If you look back in the archives you’ll find our post describing our first attempt at this section. We made it about half way on a day when the winds were howling, the icy rain was falling, and the temperatures dropped quickly into the low 40′s. Fearing hypothermia, as we were ill prepared, we turned around. Today we were back to finish it up. We drove straight to the the middle of the section, parking at the end of Gold Hill Drive in Castro Valley. After a brief conversation with a older Chinese woman, who was out for her morning walk and didn’t speak a lick of English, we stepped through the gate and into the hills. Based on the scenery I think she was mentioning how beautiful the hills and the trails are, and we couldn’t agree with her more. It was a cold but sunny day – the exact opposite of the last time we were here.
We started off on the Newt Pond Trail and went through a gate into North Garin Regional Park after about 0.3 mile. This section is an easy run through the rolling hills of the East Bay on the Chabot-to-Garin Regional Trail. Due to the recent rains, the hills were green and because the cold temperatures, there was no reason to be worried about snakes. As we headed down into the canyon the light faded and the temperature dropped. There was a herd of cows milling around on the muddy trail near the bottom of the canyon. As we headed uphill, so did they. Normally cows will move along and eventually head off the trail as we approach. Since there was a steep drop off to the creek below on one side of the trail and a steep wooded hill on the other side they stuck to the trail. We slowed to a walk and herded them along. We thought this would pass after a little while, but it didn’t. The cows stayed in front of us for more than a mile. The trail was a mess. Muddy, with puddles of cow poop all over the place. We tried not to fall and eventually reached the top where the cows could move off the trail into the pasture. They scolded us with moos as we slipped by out onto the ridge. The trail skirted the edge of a large valley that had a pond, and on this day, three coyotes hunting ground squirrels. We rounded the valley and found the end the section and the end of the Chabot-to-Garin regional trail, a wonderful trail that connects to the great parks and open spaces of the East Bay. This is the southernmost section of the trail. From here there is about a six mile gap to the next section of Ridge Trail in Mission Peak.
We tagged the post, snapped a picture, and headed back. We passed by the cows again on the way back. They were still in the pasture and we marveled at their calfs. Apparently they didn’t care for our remarks because one charged Corina. It didn’t make contact but it was enough to scare us down the trail. It was more treacherous on the way back down. Slick and wicked. We made it back down and up and hit the car about an hour and a half later. It felt good to conquer this section of the trail that had once forced us to turn around. Another great day in the East Bay Hills.