Nancy's Travelblogue

... there isn't a train I wouldn't take, no matter where it's going. -- Edna St. Vincent Millay

Location: California, United States

Saturday, July 29, 2006


This series features great things to do in the Bay Area that cost little or no money.

One of the wonderful things about the Bay Area is our park and trail network that weaves its way through cities, along the coast, and out onto the EBMUD lands in the Bay Area hinterlands. Most trails and parks are well maintained, used but not crowded and the park staff even try to establish trailheads near public transportation.

The trail system that has intrigued me for the longest time is the San Francisco Bay Trail, a 400 mile trail which connects the shoreline of the San Francisco Bay and goes through 47 Bay Area cities. I've dreamed of walking this entire trail, bit by bit, and soaking up the wonder of this great body of water, also bit by bit.

Today was the first dayin fulfilling that dream. My good friend Vivian and I have decided to hike these 400 miles together, to walk and talk, spend more time together, and enjoy the fresh sea breeze. Today was the first leg of the trip, and we chose the Oyster Bay Trail (so marked on the map), an 8.5 mile walk along the bay shore from San Leandro to the Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center off highway 92.

This shoreline was originally home to Ohlone Indians. Later, much later (1950s) it served as a landing for local commercial boats ferrying people and market goods from across the bay. In 1854 salt harvetsing began when the entrepreneur John Johnson leveed natural salt pools and created a salt empire which was purchased by Leslie Salt in the 1930s. This last acquisition comes into my personal memory, since my grandfather was friendly with one of the head hanchos of Leslie Salt (this was in the 50s!), and he enjoyed so much driving us around the red/pink/rose salt beds that were testimony to his friend's success.

And so it goes. But today I didn't want to think about history, cultural conflicts, environmental disasters. I just wanted to enjoy the sea breeze, the conversation with my friend, and to feel my body come alive with some serious activity.

I'm pooped right now, but in that wonderful knowing-you'll sleep-like-a-log-and-wake-up-refreshed way, and am headed for bed. But I'm all ready for the next leg of the trip. We need to get out maps out very soon!

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