This hike was the first in a new adventure! Several women I’ve ice skated with for a number of years decided, over lunch before the holidays, that it would be fun to hike from San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean. You could think of it as an extended Bay to Breakers hike across the Peninsula, around the Palo Alto area. We will hike short, manageable segments. Some of the route will follow an informal Bay-to-Ridge route. And ideally our path will eventually join up with the Skyline to the Sea Trail. Since the name of the skating group most of us participated in was Inside Edges, it seemed fitting to name our adventure Edge to Edge.
This first segment started in Palo Alto’s Baylands Nature Preserve, near the Interpretive Center. Before setting out we posed for a group photo.
Several of us took turns making a ceremonial finger-dip in the Bay.
We made a short side trip to the Duck Pond to check out – what else? – the ducks.
Then we were on our way for real. Most of this segment was, of necessity, an urban walk, but our path also included more open areas where possible. Instead of walking along Embarcadero Road, we took a more scenic route around the Palo Alto Airport and along the lower portion of the San Francisquito Creek.
We then made our way along Geng Road and East Bayshore to a pedestrian bridge across US-101.
After the 101 crossing we were passing through residential areas of Palo Alto. We initially walked along a frontage street to Oregon Expressway, then jogged over one block to California Avenue. Quite by serendipity we walked past a birthday party which was being entertained by an ensemble of performing and talking parrots, called Happy Birds.
Of course we stopped to watch for a few minutes. For some of us, who had skated with a group called the Blue Parrots, the presence of a blue parrot in the ensemble was particularly exciting!
For the children attending the party, there were special party favors: bird houses that the children may have decorated themselves.
As it turned out we arrived almost at the end of the performance, and shortly the parrots were carried back to their van for transportation home. The smallest one, aptly named Yacky, tried to keep up with her owner’s conversation with us by repeating “What a good bird” over and over and refusing to be “shushed”.
To reach the business section of California Avenue near El Camino Real, we crossed under the CalTrain tracks at the California Avenue station. The underpass has been colorfully painted to resemble an aquarium.
Since our walk was on a Sunday, we were able to check out the Farmer’s Market on California Avenue. There were many colorful and interesting displays of fresh produce, baked goods, and flowers. These colorful potatoes were among my favorites.
After a short break to enjoy the market we regrouped to resume walking. I happened to look down at the sidewalk, and was delightfully surprised to notice a section of special brickwork.
After crossing El Camino Real we continued along California Avenue along the edge of the CollegeTerrace neighborhood, passing university- and college-named streets in reverse alphabetical order. Across the street was the edge of Stanford Industrial Park, lined with Stanford spin-offs. We also began to climb just a little bit. Our total elevation gain for the day, including over- and under-passes, was just 175 feet. We’ll climb more in subsequent segments!
The top of California Avenue is at the corner of Amherst. From there we climbed a zig-zag path to the top of Kite Hill, a small open space area with pretty views across the Bay to the East Bay Hills. The day was clear enough to see Mt. Diablo behind the hills.
We are looking forward to the next segment in our adventure!