Sibley Volcanic / Huckleberry Botanic Regional Preserve walk - December, 2018

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The Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve and the Huckleberry Botanic Regional Preserve border each other, so we walked the trails at both areas on a Saturday in mid-December. These Preserves are located in the hills above Oakland, generally in the hills surrounding the Caldecott Tunnel.  There were only six of us on this walk, and it was a hazy winter's day, with flat light.       

First we walked through the Sibley Volcanic area.  The soils here are 10 million years old and stretch out for miles around, as part of the Orinda Formation, as stated on the handout.  There are prominent quarries where basalt was, or is, commercially mined.  Basalt is typically crushed & mixed either with asphalt to make road pavement, or with concrete aggregate for general concrete construction.  (source: Wikipedia)  My guess is it's a cheap bulking agent, as opposed to having any special chemical or binding properties.    

note - you can enlarge any part of a picture by left-clicking in and then out again. 

  you are here a lot of people & their dogs Heide, Kristina, and Barbara  
  active Basalt mine near upscale homes former basalt quarry w/labyrinth views of Mt. Diablo using a distance lens
Kristina at the cairn Rich in volcanic terrain   another basalt quarry with a labyrinth  
  Scouts   David in the hills  distant ridges
almost a group shot...   wooded hills    

We stopped and had lunch and afterwards walked down the road to the Huckleberry Botanic Preserve trailhead, where we encountered a few more miles of hilly terrain, in a really great woods.  I always appreciate being in a Bay Laurel woods, and many are found in this part of the East Bay Regional Parks. 

The brochure states that the Preserve "is an ecological jewel. The native plant community here is seen nowhere else in the East Bay and represents a relic plant association found in certain areas of California where ideal soil and climatic conditions exist.  Today, similar vegetation is found on the islands off the Santa Barbara Coast and in isolated pockets on the mainland coast...south of San Francisco."  (from the Preserve handout)

walk to Huckleberry Preserve trails start of trail Cherry tree growing in a shady spot  
  nice light in the woods Oakland & S.F. Bay w/ Lake Merritt to left Oakland Hills
  Toyon bush a 'seasons greetings' image
    Kristina and David  
Bay Laurel forest the Bay Area is brought to you by.....
out of focus  view of new Bay bridge expensive Oakland hills properties we stopped for a meal in Orinda

Both Preserves are part of the vast East Bay Regional Park District.  Here's their website -

It was a good day out, with weak sun, and coolish at times.  Rich surmised we'd walked maybe 6 miles, with elevation gain/loss more than 500 feet or maybe even 1,000 ft., but we did not have Frank with us, our usual GPS-oriented companion, so the numbers are a guess.    

After the walk, the group got back on  Hwy 24 and took the next exit to Orinda, with the main shops & restaurants being just off the freeway.  Most of us had a 4:30 pm early dinner at The Fourth Bore. It was a quiet time, and across the room I saw three idle cooks, looking for some action, and watching us closely as we ordered.  I wondered why, when the waiter's face had a moment of trigger-edge having to do with whether any of us wanted fries, or not.  Those cooks apparently need the soonest possible warning to get good fries going, and they were visibly relieved when the waiter did a hand signal when none of us ordered fries. 

In-between times for dining at places like this are ideal, and of course we just lucked out, as we had great service & food arrived quickly, all of it.  They had a good dark beer on tap, can't recall what it was.  I had "the Wedge" salad and a cup of Gumbo, and it was a really good combo.  I think we hikers could mentally file this food place away for future Bay Area Hikes.  

Here's the menu: 

The restaurant's name refers to the fourth, or last, tunnel which was bored through the Berkeley Hills in 2013, completing the Caldecott Tunnel on Highway 24 between Walnut Creek and Berkeley, Ca.  When Linda and I lived and/or worked in the East Bay, this tunnel was a regular aspect of our lives. 

Today's hike was in the quieter parts of the Oakland Hills, well above and away from the tunnel or any other traffic noises.  Where we walked today, it was very quiet & it was another great day out!!        

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