Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Benicia State Recreation Area

It's one of our favorite places to walk, bike, run, or rollerblade and it's also one of the state parks that is on Gov. Schwarzenneger's list for closure. We do hope that doesn't happen. In the meantime we are going to enjoy it as much as we can, and this happens to be one of our favorite times of the year at BSRA.

We took our bikes there yesterday afternoon and had a wondeful and relaxing ride to the end of the main bike trail and back, just over a 5 mile round trip. Lots of people were out walking or jogging or riding bicycles, although not as many as on weekends, or late afternoons after school gets out. The weather was perfect; warm and sunny and not too much of a headwind. Flowers and trees are blooming and the hills are covered with bright new grass.
Here's a field covered with that mustard grass I'm so fond of!

Mike climbed over a fence to explore this old abandoned trail, now partially covered over in grasses and plants. (He's like a cat -- put up a fence and the cat can't think of anything else until he's climbed over it!) We saw wild pheasants out in these fields, as well as lots of ground squirrels.
Along the bike trail, in the ditches, grow cattails. This group is from last year, blown out and going to seed. Later in the summer the new ones will appear. I often gather 4 or 5 and take them home to put in a tall pottery vase.
One of the few shaded parts of the trail, this path is lined with huge eucalyptus trees. It's always a welcome respite from the hot sun when we ride here at the height of summer.
At the very end of the bike trail is this view of the Carquinez Strait. Can you believe it? That's Mt. Diablo in the distance!

A xeriscape (low water) garden highlights native plants and flowers. The plants are marked so you can learn a lot about the different types that grow well in this area. We always stop here to make note of growth and changes. (And I like to take photos of the flowers!)
A walking path heading off toward the marshes. At the end is a viewing area to observe waterbirds and other wildlife. There are tons of Red Winged Blackbirds out in the marsh; also ducks, seagulls, and muskrats.

If you live in the east bay of northern California and have never visited the Benicia State Recreation Area, get over here! If it's closed it may be a long time before you have another chance. It costs $4 to park, but you can also park free in the residential areas nearby and walk or bike over. Bring your camera!


t said...

A friend just forwarded me ths blog post -- Oh, I miss home right now! Currently am in Glasgow, Scotland (while my other half does his PhD.), and our townhouse in Benicia is just a half mile or so up the hill away from the State Park. We always ride our bikes there, and miss the cattails!

Thanks for the gorgeous pictures!

D said...

If it's closed, does the Gubernator get to sell it off ... to developers or something? Yikes!

Mary Bradley said...

Yikes, that would be a real bummer! Thanks for sharing these gorgeous pictures...Benicia is one of our favorite places not to mention Bo, Jack and Scout, of course! We have been enjoying the wildflowers and hikes here too. I'll get around to doing a post on that soon. We are learning all of the aspects of house/pet sitting, some more difficult than others but most of the time it's the best! Thanks for commenting on my blogs. I obviously have been way behind on yours. Hmmm, I think I'm experiencing apron envy ;-)
Smiles and hugs,