Category Archives: Hike

Nature Hikes – with Diane- Sign up now


Nature Explorations with Diane West-Bourke 
FALL 2018 HIKES begin on:
OCT. 9th (6 Tuesdays)    OR      OCT. 10th (6 Wednesdays) 
Diane is a great nature- biology teacher, specializing in our local bay area. She is so good at adding the why /how  into a discussion that you will learn What Matters about our ecosystem and environment! Highly recommended!

Are you ready to sample some fabulous Fall nature hikes with me? Forest trails, coastal canyons, maple-dappled creeks & beaches are all perfect for Autumn exploration. Discover new trails, make new friends, & awaken to the wonder & mystery of nature around us!
I hope that you can join us!
Happy Trails,
Diane West-Bourke

An East Bay Gem: Garin Regional Park

GARIN PARK:: An amazing park full of activities and places to explore!

LOCATION: Garin Regional Park Cattlemen’s Picnic Area 1320 Garin Avenue Hayward, CA

The summer Park Hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. There is a visitor center where you can learn more about Garrin Park and its history- there are hiking trails,, a kite flying area, horse back riding trails, native plants garden and many other features. Link for more information on the Park. This is a beautiful historic park in the East Bay. To Reach the Park. . This park is beautiful with so much to do, take a look.

It is TICK Season – Be Prepared

Don’t let ticks bother you! There is the avoidance method, Only walk on paved paths which means you are pretty safe. Or stay inside. However, if the great outdoors calls you, please consider this information about ticks.

Here is some Good Advice about ticks –

  1. AFTER hiking, playing outdoors, or as a general summer practice: Have your children check themselves and each other, closely. And parents check children and themselves, too,  Armpits, backs of knees, ears, shoulders, scalp, groin……
  2. Remember, ticks can be passed to humans by pets, farm animals and just a bit of dry grass may support an enterprising tick that can transfer to your skin/clothes as you walk by.

Here’s the really important (good) news about tick-borne diseases: they DON’T get passed over to us for SOME TIME after the ticks have attached themselves to us.

“(Wikipedia): For a person or companion animal to acquire a tick-borne disease requires that that individual gets bitten by a tick and that that tick feeds for a sufficient period of time. The feeding time required to transmit pathogens differs for different ticks and different pathogens. Transmission of the bacterium that causes Lyme disease is well understood to require a substantial feeding period.”

That article sources from good  medical science. What is a substantial feeding period? Well, the researchers who probably have the most conservative view of how long say 24 hours after attachment.

And that was just for ticks in the eastern part of the US. Here’s a really good link about ticks and ways to keep from getting a tick-borne infection:

Greeneroo has information about many hikes in the San Francisco Bay Area.

What is your Fitness story?

Two young ladies from Northwestern interviewed me on my fitness choices. That conversation go me to thing about positive change and whether I “walk the walk”. <grin> I started thinking about the walking program I started in January 2017. I wanted to get out and walk more, I was at about 3 miles a day, wishing to amp it up to 5 miles/day.

I work on the board of Asian Connection and had heard from our members – MORE ACTIVE EVENTS. Ok, I can do that, so Healthy Walks 2017 was born.

What I learned

Do what you can do well. I wanted to make a walking event once a week at noon. ..and offer informal walking events after work.  A smart friend, said no, start with 2 x month and see how it goes.

Make it easy to get involved. Make sure your group can find you… so I held up a stuffed pony at our meeting point. We gathered a group that first day, and the weather couldn’t have been better on The Embarcadero in SF. Our walkers were happy and relaxed afterwards. We got thank you notes. It was so much fun.

Mike the pony, came to every walk after that. He became our mascot. He served so many purposes. He was in the photos, then he starred in the photos, then he became a point of conversation for the walk “newbies”. Mike was way more than a walk helper, he contributed laughter and inspiration for dozens of photos.

