Iron Horse Trail 2: Trail Harder
Today we tried it the other way: from our front door in Walnut Creek to Alamo and back again. About 4.2 miles each way. I enjoyed it, but the extra 2 miles was enough to do for Melinda.
And to be honest, the stretch in Walnut Creek, from downtown along South Broadway to the Rudgear Road staging area, isn't really worth it. It runs alongside some major roads before crossing under highway 680; a little too noisy and urban for my taste. After Rudgear Road, the trail pulls away from the road a bit and gets quieter, although it takes a mile or so to get far enough from 680 to lose the freeway noise.
The trail is wide here, too wide to get much if any shade; it was hot walking today and in summer would probably be unbearable. And it's well-used; many, many cyclists out today, including a few diehard recumbent bikers sporting aerodynamic plastic covers, and quite a few rollerbladers.
There are a few odd sights: all along the trail, water fountains for both people and dogs (a separate push-button faucet fills a built-in water-bowl). Near Hillgrade Avenue, stabled horses look out onto the trail, with a sign warning agaist feeding them the plants growing nearby ("carrots only!"). Near Livorna Road, a bay window built into a backyard fence, presumably to give a curious dog a view onto the trail. Near Ridgewood Road, a backyard tableau of full-size plastic farmyard animals, complete with farmer.
Lunch is a deli sandwich at Safeway (always very good) followed by cheap icecream at Rite Aid (ditto; scoops always seem generous at this Rite Aid) before the long trek back.