Trail of the Week 29 & 30: Gatto Trail (#11) and Harding Path (#57)

Redwoods behind the backstop [TJ Gehling]

Redwoods behind the backstop

After taking off last week we are back with a two-fer. The trails featured this week couldn’t be more different. Harding Path is on the south edge of town, in a park and quite flat. Gatto Trail is northern, in a residential neighborhood, and very steep. The characteristic they share is that neither is usable. And even there they differ in the reasons for their impassibility.

From bullpen to staff parking [TJ Gehling]

From bullpen to teacher parking [TJ Gehling]

Harding Park trail is more of a concept than an actual trail. Part of it is there, along the western side of the playground at Harding Park on C Street. It is a fenced alleyway that gives access to the area behind the backstop of the baseball diamond. The next section would be the left field foul ground between the field and the fence. The last section of this appears to be the bullpen, though it doesn’t seem to have actual rubbers and plates. and a fence and gate divide it from the Harding schoolyard beyond. But if that gate wasn’t there, the “path” would lead right on through to a gate on Fairmount Avenue.

Teacher's cars only [TJ Gehling]

Teacher’s cars only [TJ Gehling]

Unfortunately, the gate is currently there for the exclusive use of Harding teachers and staff for the parking of their cars. Given the general propensity of school districts to control access to their facilities, those coming from the north will have to reach Harding Park by a longer route, using either Ashbury or Barent to get to C street.

Bottom of the Gatto Trail [TJ Gehling]

Bottom of the Gatto Trail [TJ Gehling]

Our second trail of the week takes us north to near the western entrance to Canyon Trail Park. Coming from Key Blvd. or the Ohlone Greenway, Canyon Trail is reached by going east on Conlon Avenue. Just before the park entrance Conlon meets Junction Avenue, and on the eastern corner is the bottom end of the Gatto Trail. Like many trails this seems to be a utility right-of-way. There are utiliy openings on the sidewalk and what looks like a manhole part way up the hill (Though this is behind a wire fence). There are also extant treads, which suggests this trail many have been used in the past. As it is now the path is very steep, over grown, and probably impassible at the top. I can’t find one of my own pictures of the top, but the Google Maps Street View is here.

With Gatto we have the perfect example of a public right-of-way that, with a lot of work, could be made into a useful path, or better yet, stairway. Such stairways exist in the city, at Madera, the Julian Steps, and the upper section of the Knott Trail (called the Harper Steps on our old trail list.) But all those stairways were built long ago, and given the current budget realities, we probably should hold our breath.

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