It could have been a “bust”, but our Healthy walks are a success. Plan for both. Make small adjustments until you get a formula that works. Pay attention to what your walking group wants.


I Want a Great Local Experience

Communications Hill 3You aren’t the only one!

Do you want more for your vacation than holding a guide book the whole time. Figuring out your next step, but ending up at a tourist-dive?

Go Local! This is the fun way to make the most of your time. Hire a local to get you out of the crowd and immersed in the local life. You’ll see the best, and maybe its not the 5-Star plan but rather the places that people who love that city hang out!

Wouldn’t that be fine! ?

“Travelers want to be with locals,” said Jack Ezon, president of Ovation Vacations in New York. “They want to be immersed in a destination. Instead of guides who know a lot of facts, they want insiders who can really give them the lowdown. Or they want a nightlife host who can take them to the coolest bars and nightspots and tell the story from their own perspective.”


Travelers want to connect with human beings.

This might seem counterintuitive. More travelers than ever before are foregoing travel agents in exchange for mobile booking sites. And smartphones have made it easy to travel without interacting with other people. In spite of these developments, travelers still thirst for human connection. They want to interact with locals who reside in the area in which they’re traveling and can add to the authentic feel of a trip. In fact, interactions with locals are a critical element of the cultural immersion modern travelers are seeking. Travelers also expect human service during their travels. They don’t want to interact with an app if they need help. They want to connect with people.

The Latest Trend in Travel Planning

See the Monarchs!

This hike is short and sweet! (its really just an excuse to see the Monarchs!) 

The trail is approximately 0.75 miles and flat. You can walk the area and take a look at the beautiful butterflies! There are rangers, and nature  guides to help you learn about the Monarch lifecycle.


 The park is open to the public and has a viewing area.  I loved this last year – it was surreal, a foggy wet raining morning…and then as the sun peeked out, the trees started to vibrate then the sky was ORANGE/BLACK with Butterflies — so very startling and thrilling.
November is the month when the Monarch butterfly has returned to the California coast, and one of the largest concentrations of these amber-colored beauties is in the eucalyptus trees next to the Nature Center at Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz. They’ve journeyed 1,500 miles from the Rocky Mountains in search of mild temperatures, and from now through March you can see them resting on their leafy coastal thrones. Commonly spotted in eucalyptus trees, the butterflies flit and flutter among the branches in warmer weather (55 degrees or higher); when the temperatures dip, they move into huddles so thick the trees look more like shingled roofs. We will walk a few minutes down the Monarch Boardwalk into the forest to the grand “Monarch Resting Area,” on a wooden platform. It’s a winged wonderland.
You’ll want to go to the Nature Center! There is a naturalist-led discussion at 11 am, and again in the afternoon. The morning session is better because the Monarchs are still clustered in the trees, you’ll visit the Milkweed garden, and the observation area. There are special telescopes for close-up viewing the clusters.  You’ll also learn why Monarchs are so amazing, how far they migrate, what they need to survive, counting butterflies, how to tell F from M and (sadly) that the numbers of Monarchs are declining and why.
ADDRESS: [Map]  [Website]
2531 W. Cliff Driver
Santa Cruz, CA 95060


  • Take Hwy CA-17 South.2. Slight right onto CA-1 N (signs for CA-9/Half Moon Bay/Boulder Creek).
  • Slight right onto Mission St (signs for California 1 N/Half Moon Bay)
  • Turn left onto Swift St.
  • Take the 2nd right onto Delaware Ave. Take the 1st left onto Swanton Blvd.
  • Turn right onto W Cliff Dr. Natural Bridges State Beach will be on the left. You’ll be driving along the coastline.

Bucket List: Grand Canyon?

Is it on YOUR “bucket list”?

