Tuesday, April 24, 2012
My friend Ron invited me for a saunter around the Martinez Regional Shoreline today. It’s great to be able to get out around my neighborhood and explore the area-the park is only about a 5 minute drive from my house.
Our walk begins from the marina parking lot near the Harbor Master’s Office which is next to the boat launch area. We head east along the trail that leads us towards the marshes, the observation platform and around the dredge spoils basins.
The path continues along the edge of the train tracks to Waterfront Park. There’s an amazing variety of outdoor activities and features here; from the horse arena to the soccer field. The softball field is named after Martinez native Joe DiMaggio! But the most popular sport here is Bocce Ball-the courts are filled with older people enjoying a competitive and social activity.
Another interesting sight was of a man pushing his car in a parking lot. Originally we thought his car had broken down but by watching him, we could see the orange straps tied to the back of his car. He was pushing his car to the end of the lot and then started to pull it back to the opposite side. Looks like he’s training for the Strong Man Competition!
The path leads us to the Embarcadero where you can see the old Southern Pacific Engine #1258. It sits on the tracks across from the Amtrak Station-the old and the new together.
We continue on the path and cross Alhambra Creek to Grangers’ Wharf. It’s really beautiful back here! The park lawns are a vibrant green with plenty of picnic areas to use as you meander your way along the trails and bridges that criss-cross through the marsh.
From Grangers’ Wharf, we take the Pickleweed Trail out along the SP Railroad tracks to the end of the Martinez shoreline. You get fantastic views of the Carquinez Strait, Benicia, the Martinez-Benicia Bridge and of the surrounding Franklin Hills!
We turn around and follow the trail out to see the beached wreck of the 105 year old 217 feet lumber schooner called the Forestor. What an amazing sight-the low tide allows us to see the full remains of the ship! Outstanding!
The trail continues around the marsh along the boardwalk with views of the dry reeds and grasses. Crossing the arch bridge takes us to the duck pond with lots of ducks and Canada geese!
Our walk continues around the pond to Ferry Point. I noticed a lot of benches in the common grassy area and come to see that they are all Memorial benches donated to the park by families to remember their loved ones.
From there, we walk out to the end of the fishing pier next to the marina. The old standing piers are what’s left of the Old Ferry terminal. Again, you get wonderful views are of the surrounding areas! The low tide allows the Avocets to feed along the shoreline. They’re very colorful in their breeding plumage.
We’re now back to where we started. The walk ends here.
We decide to extend our little excursion by driving out to Carquinez Scenic Dr and taking another short walk along the closed portion of the non-maintained road. This deserted road is very popular with cyclists and walkers/hikers alike.
Walking this road provides a totally different experience than biking. I can take the time to stop and admire all the colorful road art, the flowers, the green hillsides and the spectacular views of the Carquinez Strait.
The turnaround point on this out and back walk is when the railroad tracks come into view. I think it’s about a 1.5 miles?
Thanks to Ron for taking the time to spend with me on this flat, slow walk around Martinez! What’s also good about walking around the shoreline and along Carquinez Scenic Dr is that afterwards, you can enjoy a nice lunch or coffee/tea at one of the many downtown establishments. Don’t forget to check out the beavers too!