Members Enjoyed an Appreciation Party

Long time members Tim Aaronson, David Lingren and Ilana Schatz enjoy the party

Just to show members of El Cerrito Trail Trekkers how much we appreciate them — and to encourage more to join — we threw a members appreciation party in late February.

About 50 people rsvp’d and 42 attended. Mary Barkey supplied wonderful, homemade, vegetarian pizza. Not one slice remained at the end of the night. Pam Austin, our treasurer, brought roasted vegetables. Mais Jafari brought treats of Jordanian cuisine. Others contributed food and drinks as well.

Oh yes, Mary’s lemon cake and cookies.

The entire Trekkers board was there — Pam, our treasurer and VP, Mollie Hazen, our communications director, and Mark Miner, secretary and web master and chief trail builder.

We met people new to us, and some who were new to Trekkers. We believe many people at the party will remain involved with our dynamic group, which needs more people for increased dynamism!

Surprisingly enough we did not play any vinyl. Aimee Haire and Jim Rasmussen in the record room.

Many long-timers were there as well, including several former and founding Trekker board members. People were at the party who have been working in the East Bay for decades to improve the community, along with newcomers who are sure to be part of the community’s future.

Trekkers plans further social events, maybe some at local watering holes. We also plan an outdoors members event in the spring or summer. Watch for it. And join!

Dave Weinstein


Exploring Public Private Open Spaces in San Francisco

An old post office designed by the great Willis Polk is now an art gallery and lunch spot as an adjunct to the tower at 55 Second Street

Most of our hikes are in nature or at least out of doors. But thanks to a law in the City requiring large downtown commercial developments to include open space that is open to the public, a fine hike can be enjoyed by walking from lobby to lobby and from rooftop terrace to “sun terrace.”

Dave Weinstein led such a “Popos” tour on February 15, in alliance with the Albany senior Center and Friends of Five Creeks.

We didn’t quite get to every rooftop or hidden garden we had aimed for, but it was fun nonetheless. It’s great how some of these mysterious gardens are hidden away. City law requires that office towers display signs announcing that these spaces exist. But you have to look carefully to spot them.

More than 30 people went on the hike and our hike leader only lost a grouping of them once. We did manage to reunite quickly.

Many are relaxing places well used by office workers for lunch. Many are filled with art, including work by important artists (Sol LeWitt, Ugo Rondinone).

New Popos (it stands for “privately owned public open spaces”) are opening every day thanks to bustling new development. We hope to do a variant of this hike later on.

505 Howard has strange sculptures and a living wall. Photos by Dave Weinstein

— Dave Weinstein

If you want to go on this hike yourself,  click on the link below for a PDF of our route

Popos Hike route Feb. 15, 2018

Work party clears debris from Terrace Cutoff Trail

Mark Miner seems almost engulfed in limbs at the start of the job.

It’s amazing how much work three dedicated volunteers can do in just over two hours. On Saturday morning Terrace Cutoff Trail was impassable. By early afternoon it was passable.

Mark Miner, who is Trail Trekkers’ trail building chief, Dave Weinstein, and a new volunteer with us, Mark Carraher, who is active with the Boy Scouts, removed many cubic yards of dead live oak limbs that had been blocking this trail and posing a fire hazard.

This was the first of Trail Trekkers new once-a-month trail work parties, which occur on the third Saturday of the month. Join us for future parties. They are satisfying!

Mark Carraher helped haul up what seemed for a while to be an endless grouping of flammable materials, making the area much safer.

Although Terrace Cutoff Trail is shown on our maps as an impassable trail (because a series of treads are needed to make it, well, truly safe and civilized), intrepid hikers can make it down this trail, which can be found between 8231 and 8239 Terrace Drive, and which connects to the well used Stockton-to-King Trail.

Within the year we hope to install treads to make this a fully functional part of our city’s wonderful network of trails and urban stairways.

— Dave Weinstein, Trail Trekkers president

Here’s what we moved uphill, to be picked up by crews from the city. Dave stands guard.


