On Sunday, April 28th, the East Bay Barefoot Hikers met in Briones Regional Park and hiked the Old Briones Road, Lagoon, and Toyon Canyon trails.

Seventeen people took part including myself, Tim and his son Christopher (7), and the twins Jonathan and Hilary (5), Charles, Dan, Jeff from Berkeley, Phoebe, Maggie, Debra and her son Eric (12), Peter and his wife Sandy, Jeff from Santa Cruz, Duane and Fred. Also one golden retriever.

We started gathering at the trailhead around 10:00am. I had a suspicion that my directions were a little ambiguous, so I made a quick trip in the car to the "other" trailhead. Sure enough, Duane and Jeff were waiting there.

The Old Briones Road trail is a "high" trail reached by driving uphill for a fair distance. It has the benefit of being able to enjoy excellent views right away, out over the suburban valley to Mount Diablo beyond.

The trail is initially sandy dust with occasional small pebbles. We walked along chatting as "regulars" will. We only had two first timers on this hike ... Charles, and Jeff from Santa Cruz. Peter and Sandy had on their newly made "Barefoot Hikers" T-shirts. It's finally getting kind of warm out here, so most of us were wearing shorts.

We took a group photograph by same the "country stile" where Debra, Eric, Gareth, Nicole and I had stopped, back on the third hike in July of last year. How we've grown since then !! :-)

We moved onto open pasture and packed dirt surfaces, pausing for a while by one of the "lagoons". These are medium sized ponds with a good deal of weed and rushes in them. They have a sort of artificial look. Perhaps they were created to provide water for cattle. Christopher was pacing the group this day. He usually gives up and put his shoes on about a quarter-way into the hike. This day he was determined to go the whole way barefoot.

While we stopped for him to catch up, we admired the fine views out over the San Joaquin delta (central valley of California). We had a clear view of the "Mothball" fleet moored there. These are ships left over from World War II.

We stopped for lunch by a *large*, yellow earthmoving device owned by the parks department. The kids had fun clambering all over that while the adults sat and ate and socialized.

The downhill section after lunch was large chunky dried mud. A somewhat challenging surface for most. Just after that section, the faster folks found a shady spot by a stream to wait for the others. Christopher had slowed down to almost zero speed. When he eventually caught up, with encouragement and praise for his effort ... he re-shod.

The party now moved along at a regular pace. I was relieved, since the temperature (both surface and air) was climbing quickly.

We were treated to a nice shady section of pine needles before making the climb back up the hill to the cars. It was a really pretty section of green meadows studded with oak trees. I was right to have been worried about the heat. Some of us were looking kind of flushed by the time we got there.

Another fine hike. I just wish there was a easy solution to the fastest/slowest problem. If you're a hike leader ... you'll know what I mean.

-- Mike Berrow
-- East Bay Barefoot Hikers

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