I didn't realize how much empty land surrounded Livermore. The Easy Bay Regional Parks District maintains all sorts of recreational land, from backpackable wilderness areas to nice parks for short day trips. Just a few miles north of my old home, a country road narrows down to one lane and leads up into the hills to the Morgan Territory Preserve. A variety of trails across grassy hills caters to walkers, bikers, and horses.
The typical California hiking trail is more like a fire
road--and very well might be a fire road. A few "hiking only"
footpaths can be found, but the level of treadway maintenance was
surprising to this Easterner. Where's the sport in that?
East of these hills, the vast flatness of California's
Central Valley separates the mountainous coast from the Sierra Nevada.
The clouds on the horizon are actually thunderheads and lenticular
clouds over the High Sierra peaks over 100 miles to the east. Too bad
haze blocks the view on all but a few days.
Oak is everywhere, and seems to be the primary ground cover in wooded
areas. Learn what it looks like: three leaves per stem, with the two
side leaves attached directly to the stem and the middle leaf
projected out on a stalk.
Something about this area is just--different. The
lack of shrubbery increases the contrast between the fields and the
forest, and the dry climate results in drastic color
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