Here’s the trail after we cleared it — steep in parts and not advisable unless you are a good hiker. But passable. Photos by Dave Weinstein

Wonderful hike to Tepco Beach

One of our crew enjoys finding Tepco remains

Tim Aaaronson led a great walk on Sunday to Tepco Beach, with me serving as an assistant. Jenny hammer did much work planning this hike out.

The route, from the heart of El Cerrito’s commercial district, the EC Natural Grocery at San Pablo and Stockton Avenues, took us on bridges over both I-80 and I-580.

That alone was telling, showing how divorced we have become from the Bay, compared to the days when just past San Pablo Avenue one would have walked across grassland and marsh all the way to the beach.

Tepco, the Technical Porcelain Co., was in business from 1918 to 1968, all but the first few years at the site of what is today the DMV, just behind city hall.

Tim Aaronson lays down the word on Tepco

Lynn Maack, the world’s leading collector of Tepco ware, I believe, attended the hike and provided much information. He made it clear why collectors love Tepco ware today. It was sturdy, came in a variety of styles from cowboy to Art Deco to Tiki to purely functional.

On Tepco beach you can find lovely shards, sometimes even nearly entire pieces. There are mysteries there too. For example, how to explain the Tepco pieces encased in concrete slabs that are heavy with aggregate? There were fires at the plant. Could this have been the cause?

One member of our hike came with a bag of old Tepco shards that a child of his had reclaimed from the beach. He was returning them to the Bay. Tepco pieces, after all, in my mind at least, are valuable archeological remains.

Visit at low tide to enjoy Tepco Beach. It is at and near the end of the Point Isabel peninsula, just south of the sewer plant.

Tepco Beach offers both visual and audible treats. Waves washing over the shards produce tinkling sounds.

Terrace Cut-Off Trail Construction and Maintenance – Sat. February 17, 2018, 10:00 am – 12:30 pm

Come to the first of our regular Third Saturday Trail Trekker Work Parties
We will be out working improving the El Cerrito Hillside Natural Area every third Saturday of the month throughout the year starting on February 17.  Make it a recurring monthly event in your calendar and we will be there to greet you and welcome you to a project: Broom Bashes, Trail Construction,  yes, some debris clearing, but if we get the momentum we plan to, we can make a real difference.

Meet:  Terrace Drive at Contra Costa Drive at the top of the of the future Terrace Cut-Off Trail.

Leader:  Mark Miner


Tools will be provided, Bring water, maybe a snack. We will clear brush, weeds and debris, do some minor grading and perhaps install a couple treads

Terrace Cut off


20171007_120235 participants understand that certain risks are inherent in this activity, and engage in the activity at their own risk.

Tepco Beach Hike

Tepco Beach Hike
Sunday, February 11 at 3:00 pm 

Tepco Beach hike with Dave Weinstein and Tim Aaronson. Join us as we explore Tepco beach as well as the East Bay Regional Park’s adjacent Point Isabel Regional Shoreline.  Founded by Italian immigrant John Pagliero, TEPCO (Technical Porcelain  Co.) was the largest manufacturer in El Cerrito for decades and its tableware is collectible today. During its sixty or so years, the company dumped its imperfect pieces into the bay near Point Isabel, creating a strand of shards., creating “TEPCO Beach.”   When the tides are low, you can walk over shards of old El Cerrito pottery and enjoy their tinkling as waves jostle them around. Meet at the El Cerrito Natural Grocery, San Pablo Avenue at Sacramento. 2  hours


Enjoy sweeping views, a bit of history, and a low tide

Dave W@Tepco Beach-2

Trail Trekker President Dave Weinstein at TEPCO Beach in days gone by

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TEPCO Beach Shards

2018 Trail Trekkers Annual Meeting

A mountain lion cub was found near the Greek Theater in Berkeley the Tuesday after our meeting.

It’s a new year and the Trekkers are looking forward to building on our accomplishments in 2018.  Join us and help shape the future of open space in El Cerrito.

