Saturday, September 15, 2012

Little Known Park Info

Drove around this morning, searching for a possible location for Monday's ECS training.  The drive took me back to the days, not so long ago, when I was looking for a good place to take puppy Keeper for a nice hike/stroll/runabout.  Because, as you know, a tired BC is a good BC. 

So I checked out Channel Drive, near Annadel State Park.  Annadel, thanks to its "takeover" by the Regional Parks folks, will now except my annual Regional Park we won't have to pay $7.00 to park inside.  However, they still don't allow dogs on the trails.  So if you do go into Annadel, you and the muttster will have to stick to walking on Channel Drive. 

Which is not a bad deal, if you go deep enough into the park.  Channel Drive eventually peters out into a nice shady "trail," suitable for bicyclists and dogs, but a bit too narrow for the average vehicle.  That trail will take you all the way onto the Polo Field in Oakmont, if you follow it properly. 

So!  If you want to park for free and hike into Annadel, the wide roadside area pictured below is your best bet.  You'll meet a lot of mountain bikers and day-hikers there, especially during the weekend.  Everyone wants to save $7!!  Although, in a way, it's too bad they don't go on in and pay the fee.  If they did, Park Rangers would still have a job. 

NOTE: It's quite a walk from here to the narrow-trail-into-Oakmont. 

If you've decided to make that trek because you have a dog with you, and quite a bit of time, and you want to see if there's a polo game'll have to resist the constant temptation to turn and go up an Annadel trail.  Annadel is 1500 some-odd acres of beautiful park, with a lovely lake, great views, easy trails and challenging trails.  No dogs.  I sympathize, somewhat....because there is plenty of wildlife in the park, and way too many idiots who think their dogs are fine off-leash. 
We used to enjoy riding horses up there, before it became far-too-popular with hot-doggin' mountain bikers.  And you must know, by now, that even 1500 acres begins to feel small, when you're on horseback.
Channel Drive, before it narrows into a trail....
The next park we checked out today was a City park named Nagasawa.  Lots of folks around here haven't ever heard of this park.  Seriously!  Every single time I've gone to this park, the parking lot is EMPTY.  Even today, late morning on a beautiful Saturday...empty!  Where is everybody?  Not here!  (However, due to the fact that I once spent a weekend at a TAIKO DRUMMING workshop, I know that there are some killer Taiko drumming shows held here, once in a while....)

Amazing.  The huge parking lot was completely empty this morning.  This lot goes around the little hill to the right, and on down to a nice little lake.
Pictured below is the only other person who was in the park.  He didn't bother us.  We didn't bother him. 
There is a draw-back to the park, of course - a reason it is empty? - which is that no path goes around the lake.   I think you would agree that it's just plain weird to have a lake without a path that goes all the way around it.  It's so weird that I did my best, one day, to get around the lake.  I crawled under an opening in a chain link fence.  I struggled over boulders.  I did my best to avoid poison oak.  I waded through marsh mud.  And I found out - the hard way - that you simply cannot get around this lake. 
This park is in the Fountain Grove district (ie:rich people), and it shares a boundary with the Fountain Grove Golf Course (ie:you can't walk around the lake)  That's it.  You can walk a little distance along the lake.  If you're willing to be almost-ridiculous, you can get halfway around the lake.  If you're willing to stick to the trails, you can walk up and down and around a couple of small hills.  And're DONE! 
But it's a pretty nice place for ECS we'll be there Monday evening.  :-)
PS.  I'll tell you about another little "hidden gem" in this area.  It's called Paulin Creek Open Space Preserve, and it's not all that far from our house.  It's kind of a miracle that I remembered how to get there, because it's been a couple of years....            But the "park" hasn't changed a bit.  There are still a bunch of nice trails to stroll...there's still a nice creek to look at.      And still just enough parking for exactly one (1!) car.  But that was enough for me....


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