Archive for the ‘oakland rocks’ Category

The Skyline median trail

3 August 2015

My latest outing took me to what I’ll call the middle part of Skyline Boulevard, the part where the road is divided. Starting at Skyline High School and going south for about 2 miles, a footpath runs in the median. It’s a hidden gem. This is the nearest thing Oakland has to a long walk on a country lane.


Nobody online talks about this trail. I don’t know who made it or who maintains it. Cyclists laud the paved road, of course, which deserves the praise. The MBTR mountain bikers site reviews it under the name Skyline Boulevard Singletrack and gives it high marks, but you’d have to be as singleminded as me AND a mountain biker to seek it out. But the path is a nice way to enjoy this part of the hills.

This end of Skyline is exclusively on the Oakland Conglomerate, which holds up the spine of the ridge. Here’s the terrain:


And here’s the geology, with “Ko” representing the Oakland Conglomerate (this is the same sequence seen in Shepherd Canyon):


Some parts of the bedrock are straight sandstone.


But almost everywhere along the trail you’ll see the rounded cobbles that are this rock unit’s most distinctive feature, either embedded in stone or weathered out like this.


A slight detour up Brandy Rock Way will bring you to this fine exposure of the vertically tilted bedding, with a thick sandstone bed and conglomerate on either side (1000 pixels).


The road is slightly off the actual crest of the ridge, so the views it offers are mainly over the Bay. Here’s a spot near Cathy Lane overlooking a vineyard, the row homes across Leona Canyon on Campus Drive, the airport tower, the Bay and the San Mateo Peninsula.


I’m thinking that this would make part of a nice ramble. Farther south, Skyline merges into a two-way road and the path continues alongside it. Later this summer I’ll get to that part.

Meet Knowland Park and its rocks

27 July 2015

The neighbors of Knowland Park have something special in their midst: a large stretch of relatively untouched land of the Oakland Hills. If you’ve never been up there, it’s easy to dismiss it. It’s exclusive. You need a car, and there aren’t amy big entrances and signage. Only one bus line (the 46L) goes through it at all, and that’s only once an hour. But I urge you to make the effort some time. There’s nothing else like it anywhere north of Hayward. Here’s a glimpse, looking over the upper part of the park toward the highest hills (click for 1000 pixels).


Some psychologists say that land like this hits a deep, atavistic spot in the brain that’s tuned to our ancestry in Africa. It’s worth testing that hypothesis for yourself.

The Friends of Knowland Park are fiercely protective of this land, but one thing they don’t mention is that much of it is underlain by Franciscan melange, unlike anywhere else on this side of the Hayward fault. We’re looking at it—and see here on the right-hand side: a big old outcrop.


I can’t wait to visit it.


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