San Francisco Bay Trail: Mountain View to Palo Alto

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This spring a friend has been training to participate in the San Francisco Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.  Participants in this two-day event walk a full marathon on the first day and a half marathon on the second day, 39.3 miles in 2 days.  In addition to raising funds and awareness for this cause, walkers commit to a significant amount of training to prepare for the walk.  My friend and I had chatted about training together: early in her training I was actually walking a bit more than she was, but this situation reversed as she increased her weekly training distances.  We finally got coordinated on what turned out to be the day of her longest training walk, which was planned to be 22 miles.

She was planning to walk out to the far end of the Stevens Creek Trail in Mountain View and continue toward Palo Alto on the San Francisco Bay Trail.  Since I knew that a 22-mile walk was beyond my current range, I was glad to be able to identify a location to meet up with her, at the end of Crittenden Lane near Shoreline Amphitheatre and Shoreline at Mountain View Park.  From there I was planning to accompany her to her turnaround point and back.  This turned out to be a good plan.  The route we walked together is shown in the GPS track.

GPS track

GPS track

I had previously walked a 2.7-mile portion of the San Francisco Bay Trail in the Palo Alto Baylands and I’d been looking forward to a return.  After turning left to leave Stevens Creek Trail and stay on the San Francisco Bay Trail, we continued past Shoreline Lake and shortly reached the Terminal Blvd. trail head near the end of Charleston Slough, my previous turnaround point.  Almost immediately after this we noticed a group of white pelicans resting and preening.

picture of white pelicans resting and preening

White pelicans resting and preening

A short distance farther there was a group of three pelicans swimming and presumably looking for a meal.

photo of white pelicans looking for a meal

White pelicans looking for a meal

Along the slough we also found a group of avocets busy feeding.

image of avocets feeding

Avocets feeding

We continued around the Bay side of the Baylands past Byxbee Park.  The hillside surrounding the famous pole field was in its summer golden color – a big change from the spring green of my previous visit exactly 3 months earlier.

photo of pole field in Byxbee Park

Pole field in Byxbee Park

After passing Byxbee Park we continued toward the Baylands Interpretive Center, aiming to turn around when my friend’s odometer registered 11 miles.  We reached this milestone near the Palo Alto Duck Pond and the former Sea Scouts building.  This unique building has been under renovation since 2008 and is slated to become an environmental education center.

photo of former Sea Scouts building

Former Sea Scouts building

On the return trip, near the mouth of Charleston Slough, we suddenly noticed a family of Canada geese crossing the trail from the Bay to the slough.

picture of family of Canada geese on parade

Family of Canada geese on parade

As we approached Shoreline Lake we decided to walk along the lake shore and head to the Boat House for a lunch break.  As we walked along the lake shore, we noticed a snowy egret feeding at the edge of the lake.

image of snowy egret feeding at the edge of Shoreline Lake

Snowy egret feeding at the edge of Shoreline Lake

As we left the Boat House after our break, we noticed a hummingbird flitting around among some pretty flowering shrubs.  I took several shots, hoping for one that wasn’t completely blurred.  With abundant sunlight the exposure was probably 1/1000th of a second (I didn’t notice), and the wings are still in motion.

photo of hummingbird sipping from a flower

Hummingbird sipping from a flower

We continued back to Crittenden Lane, where I parted paths with my friend and she went on her way and completed her 22 miles.  I felt privileged to accompany her for just over half of her training walk, and it was enjoyable to discover more avian residents of the Baylands.

This entry was posted in birding, multi-use trails, San Francisco Bay Trail, Santa Clara County, walking for fitness and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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