Tuesday, 3 October 2017

An Evening Walk in Crockett

Now that we own a car we're trying to get out and about on short day trips around the Bay Area as much as possible. We've visited some pretty amazing places in our (almost) six years in the Bay Area, but there are so many out of the way places that we didn't even know existed that we're keen to explore. The North Bay is an area that we haven't really explored at all until now. We're familiar with the big bridges, the huge sugar refinery, the stunning water front and the rolling hills, but only from the context of zooming past them on the freeway on our way somewhere further afield. Over the weekend we decided to get out and explore a little of the North Bay area. 

We ended up in the little town of Crockett, located along the Carquinez Strait where the Bay narrows and home to the giant C&H Sugar refinery. We arrived late in the day as we'd been busy in the morning, and after grabbing a late lunch at a pizzeria we headed to a nearby park by the waterfront to explore.    


I had seen on the map that a trail leading through the path would take us down to the waterfront and the wreckage of an old ferry called Garden City. I'm a sucker for ruins and anything historic so we decided to go check it out. Now, there was a trail that lead through a valley towards the wreckage, but we decided to take a different trail (not marked on the map) that headed straight down to the water and then walk along the waterfront instead. That turned out to be a good call as the walk along the waterfront was a hit with the kids.


To get down to the waterfront we had to cross over the train tracks. These tracks are still in regular use by Amtrak (and I believe freight trains) so we had to make sure it was safe before crossing. The kids got a kick out of walking along the path by the tracks and were equal parts excited and terrified when an Amtrak train zoomed past with the driver waving hello to us. Before long there was a small path leading down to the waterfront.



Down on the waterfront we found the remains of an old pier. Ava and Lola had fun climbing on the concrete blocks and wooden pylons as we made our way toward the Garden City Wreckage. Mathilde enjoyed collecting treasures in the form of smooth sea glass, pebbles and worn down pieces of red brick - which meant that my backpack got heavier and heavier as we walked! The views in both directions were pretty stunning, but looking back over the bridges with the sun setting behind us was really something else.  




As you can see, it was starting to get a little dark by the time we made it to the Garden City wreckage, so we didn't have the most detailed view, however it was still pretty amazing to see. It turns out that this wreckage was once a steam powered ferry boat with twin paddles. It was built in 1879 in New York, and serviced the San Francisco Bay until 1929 when it was permanently docked at the old Eckly Pier (the ruined pier in the photos). The pier was used for sport fishing until a grass fire in 1983 spread down to the water burning the bear and the Garden City down the water line. What remains of the Garden City now is just the wreckage of the mechanical parts that did not burn. The wooden super structure is no longer. You can find out more about the Garden City here.


We spent a little time checking out the wreckage, skipping stones into the water and walking along the new pier where there were quite a few people fishing. The kids have decided that we need to come back and try our hand at fishing here one day too.  We took in those stunning sunset views over the C&H Sugar refinery and the bridges and made our way back to the car.


As it was now getting quite dark we weren't keen to walk along either the waterfront or the train tracks so we crossed back over the train tracks and took the trail through the wooded valley in the park. Hooray for cell phone flash lights! Seriously, it was so dark at points due to all of the trees that we couldn't see a thing! Raccoons "chirped" at us from the sides of the trail as we walked through the valley as the girls discussed the likelihood of a mountain lion ambushing us. Luckily there were no mountain lion encounters and we made it back to the car safely. While it was pretty dark in the valley, the sunset view was spectacular when we crested a hill. I mean, look at that sky and the lights of the bridge reflecting in the water!


We all enjoyed our little walk along the waterfront and we're keen to head back to the North Bay to explore more. The trail that we followed through the park extends further along the coast and to yet another ruin (an old ferry terminal) so we just might have to go check that one out too. Maybe during the day this time!

Have you explored any out of the way parts of the Bay Area? I'd love to hear any suggestions about places we should visit. We love exploring!

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