curves around to a street that appears to be Chabolyn Terrace in one direction and Chabot Crest in the other, both in Oakland just south of Berkeley’s border. I made the trek down and immediately came back up. Otherwise, it would have taken me far out of my way, literally into Oakland and back through a maze of curvy roads. But I’m very glad I reached the bottom of the trail because I got a shot of a stunning birch tree against the clear blue sky.

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One house along this path has the distinction of having two addresses: 19 Roslyn Court and 99 South Crossways, neither of which is a street, as far as I could tell. Multiple signs adorned the edge of the property clarifying where mail and deliveries should be left, so I have to assume that there’s been some confusion around the various entrances. But it looked like a lovely place to live.

 

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at 99 S. Crossways/19 Rosyln Ct.

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An Eight-path day and counting down! Part I

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img_2533I did not go in perfect numeric order yesterday, but I covered a lot of ground. All the paths I took were east of Claremont Avenue and south of Ashby in a very nice part of Berkeley that borders Oakland.

At the foot of my first trail was Snoopy’s doghouse with treats inside, and flying high above it was a contraption with two Red Barons attached. It made me smile.

The Steps is the name of path #126, which is aptly named. The concrete steps taking you from Hillcrest Road to Hillcrest Court are flanked by lush greenery on both sides and have an iron railing going up the middle.

img_2541Hillcrest Court turns into the path known simply as The Footway (#125), which is a rather leisurely stroll along an asphalt path with a wooden fence on one side and trees on the other until it becomes a staircase with a center railing and takes you to Encina Place.

Encina Walk (#124) is nothing more than a sidewalk that allows one to reach Oakvale Avenue without having to go around Plaza Drive, but it ends over a creek that runs right under part of a house.

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Oakridge Path
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south side of John Muir School

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Oakvale Avenue, I walked along busy Claremont Avenue until I reached John Muir Elementary, which is where I found the west entrance to Oakridge Path (#132). Although the school is officially on winter break, a mini-camp was operating there, so I saw several small children and a few young adults supervising them. The school is housed in an impressive-looking building with lots of play structures in the yard, and it borders Harwood Creek, separated by a chain-link fence decorated by student-made signs asking all to keep the creek clean. A rather large tree had been uprooted and was lying on its side in the mulchy forested area. I wonder if it was left there so that kids could climb on it. A small bench sat under the trees’ shade and looked inviting, but I still had several paths to cover. And miles to go before I sleep. (Okay, not really miles…)img_2559

Domingo Avenue interrupts Oakridge Path for a short ways, but then it picks back up in Oak Park. And the eastern portion was my favorite path of the day.

First of all, it’s just a lovely, easy walk with lots to see, from the leaning palm tree and the giant citrus plant to the delightful signage. At first, I thought the goose crossing sign was just for laughs, but it turns out there are indeed water fowl on the premises.

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Cute door sign, huh?
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The brightest grapefruit I’ve ever seen, and each one was as big as both of my fists together!

Stay tuned for Part II, when I cover the other four paths!

Wandering paths is good medicine for the post-election blues

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Garber Path

I’d been indoors too long, what with the rain and working at two jobs the last few weeks. And I’ve been feeling down ever since you-know-who was elected, so I was overdue for some path wandering, which always lifts my spirits.

Today I ventured south of UC Berkeley campus to walk Garber Path (#120), Avalon Walk (#121), Pine Path (#122) and Oak Knoll Path (#123), which were clustered nicely for what I thought would be a quick round trip. Except there must have been a sporting event on campus because traffic was heavy and I saw several signs for “event parking.” So the drive took longer than planned, but once I arrived in the well-to-do neighborhood north of Ashby, near Claremont Avenue, I escaped the cars.

I parked on Oak Knoll Terrace just southimg_2521 of Monkey Island Park. (I have no idea why it’s called that; I saw no monkeys, not even monkey bars.) I realized I was right in front of the house where my friends and Pomona classmates lived. (Hi Fred and Evelyn!) It’s a very nice house.

Garber Street does not allow car traffic for its twisty, steep portion before it turns into Garber Road. So I could have walked safely in the street, but the path directly next to it was more inviting. Garber Street borders the backside of Emerson Elementary School, where I took a photo of this lovely flower attached to the fence.

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Avalon Walk

At its southern entrance, Avalon Walk features a gateway with potted plants and a plaque that proclaims it as a certified wildlife habitat and reads

“This property provides the four basic habitat elements needed for wildlife to thrive: food, water, cover, and places to raise young.”

I didn’t actually see any wildlife there, but maybe that’s because they had the appropriate cover. I did spot one cat and two large dogs, both off leash but within calling distance of their human companions. Come to think of it, maybe that’s why local wildlife needs adequate cover.

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Pine Path

The path twists in the middle where the stairway with railings turns south and becomes more of a sidewalk.

Just a short ways up Avalon Avenue is the northern entrance to Pine Path, which starts out as a sidewalk, turns into a staircase with railings, and ends as a concrete walkway that spits one out onto Russell Street.

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Between there and the southern entrance to Oak Knoll Path just a few houses down the street was a charming pair of cut-outs perched on a second story balcony obviously having a fabulous time.

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Oak Knoll Path

Oak Knoll Path is quite steep and would benefit from some steps. The whole way down, my toes kept slamming against the end of my normally comfortable walking shoes. As I walked down the paved trail, a woman passed me on her way up. We acknowledged each other with a smile and a nod. I stopped along the way to photograph some unusually tame graffiti and turned around at the end to take a picture of where I’d walked. And there she was again–the same woman walking backward down the trail. She hadn’t turned around; she was still facing north but descending south along the route she’d just climbed. So I imagine this woman’s Achilles tendon to be stretched beyond all reason. Was it part of a self-imposed routine of physical therapy? Just another mystery I’ve encountered on the paths of Berkeley.

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One of two words written along Oak Knoll Path. The other was “sofa.”

I thought I was being smart by avoiding campus on the way back, but I hit what must have been Christmas-shopping traffic on my return route. Instead of being annoyed at the slow crawl through the intersection, I watched people carrying bags, drinking hot beverages in to-go cups, and wandering among the outdoor vendors along Telegraph Avenue. They actually looked pretty happy. And I was on my way home to trim our Christmas tree, so I decided to be happy too.