Trail of the Week 16: Behrens Way (#58)

The end of El Cerrito

The end of Behrens…in El Cerrito

Another contender emerges for the title of shortest path on our list. We’ve already seen Gayle Way (#25), which may well be the shortest trail completely contained in El Cerrito. But Behrens Way exists to be a link between El Cerrito and Albany, and the part that is here in El Cerrito is only a few paces long. It thus falls into the small set of trails that straddle our borders:  La Honda Way (#1), the Ohlone Greenway (#44), Terrace to Wildcat (#50), Cerrito Creek (#59) and perhaps Eastshore Trail (#23), if it actually existed.

Poppies by the path

Poppies by the path

Behrens Way serves much the same purpose as Gayle Way in that it connects two cul-de-sacs near a school. But while Gayle connects Gayle Ct. and Noble Ct., Behrens Way connects Behrens and…Behrens. In fact, until recently Behrens went all the way through to Brighton. That changed about 15 years ago when the new Albany Middle School was built on the site of a former lumber yard on Brightman between  Behrens and the Ohlone Greenway. Now instead of blacktop there is a short, mulch covered path surrounded by flowers.

Albany side, and AMS garden entrance

Albany side, and AMS garden entrance

The flowers and greenery are a pleasant addition to what is, in essence, a traffic barrier. That they are there can be attributed to several factors. Even in a drought there is probably some water in the ground, since the channelized Cerrito Creek must pass almost directly underneath the trail. But a greater factor is probably the presence of the Albany Middle School Garden right next to door. We in the trail Trekkers have learned just how industrious middle school kids can be when give a chance to work outside. We’ve been working with a group from the Montessori Family School on Lower Snowden Trail (#15), a trail they have virtually created themselves.. A blog post about their work is long overdue.

Cougar Field beyond the gate

Cougar Field beyond the gate

Behrens Way is one of the many trails added to the current trail list, but if you were familiar with our old list, you might remember we used to have an entry for another path close by here. We called it Albany Middle School ballfield entry, but it is probably there as access to Cougar Field for El Cerrito emergency vehicles. As you probably know, although Cougar Field is an Albany, specifically Albany High School, facility, most of it is technically in El Cerrito. Anyway the path, really not much more than an unpaved driveway, is very short and leads to a locked gate, so we removed it from the list. But not without some misgivings. Because it is just the place you would expect a path. As you enter El Cerrito on Ashbury, three streets branch off it west before you get to Harding school. The latter two, B and C, go through to Behrens. A Street is a dead end. But if A Street actually went through to Behrens, it would pretty much line up with the field entrance. Alas, two houses block any thoughts of linking up the path and the street. And since the gate is usually locked, it probably isn’t worth it to rent a bulldozer. And then hire a lawyer.


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