Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Canal Trails: Heather Farm Night Walk

My first hike with East Bay Casual Hiking for months. There have been fewer hikes over the summer; but also, I seem to have been in a phase lately where I prefer to do my own thing than hike in an organised group. I’m not sure why. But tonight’s evening hike caught my eye, so I turned out to support it.

Plus, I thought, although it’s a short hike, I can walk up the Iron Horse Trail to the start at Pleasant Hill BART, which gets me some extra miles of exercise.

As it turned out, we were a small group—me, Dan, Phyllis, and Paul leading us—and we managed some decent distance. Pleasant Hill BART down to the Contra Costa Canal Trail, and a meandering tour through the gardens at Heather Farm. A cut through Diablo Hills Golf Course, a scramble over a fence—oops—and a crossing of Ygnacio Valley Road. Why does it always smell of rotten eggs here? Dusk. Onto the Ygnacio Canal Trail. “Let me know when you guys are ready to turn around”, says Paul, but none of us really want to crack first…

Trail map of Iron Horse Trail, Contra Costa Canal Trail, and Ygnacio Canal Trail, around Heather Farm.

Well, we do crack eventually; it’s getting dark, the wind is picking up a bit, and it’s a bit nippy. The first time since winter that I’ve felt cold on a hike. A left on San Antonio Drive, another left on San Carlos Drive, and we’re heading back towards Heather Farm. It’s really getting quite dark now. Back through Heather Farm; a detour to see the fountains, but much to Paul’s disappointment they’re not lit tonight. Back onto the Contra Costa Canal Trail, which is now really, really dark; a pair of headlamped rollerbladers glide out of the gloom towards us and vanish back into the night behind us.

At the junction with the Iron Horse Trail, we part company. I head south towards Walnut Creek, they head north back to the BART. And back in time to have only missed 15 minutes of Lost; although yet again, they’re skipping episodes

About two hours, and taking a bit of string to the map suggests we did about five miles. And four extra miles for me for the walk in from Walnut Creek and back. All flat miles, but still: a good stretch.

Categories: Hiking