Our Annual Meeting on January 20th at the Community Center was an opportunity to get together to review what has been accomplished and look forward to 2018 goals. Thanks to xxx for covering our meeting  in the East Bay Times.  The meeting will also include elections of officers.  If you would like to join the Board of Directors come join us at 10 am, the second Saturdays of each month.

Pumas among us. Dr. Courtney Coon, a wildlife biologist with the Bay Area Puma Project will discuss these big cats that share our open spaces and sometimes our urban spaces. Dr. Coon is investigating aspects of puma heath and occupancy in the Bay Area, so she is in the know!  Pumas have been seen in Bay Area towns and were recently seen in the Berkeley hills. It was a fascinating and useful talk.

What is a Puma_

Dr. Coon told us a Puma has more names than any other animal.


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Dr. Coon is explaining that Pumas are the biggest of the small cats.  (Cheetahs are second biggest)  She showing how small cats have a small bone in their throat that allows them to purr,


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Dr. Coons is showing Yellowstone with and without Pumas.  Too many deer disturb the ecosystem and an adult Puma eats about one deer a week.  (nom nom nom)  We learned that we have good Puma habitat in the East Bay and El Cerrito in terms of food.


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The Puma Project has set up trail cams all around the Bay Area and showed us some amazing videos.  Puma kittens have spots, but adults are difficult to tell one from another unless they have had a life experience that made a mark.

A mountain lion cub was found near the Greek Theater in Berkeley the Tuesday after our meeting.

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Dr. Coons receiving an honorarium from our Communications Director, Mollie Hazen

Many Thanks to Rick Radin for covering our event in the East Bay Times.  

EL CERRITO –– Courtney Coon admits she has yet to see a mountain lion in the wild, even though she is an expert on the big cats with the Bay Area Puma Project.

Sightings are indeed rare and the reputation mountain lions have for being dangerous to humans is overblown, said Coon in a presentation at the El Cerrito Trail Trekkers annual meeting Jan. 20.

In fact, the animals have been responsible for a mere 18 verified attacks on humans in California since 1890.

“Pumas are lazy and pick off weak animals, and other animals scavenge for the food they leave behind,” Coon said. “They live on about 6,000 calories a day, which amounts to a deer a week.”

They go out of their way to avoid humans by becoming even more nocturnal in their travels when they are in areas inhabited by humans.

Trekker Board of Directors

We thank Jenny Hammer and Tom Gehling for their service on the Trail Trekkers board of directors. Jenny and Tom recently stepped off the board. Jenny was one of the founders of Trail Trekkers back in 2010, helping discover the forgotten urban paths in town, and spearheading efforts to successfully build several trails, including the Motorcycle Hill Trail.  We owe access to the part of the Hillside Natural Area north of Porrero Avenue to Jenny’s efforts.

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Tom, a native of El Cerrito with deep expertise about, and dedication to preserving, the natural environment, joined our group in 2012. He has worked on trails, planned trail building, helped devise our map, ran our website and much more.

Both Jenny and Tom will remain involved with Trekkers, leading hikes, taking part in work parties and more.

The new 2018 Board of Directors includes Dave Weinstein – President, Pam Austin – Vice President and Treasurer, Mollie Hazen – Communications Director and Mark Miner – Secretary & Webmaster

Mountain lion cub spotted near the Greek Theatre in BerkeleyMountain lion cub spotted near the Greek Theatre in BerkeleyA UC Berkeley employee spotted a mountain lion cub on Tuesday evening near the Greek Theatre, east of the main Cal campus.A UC Berkeley employee spotted a mountain lion cub on Tuesday evening near the Greek Theatre, east of the main Cal campus.A UC Berkeley employee spotted a mountain lion cub on Tuesday evening near the Greek Theatre, east of the main Cal campus.A UC Berkeley employee spotted a mountain lion cub on Tuesday evening near the Greek Theatre, east of the main Cal campus.A UC Berkeley employee spotted a mountain lion cub on Tuesday evening near the Greek Theatre, east of the main Cal campus.A UC Berkeley employee spotted a mountain lion cub on Tuesday evening near the Greek Theatre, east of the main Cal campus.