About 3 months after a previous hike in the Tilden Park area I had an opportunity to return and hike the adjacent segment of the Bay Area Ridge Trail in the southern portion of the park and a bit further south. Rather than start at my previous turnaround location at Inspiration Point, I identified another trailhead near the steam trains, essentially at the Tilden Park boundary. From this trailhead I hiked north to Inspiration Point, returned to the trailhead, and continued south as far as I had time to go before returning again to my starting point. Since I like to use an easily identifiable turnaround point whenever possible, I decided to turn around where the trail crosses Fish Ranch Road. My time was limited because I was planning to attend a mid-afternoon seminar in downtown Oakland.
On the way north toward Inspiration Point the Bay Area Ridge Trail follows the Vollmer Peak Trail for about 0.4 miles before turning away from Vollmer Peak on the Lupine Trail, which jogs east to meet up with the primary trail running along Tilden Park’s eastern border. This trail has multiple designations: Seaview Trail, Bay Area Ridge Trail, and East Bay Skyline National Recreation Trail. There is a long section of the Bay Area Ridge Trail along the East Bay hills that is coincident with the 31-mile-long East Bay Skyline Trail, a trail designated as a National Recreation Trail.
This trail is actually like a fire road. When I noticed a footpath that roughly paralleled the road I decided to take the footpath – but I decided on my return that that was actually not the intended trail. In this area there were some wildflowers, and I thought these might be lupines, which I found interesting since I tend to think of lupines as being endemic to higher elevations.
The rest of the hike to Inspiration Point was very pleasant, if uneventful. The views eastward across East Bay Municipal Utility District lands and reservoirs are always impressive. In the Inspiration Point parking lot I was amused to spot an Obama 2012 bumper sticker. Of course this was Berkeley, so I really shouldn’t have been surprised, even 18 months prior to the election.
On the way back to my starting point I managed to take a wrong turn at a trail intersection. I think the intersection didn’t look quite as I remembered because it was near the place where I returned to the main trail from the footpath. In any case, after realizing that the trail was going downhill much more definitively than I expected, I consulted my GPS “breadcrumb track” and confirmed that I was, indeed, on the wrong trail. By this time I had gone about 0.3 miles down the Big Springs Trail, but it was a simple matter to retrace my steps and return to the Ridge Trail. I’m mentioning this because it’s a great example of how a recorded GPS track can help you determine that you’ve departed from the intended trail and find your way back.
After passing my original starting point I proceeded out of Tilden Park. This next section of trail crosses grasslands with occasional stands of trees. As I entered one such stand I noticed – aurally at first – some wild turkeys.
It appeared that the two males were taking turns trying to impress the female. I paused so that they could finish their display, after which they continued off the trail.
As mentioned earlier, I had decided to turn around where the trail crosses Fish Ranch Road, as this location will be easy to identify on a later occasion when I hike from a trailhead farther south. On the way back to my car I noticed a large number of animals on a hillside, which I hadn’t noticed on the way out (because they were behind me). Thanks to the super zoom on my camera, I was able to see that they were goats. I’m not sure why there were so many, though. And what an interesting variety of coat coloration!