Hike 25 – In the Footsteps of Admiral Nimitz, January 30, 2010
After almost three weeks of rain and wet trails, finally a window of opportunity opened up for a hike. I had not hiked since January 10 mainly because of wet weather and the resulting muddy trails. My hiking partner Lt. Cracker and I decided that this was the day we’d finally get to stretch our legs again.
To avoid swampy and squishy trails, we settled on the paved Nimitz Way in Tilden Regional Park in Berkeley. We figured that the trail would be dry and the views of the surrounding areas would be stunning since Nimitz Way follows the ridge line of East Bay hills. From past experience we knew that this is a popular trail with hikers, joggers, bikers and equestrian riders. And dog walkers and cows too.
Interestingly, the Nimitz Way Trail is named after Admiral Nimitz who apparently used to hike this trail often and was regularly seen scattering wildflower seeds along the trail. This earned him the nickname “Johnny Appleseed of Tilden Park.” Apparently yellow lupine were his favorite.
The drive to our destination had been sunny with some scattered clouds and it looked like a prefect day for an enjoyable hike. At 8:40 AM, we pulled into the crowded parking lot at Inspiration Point. The temperature was a cool 47 degrees. While the trailhead itself was foggy, the closer we got to the trailhead, the sunnier the sky was so, we figured that the fog would soon pass.
The hike began with a gentle climb and for the most part stayed easy to moderate with a mix of climbs and descents. We’d climb a bit, maybe 200 feet maximum, and then head down a bit. For the first two miles of the trail, we encountered markers every quarter mile. After that the markers were sporadic, but there was one at least every mile.
Before we got to the 2-mile mark, we took a short detour through the Rotary Peace Grove looking at trees and plaques honoring various international figures. We noted that women were less well represented here. It is a quiet and peaceful spot and we enjoyed those aspects of it the most. There was a side trail leading off to the top of Wildcat Peak but we did not take it because it was wet and mushy.
About that time, Lt. Cracker twisted his ankle and started struggling a bit. Thankfully his foot started to feel better and we decided to continue on instead of turn back at the 2-mile mark. By now we had encountered many joggers on the trail. Lt. Cracker who grew up in the area and has been hiking here since his childhood informed me that this is a very popular trail and can get extremely crowded at times. Thankfully, today was not such a busy day.
We continued on, enjoying the views of the luscious hills and their seductive curves all around us. We saw the San Pablo Reservoir towards the east and Mt. Diablo in the distance too. Eventually we got to see the San Pablo Dam too. In addition we got sweeping views of Richmond, San Francisco and even the San Joaquin Delta. Eventually we reached the end of the paved portion of Nimitz Way and it was time to turn back.
The hike had been a pleasant one. The weather was cool but the winds were low so we didn’t feel too cold. Only our fingers were cold. On the return we encountered more hikers, bikers and joggers. The trail was getting fairly crowded now and we noticed lots of families with children out on the trail. And a number of old reluctant dogs too.
By 11:40 AM we were back at the parking lot. Temperature had barely crept up to 50 degrees now. We’d completed about 8 miles with around 1,000 feet of easy ups and downs. It felt good to be out on the trail again after being confined indoors for almost three weeks. We looked forward to many hikes this year.
Here’s a map of the hike courtesy of Google Maps:
Links to maps from East Bay Regional Park District website:
- Part 1 of the hike in Tilden Regional Park – http://www.ebparks.org/parks/tilden#trailmap
- Part 2 of the hike in Wildcat Canyon Regional Park – http://www.ebparks.org/parks/wildcat#trailmap
Here’s a slideshow of pictures from the hike: