30 September 2007

Wandering the Berkeley Hills

It's been a busy week at home and at work (which is also technically at home). Yesterday, though, I managed to get outside for some fresh air.

A friend told me about a walk through Berkeley and we decided to check it out. It was a 7 mile walk through the Berkeley hills and the guide told us about the geology of the various rocky out-croppings and pointed out flora and fauna. He also talked about the architecture and some of the history of the city. Did you know that in 1908 or thereabouts, there was a campaign to move the state capital to Berkeley? (It didn't pass.) There also used to be a streetcar that ran through Berkeley. We learned how land developers would sponsor outings for people to get out of the city for the day and picnic in Berkeley parks, and oh, wouldn't this be a lovely place to live? If you're a well-to-do white person?

We climbed up some steep hills. Carved into the rocky hillsides are steps and paths that run perpendicular to the roads. They encourage people to walk into commercial districts for their morning coffee and paper rather than drive. They are great shortcuts on the way down. Walking back up, well, maybe that's why so many people seem so fit in Berkeley. At the tops of the hills, though, are wonderful views of San Francisco and the Bay Area. It was an unusually clear day and we could see everything. We had wonderful sunny weather. A smidge too warm after working it up a hill, but pleasant at all other times.

The walk was sponsored by Greenbelt Alliance. They do guided walks and hikes throughout the Bay Area. Our guide said they do some farm tours, too, which sounds like fun.

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