Early Sunday morning, I jumped out of bed excited to be hitting the trail again. This time I was planning to hike some new sections of Round Valley Regional Preserve. I had first hiked here a couple of years ago and since then, this park has become one of my favorites among the East Bay Regional Park system. This was the best time of the year to hike here since the hills in the area were lush green after the winter and spring rains.
I enjoy driving along Marsh Creek Road where the park is situated, and watch the landscape unfold as the miles roll by. The fun begins after crossing the small city of Clayton which rests peacefully under the shadow of Mt. Diablo. Steep hills and equestrian farms line the winding two-lane road for a while. Then the landscape begin to mellow out and canyon walls open up to reveal gently rolling hills. Eventually the hills flatten out completely and give way to some of the most fertile farmlands in the nation.
But today I was lucky to get to the trailhead at all. I avoided a near collision with a car driven by a semi-awake zombie along Marsh Creek Road. He had drifted on to my side of the road but was able to correct his mistake in time. I figured it was just as well. A near-death experience would certainly add to my appreciation of this hike and beautiful day.
At 8:25 AM I took my first step on the trail. Temperature outside was 50 degrees and there were six other cars in the lot. I was surprised to see so many cars but was glad nonetheless to note that other folks too were out enjoying this park. One of the cars there, a silver Acura, looked familiar. I thought I had seen it at the parking lot at yesterday’s hike as well. What I noted about both the cars was that the front passenger’s seat was folded down. It could be a coincidence or a like-minded person. Anyway, I had some trails to check out and miles to eat, so off I went.