Trail of the Week 9: Tassajara Trail between Alva and Barrett (#3)

northern trailsWe return again to Tassajara Park, for the second of its three trails. Like the trail from 2 weeks ago, this one starts at Barrett Ave. next to a bus stop. But instead of descending, it climbs, via paved path and stairs, up to Alva Street, just above the level of the park. Along the way it passes tennis courts, an un-named or -numbered passageway to the rest of the park, and the handiwork  of some green-fingered girl scouts.

Up the stairs to Alva

Up the stairs to Alva

The Alva-Barrett trail begins at the corner of  Carquinez and Barrett, just across the street from the Tehiyah Day School. There is a stop for the #7 AC Transit bus on both sides of the street. For its first 150 feet, the path runs next to a pair of tennis courts on its east side, while a hedge separates it from the adjacent house to the west. The way is paved and mostly flat, but feels narrower than it is due to the high fence on one side and wall on the other.

At the end of the tennis courts, a very narrow path runs east towards the playgrounds and park clubhouse. These are reached via a short stairway. This path might best be though of as a segment of the Tassajara Park Trail (#4), which enters the play area about 200 ft southeast, next to the basketball hoop. But this is a trail for another week. Lets head back to this week’s trail and its most interesting bit.

Some winter blooms

Some winter blooms

If you had the Barrett to Alva path before last year, the next section would be memorable only as a bare concrete stairway with a metal railing up the middle interrupted at each landing by vacant squares in the concrete. If anything had ever been planted in them, any trace was long gone by then. But these unused planters were known to members of the El Cerrito Community Garden Network and the Trail Trekkers. And when Girl Scout Troop 31352 approached the Trail Trekkers about finding a project for their 9 girls, the nine empty planters came immediately to mind. With help from the Trekkers, the Garden Network, and the city, these scouts planted, and continue to tend flowers all the way up the stairs. Come spring they should again provide a bit of beauty for what might otherwise be a minor passageway along the edge of the park.

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