Saturday, May 14, 2011

Morgan Territory on a blustery spring day

Donna and I decided to take the puppy on a walk, so we climbed into the car and drove out to Morgan Territory. Morgan Territory is about 45 minutes east of Oakland. You can reach it either from Clayton or from Livermore, depending on what is more convenient for you. The trip in from Livermore is dramatically faster; the road from Clayton is longer, but you can make a round trip of it if you like. The road in is a narrow, one-lane road which can make the driving a bit more exciting than usual; get an early start, don't rush, and enjoy the beautiful road!

Morgan Territory itself is one of the largest and least crowded of the East Bay Regional Parks. Usually we have it almost to ourselves, but today was not to be one of those days. We arrived at the parking lot to find it, surprisingly, almost full, with a sign out front: Roger Epperson Dedication. Apparently the park district was having a special event to honor long-time superintendent Roger Epperson by naming "Roger's Ridge" in his honor. Happily, a friendly ranger waved us to an available spot in the parking lot, right at the front by the entrance gate!

The weather today was most unusual: a major spring storm is headed into the Bay Area and the temperature was barely 50 degrees and the wind was gale force. We bundled up as best we could and set out on our hike. Thankfully, once we cleared the first ridge, we spent most of our hike wandering in and among the canyons, and the wind was not so bad. It was rather amusing, actually: the last time we were there it was in late June a few years back, and the temperature was in the mid-90's, and I said to Donna that we must remember to come in early May, when it would probably be only 85 degrees. How wrong I was today!

Morgan Territory is a dog's heaven. Although the skies were gray, the park indeed looks just like this picture. Penny spent a glorious 90 minutes trotting around from bush to rock to tree, sniffing all the good sniffs, chasing squirrels, and generally behaving, well, like a dog. Although we could have done without the howling winds and the chilly air, we both agreed that it was pretty close to a perfect walk in the park.

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