Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Touring in my own town: The Great Outdoors

up to Fairmont Ridge!

Hello, and welcome to the first glimpse of my hometown!  Castro Valley, California.  Not to be confused with Castroville.  I wish I had a dollar for all the times folks confused my hometown with The Artichoke Center of the World.  Nope, I hail from what was once rumored to be the town that boasts the most fast food restaurants in a mile stretch (though all my internet research has failed to turn up any corroboration).

As you can imagine thanks to the second noun in its name, Castro Valley is situated among hills, which means there are ample trails to blaze, and some that are already paved. ;]  Within town limits, there are a few parks and recreational areas, including Cull Canyon, which has a swim lagoon.  But the gem of them all is Lake Chabot (aka Anthony Chabot Regional Park).

Lake Chabot

Along Lake Chabot's southwest shore is Fairmont Ridge, which provides gorgeous views of the lake; the cities to the south, west, and north; as well as the San Francisco Bay.  I took all of the photos in this post while atop Fairmont Ridge.   

peek through the trees

Oh, and you can find a letterbox up there, too!

we found the letterbox!

The surrounds of Lake Chabot are teeming with active folks.  No matter the weather or day of the week, you will usually see runners, walkers, bikers, boaters, and people fishing.  I personally run the trails a few times a week.  (In fact, I ran my first half marathon around Lake Chabot.)  Still, every single time I run there, I marvel at the scenery.  There are a few brutal hills, but for the most part, the topography is the good kind of challenging for anyone beyond beginner level.  And do those trees ever provide welcome shade when the sun is trying her darnedest to be noticed! 

In addition to running/hiking/biking trails, there are plenty of volleyball nets, sprawling lawns, horseshoe pits, and picnic areas, including out on the lake itself.  At the marina, visitors can rent paddle boats to take for a spin around the lake.  (Which is not quite as easy as it seems!  Oooh, my burning quadriceps!).  Speaking of spinning around the lake—when I was wee, I was known to rock my roller skates, and spin my 8 wheels at very conservative speeds around the paved paths.  :]

Lake Chabot is filled with wonderful memories, and I hope to make many more!
easily distracted

So!  What do you love about The Great Outdoors where you live?

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