Monday, June 9, 2014

Adventuring // Lake Chabot Marina in Castro Valley

Walking the dog in the heat of the day.


Who: Daddy, Zoe, & I
Where: Lake Chabot Marina in Castro Valley
When: Friday at 1PM

The Place: Ah, Lake Chabot. Another little bit of my childhood. Turtle watching, duck feeding, wild berry picking, dog walking, fish spotting... It's one of those places that is just there and doesn't seem that big a deal because you grew up around it. But it's actually pretty cool.

They've recently redid parts of the recreational areas of Lake Chabot, so now there's an exercise playground {you know, the cool "exercise" equipment that kids love to play on?}, the picnic tables are all new, and handicap access is much smoother.

The barbeque pits and picnic areas are always reserved ahead of time on the weekends, so remember to contact East Bay Regional Parks if you want to have a get-together here. Parking is pretty easy, but if you would rather not pay, there's usually street parking right outside the entrance. Paddleboats, canoes, motorboats with awnings, etc, are all available for rent on site as well, but walking the trail {singular, not plural} is usually what we do.

Lake Chabot's one trail {at least I'm pretty sure they've only got one... heh} is a loop around the lake. I've never walked all the way around, but I hear it's relatively easy. If you start walking near the docks, on the shady side of the lake, it's more hilly and it can get pretty hot since the wind blows over the hill to your left and skips right over you. If you start walking on the far side of the lake first, there are less trees, but the wind is cool and the trail is decently flat.

There's a dam and marshes and an island, too. And lots of birds, including an eagle's nest somewhere, so I've heard.

What We Did: Zoe's been a little stiff these days since she's getting older, and the quick stop-start of running her in the backyard has been hard on her joints. So Daddy and I decided to take her for a walk to get her exercise instead. With the dog's creaky joints and Daddy's sore knees, the flatter, cooler side of the lake seemed the better bet.

Though she may be getting older physically, this dog still has the mentality of a puppy, so it shouldn't have surprised us that she wanted to trot/jog during this "walk." Luckily, her urge to sniff everything was still intact, so there were frequent pauses and she didn't get too out of breath. Everyone we passed by loved the fact that she was wearing her Doggles {doggie sunglasses}. What a cool kid.

We walked about a mile and a half in, to Raccoon Point {it's unlabeled and there's no sign indicating its existence, so you just have to know, I guess}, and then turned around. All the small docks we saw along the way were barely in the water because of this major drought and the water level being so low. Be on the lookout for cherry trees along the side of the trail-- you can figure out where they are by all the fruit and pits on the ground beneath the overhanging branches. We didn't try any, but they must be pretty good because someone is eating them.

Tips: Just a few suggestions...
+ unless you're having a party or a large get-together, the weekend isn't actually the best time to go to Lake Chabot. It gets pretty crazy out there with so many people around and small children running wild and untrained dogs off-leash {they're supposed to be on-leash, but you know how that goes}. Best time to walk around is on weekdays really. Or early in the morning, if weekends are your only option.

+ the blackberries usually ripen during the summer. However, with all the remodeling they did this past year, the berry vines were cut back significantly and are just starting to grow back now. So there's nothing to pick just yet, but I'll keep you updated.

Conclusion: It's weird to even consider this adventuring because to me it's just Lake Chabot. *shrugs* Like, what's the big deal? But having realized how great exploring your own neighborhood can be, I'm looking at this local spot with new eyes and it's pretty impressive. There's a lot to do and I'm glad it was around when I was a kid. I guess I didn't know how good I had it, huh? (:


Lake Chabot Marina
17600 Lake Chabot Road
Castro Valley, CA 94546

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