Wandering paths is good medicine for the post-election blues

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.

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.

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.





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.

Oak Knoll Path
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.

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.




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