- Distance 6 miles
- Duration 2h 20min
- Max 1005ft
- Min 435ft
- Gain 1324ft
- Fatalities or injuries
- Misdirection or getting lost
- once. We missed a cut across from Grass Valley Trail to Brandon Trail, so we spent a bit more time in the sun and a bit less shade from the woods.
This area is a mix of woodland and grass. California has two seasons, "green" and "brown". We are a month into "brown" so the grasslands are a golden yellow, with waist high stalks of dry brittle grass. Though part of this land is grazing, we saw no cattle.
On the first part of the hike we took advantage of a vista point overlooking the bay. As always you can see across the bay, but The Peninsula and Marin headland were lost behind a haze, just too much air. The vista embraces, on the far shore, San Mateo through San Francisco, and on the near shore you can see from downtown Oakland south to San Leandro, with clear views of the Airport and Colosseum.
As we reached the top of the hike we passed the equestrian center where we saw a farrier shoeing a horse. There was plenty of evidence of equestrian activity on the trail, but we didn't pass any riders. The path here was lined with milkweed and we were treated to a good showing of butterflies. We also had a good view East overlooking the rest of the park, and saw the edge of San Leandro reservoir. Standing proud above the native trees were the occasional stands of eucalyptus tress with their silvered bark and broccoli like canopy.
Ranch Trail is a fairly sharp drop down to the valley below from the ridge line. I am very glad we had this as a descent, not an ascent. We dropped 300ft in half a mile. Here the trail was less than one person wide, we were pushing through the vegetation, a few thistles, but thankfully no poison oak at this point (we saw some on wider trails).
Grass Valley Trail was pleasant, but uneventful. Here we made a miss turn. The trail follows a farm trail for some way, then cuts the corner as a narrow path. Where the corner is cut was the intersection with the shady trail that should have brought us through the woods. Actually, we took a rest at the campgrounds (only place on the hike with restrooms) and that was the start of Brandon trail, but we missed the signage for it, so took the road to Grass Valley instead.
Three less active members of our group joined us for the beer, so at 8 people we were the largest party at the brewery today. The side door was open when we arrived at noon, but they forgot to open the front door until about 12:15, so beware if you are an early arrival.
I can't remember all that was on tap today, but among our party we enjoyed
- El Sully
- First seen this last Cinqo de Mayo, a mexican style larger
- Marooned on Hog Island
- A stout brewed with oysters
- Hell or High Watermelon
- A wheat beer with a fruity twist
- served with a wedge of watermelon in the glass
- Toaster Pastry
- A red ale
- Named after Kelloggs Pop Tarts which used to be made at this location
- Back In Black
- Their signature IPA
- Monks Blood
- Ask Mike, I didn't taste it.
As for seating. Since last summer a few shipping containers have been added to surround a very pleasant beer garden (with small dog park). There are a couple of good shade trees, about 8 tables sitting 6 people each, and two sets couches and easy chairs. Inside there are still a dozen six seater tables. And yes still the bean bag toss game.
Still no restaurant, so they had a gourmet food truck parked up. Mexican fair. The meat nachos were heavily laden with goodies. Chicken tender, as was the carne asada and carnitas. The Tortas were large, uncut and more than the bread could cope with. All tasty and spicy.
A fun day was had by all with everyone agreeing a second outing should happen, probably on the second of July. Watch this space.