Coordinates: 37.71501 -122.10203
Difficulty level: moderate to strenuous.
My first time at the park, nearly twelve years ago, was also the grandest. Together with Papa Quail and another friend I hiked the entire loop trail around the lake. I've been wanting to repeat this hike ever since and Earlier this week I found myself with the time and the energy and I was finally set on doing it.
After crossing the dam I turned onto Bass Cove Trail, which is a wide dirt trail shared by bikers and equestrian. On that morning I was all alone on that trail. All alone, save for the birds, of course. And there were many of them. There were the usual water fowl: ducks, Canada geese, coots and cormorants. There were also plenty of bush birds chirping all around me. There is also a firing range on the other side of the park. I heard them, too.
Did I mention already that everything is green and lush right now? Well, the cascade trail is also aflame with magnificent spring blossom.
So many flowers are blooming there right now! Numerous species of ferns are unfurling their leaves under the oaks and laurels. Some places are covered with 'snowflakes' of fallen Madrone petals. Sweet honey smell emanating from blackberry vines in full bloom filled the air with promises of delicious harvest yet to come.
Intoxicated like the bees, I made my way slowly, stopping often to take a photograph and being careful not to step on any of the giant slugs that crossed my path:
At one point I stopped to photograph a tree root running through a nice conglomerate rock when I noticed this cute little guy curled right underneath, an aquatic garter snake:
At its end, the creek enters Lake Chabot and I met Bass Cove Trail once more, going south, back to the marina. Heading back I took the time to photograph more flowers and birds, and the image of the peaceful lake nestled between the hills. I arrived at the marina at 1:25 pm. Walking at a moderate pace it took me a little over 4 hours to hike a little over 9 miles of some really gorgeous trails.
Spring 2014 update: the Poison Oak on this loop trail had been completely cleared away. I mean, completely. There's not even a sample left to show people what to avoid ...