The Accountant's Garden

Scheduled non-accounting weeks: April 10-14, 2017 June 12-16, 2017 July 24-28, 2017

Friday, January 30, 2009

At last, today was Friday and that meant another hike with East Bay Moms. I just had Helen with me today, in the backpack, but that didn't make this hike a walk in the park. The weather was gorgeous though, and I do love this often-overlooked park in the Oakland hills.

We did a 4-mile loop, starting at the main entrance to the park, marked prominently by signs for the Woodminster Amphitheater. The hike starts out easy enough going along the Sunset Trail. Along this route we noticed just mounds of ladybugs - cuddling - as we told the kids. We climbed up the rather steep Cinderella trail to the Sequoia Bayview Trail, which winds around quite a bit. I had been on this particular hike a couple times, and our group leader, Lee, always looks for the mysterious "Big Trees" trail but never finds it. Since we were only three today, we explored an unmarked trail which turned out to be Big Trees. This takes you up and out through more beautiful pine and redwood groves. After this, we return to the Sequoia Bayview Trail and then make a quick descent on the Sunset trail back to the starting point.

Once again, this is a beautiful park right in Oakland. In addition to the wonderful hiking trails, there is a great paved walk with breath-taking views of the bay on closed-off Sanborn Drive and a great playground for the kiddies.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Although still technically winter, here in California the weather has been quite warm (and unfortunately, quite dry). This must be confusing the plants because I have some early bloomers. Above, one of the Bearded Iris has decided to open about 4 months early and even more bizarre, below, I have one Gladiola blooming!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Ever since spending summers with my grandparents as a little girl, I have harbored a secret love of birds. I love finding them. So today, in addition to starting up East Bay Regional Park's 2009 Trail Challenge, the girls and I walked around the San Leandro Bay and did a fair amount of bird watching. Or, well, bird-sighting, I would call it.

Today's featured hike starts at the Northeast corner of the San Leandro Bay, slightly south of the High Street Bridge that connects Oakland and Alameda. We walked along the Damon Marsh first, at low tide, where we saw all sorts of shorebirds, mostly sandpipers. The easiest to identify were the Black-necked Stilt and the American Avocet. There were also large numbers of small sandpipers, but the sun was behind them and I assume they were in their winter plumage, which makes them look the same (to me).

We kept moving along, crossing the San Leandro Creek and on to the Arrowhead Marsh. Along this route, we saw more pipers and waders, including a couple of Snowy Egrets. In the waterway, and later in Doolittle Pond, there were many birds wintering here including Canvasbacks, Western Grebes, Horned Grebes, Buffleheads, Mallards, and Coots.

There is a fairly large section of trail that runs through the drier (less wetland) marsh, where we saw several squirrels and two jackrabbits. Oh, and a Turkey Vulture, presumably hunting those small critters in the marsh.

Once past Doolittle Pond, it's a fairly short walk to the somthing-Farm bridge over to Alameda, where we saw and heard several hummingbirds - maybe Black-Chinned? Anyhow, once over the bridge, it's a nice little walk through residential Alameda. I was hoping for more shoreline and maybe a playground for the kids, but no such luck. By the time we returned to the High Street Bridge, I was beyond tired, and the walk from the bridge to the original starting point was a rather unappealing, but short, walk through industrial Oakland.

This was a nice walk, but would have been better as an out-and-back, rather than a loop. Or maybe the loop is fun if you are on a bicycle. There were parts of the trail instructions which took us on bike lanes on fairly busy roads, so I was not so happy about that. Overall, though, a very nice way to cover 7.5 miles.