One way to do it: As the Colorado River winds its way between the Shivwits and Hualapai plateaus, it cascades into the lower gorge of the Grand Canyon creating a world of excitement and unexpected beauty. Travel 97 miles from Whitmore Wash to South Cove on Lake Mead, which includes stretches of exciting rapids and smooth flowing water. The last 34 miles of your trip are spent traveling between the sheer walls and graceful tiers of the upper stretches of beautiful Lake Mead.  You can arrange a unique river expedition to give you access to this marvelous region of the Grand Canyon.

You can start your trip in Las Vegas, Nevada, one of the entertainment capitals of the west. You can spend a night in Las Vegas, before or after the rafting whitewater trip. Enjoy the city and it’s entertainment!  

To see, where you are headed, go to McCarran Airport in Las Vegas for a mid-morning flight and fly on a special scenic flight over the Canyon to the Bar Ten Ranch located high on the Canyon Rim in Arizona; spend tonight near the rim of the Grand Canyon at the scenic Bar Ten Ranch.

Grand Canyon

 The next morning take a special Helicopter transfer from ranch down to the river at the bottom of the canyon.  Once you get to the river you will enjoy 2 full days and nights rafting and camping.  Rafting is nature’s roller coaster and this program gives an excellent introduction to river running with a chance to sample outdoor cooking and relish nights spent sleeping on a cot under the stars. There are opportunities for hiking, swimming and exploring side canyons.

Another Way to see the sights: If camping is a thrill, but don’t want to pack in all the stuff, try staying at Zion National Park in the cabins. Make sure to walk up the river, between the two rims that have been cut into a slot. This river has no sandy beach, just walk in the water, you’ll have a breeze and shade except at high noon, when the blazing sun find its way into down to the water.

Bay Area Wilderness Training (BAWT)

BAY AREA WILDERNESS TRAINNG — this non-profit has an amazing mission…. learn the outdoors….

there are volunteer opportunities and they are looking for some new Board Members. Get Involved!

Bay Area Wilderness Training (BAWT) envisions a world where all youth have access to the wilderness. We believe that youth, once exposed to the wilderness, have a broadened sense of themselves, one another and the world around them, and are better prepared to lead social and environmental change. BAWT’s mission is to create opportunities for youth to experience wilderness first hand. To achieve our mission, we train teachers and youth workers from the San Francisco Bay Area, provide outdoor gear loans, give financial support, and foster community collaboration.

Bay Area Wilderness Training


Local Fun – Glory Hole – Lake Berryessa

Lake Berryessa
The California Wet weather is here, and while this wasn’t fun during the drought, this summer we hope the water levels are good. Start near the east side of the Monticello Dam at Lake Berryessa, this open bell-mouth spillway (basically what lets them release flows of dam water into Putah Creek) is one of the coolest things you’ll ever stare into (from a very, VERY safe distance) in your life. Creepy bonus: the lake was the site of one of the Zodiac murders!

Hike San Bruno Mountain — Sat July 11

There is lots to do up here! Yes it is windy, but if you come prepared, you’ll love the views of the Bay and SF, the hikes (there are 4) and the ranger talks / walks. There is a wide variety of scenery, and a fairly level walk around the mountain from the parking lot.   This mountain is quite amazing, it is the largest open space district in San Mateo County. The park itself is shared by the county and state.


  1. TAKE A HIKE program Comes to San Bruno Mountain on JULY 11 at 9AM
  2. San Bruno Mountain Watch
  3. BA HIKER – 4 trails on San Bruno Mountain  –Summit, Bog Loop, Saddle Loop and all around.
  4. STATE PARK Information
  5. Read about the endangered species, that calls Twin Peaks and San Bruno Mountain – HOME!
  6. EVENT:   Mission Blue-Berry Pancake Breakfast & Native Plant Sale, Aug9

Adults are $10 and children (12 and under) are $5.
Purchase tickets online or at the door.

Sunday, August 9th
9am to 2pm
Mission Blue Nursery
near 3401 Bayshore Blvd

Our Mission Blue Native Plant Nursery will also be open for plant sales! Plants and pancakes – that’s good!