The weekend’s odd trail challenge had me hitting three of the East Bay Regional Parks in one day, a combined feat in hiking, photography and navigation. I was making up for a couple of weeks of sloth, a few too many quesadillas and a delayed Earth Day. Signing up for the Trails Challenge meant I got a groovy trails guidebook and the ability to log my miles and trails. For more social media-motivated hikers, the Challenge offers apps and ways to share and encourage friends. For real, not digital, social good times, the guidebook highlights the many free, guided hikes tailored to different skills and interests. In other words, I have no excuses.
BayMozaic launched with a dual mission: to highlight Bay Area folks and organizations improving our lives, while also revealing ways to connect and be attentive amid the din. The parks represent both. They provide a common good (brought to you by us, the taxpayers of Alameda and Contra Costa counties) that benefits our environment and our health, including our mental health.
If you’re sitting at a desk somewhere and can’t get out for your dose of park, there is instagram. I follow the fantastic Francis Mendoza @roving_ranger who has a stellar sense of humor and more than a thousand followers. Also check out the official ebrpd instagram posts for gorgeous pics across the bay (including a red fox pup to melt your heart). While you’re at it, start following us on ig, too.
Taking photos, whether with my bulky pro or with a phone, can seem a contradiction in attention. As I wrote to a friend who came with me to Rosie the Riveter museum, I’m always searching for some kind of composition, being hyper observant but also disengaging from a bigger picture. The paradox of the photographer, or just zooming in, zooming out. (I plan to exercise my powers of attention by using my nifty guidebook to map out my hike before getting deep into it.)
Fun facts: East Bay Regional Parks District was born in 1934 and is the largest urban park system in the country with 119,000 acres in 65 parks, including over 1,250 miles of trails. Recently retired Representative George Miller has been a longtime active advocate of the parks.
Connection: One meets humans, sometimes lamas, bunnies, newts, crabs, oysters, all types of birds and other feathered, slimy and furry things along the trails (the guidebook and website also help you avoid any unwanted creatures and stay safe). Events roll out every day of the week across the system for kiddies and adults alike.
See you out on the trails. (Haleh)