Saturday, February 12, 2005

Iron Horse Regional Trail

The Iron Horse trail runs from Dublin up to Concord, along the way passing through San Ramon, Danville, Alamo and Walnut Creek, where it runs past our apartment complex.

It was originally the route of the Southern Pacific Railroad, now long since gone; although traces remain in Walnut Creek, where the train depot is now a steak restaurant; and in Danville, where the moved depot is now the Museum of the San Ramon Valley. (It's also the route of a petroleum pipeline — not unusual alongside railroads, as train routes are continuous, flat, and otherwise unused — which caused a nasty explosion in Walnut Creek last year.)

Its origin as a railway makes for a flat, easy-to-walk trail, largely flanked by trees and homes. Sometimes a bit too flat and a bit too dull: views are often limited.

We walked from Danville to Alamo and back; about 3 miles each way. Park in the Museum/Andronicos lot in Danville (4 hours parking weekdays/Saturday; unlimited Sunday).

Ice-cream at Rite Aid makes a good reward at Alamo. Not only does Rite Aid (a drug store) have its own ice cream brand ("Thrifty", a legacy of its acquisition of the Thrifty chain in 1996), but: (a) it's good, (b) it's cheap, and (c) some Rite Aids, including the Alamo one, have an ice cream counter. Very odd; it's like popping into Boots for corn plasters and a vanilla cone.

(For future reference: pistachio, caramel pecan, choc chip, mint choc chip, and chocolate malted crunch are good. Coconut and pineapple sounds wierd but is good. Black cherry is disappointing: not cherry-ey enough. Cups cost the same as cones, but seem to get a more generous scoop.)

We walked back into Danville just as dusk was falling: lots of frog croaks to be heard. But we almost left it too late: the trail isn't lit and isn't much fun in the dark.

Categories: Hiking