Lake Chabot

We were intrigued with an invitation to paddle on the “Jewel of the East Bay,” also known as Lake Chabot, earlier in February. Lake Chabot is an artificial lake in the Oakland Hills. The dam was built in 1874-1875 to create a reservoir that was the primary source for water in the East Bay. In 1976, the dam was designated as a California Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers. I grew up not far from Lake Chabot; over the years, I’ve hiked the trails around the lake, but this was my first venture on the lake in a kayak.

So on February 9 we strapped the kayaks on the top of the car and drove to Lake Chabot. It’s a bit of a walk from the parking area to the boat ramp, so we took our wheels with us to trundle the boats down to the ramp. Getting a permit to paddle requires a boat inspection. It took me three rounds of inspection to get enough sand out of the boat to satisfy the inspector. At issue is the risk of introducing invasive species that might hitch a ride from a previous waterway. A dry PFD is required as well. Fortunately our PFDs passed inspection. I’m not sure if we would have been allowed on the water with wet PDFs. There is a $4 fee per boat for the inspection. This is on top of the $5 parking fee and a $2 per kayak launching fee. Getting the boats to the water and permitted took a bit of time. We were on the water at 10:40 a.m. Our route took us around the lake in a counterclockwise direction.

We paddled in and around several wetlands. I was intrigued by the composition of my fellow kayakers paddling along the reeds. After circumnavigating the better part of the lake we stopped for lunch.

Along the way we observed a number of birds including a few hawks, egrets, and white pelicans. At the north end of the lake we watched a turtle scurry through the water plants under our boats. We were off the water around 1:45 p.m. having logged 5.7 miles. I’ve posted a gallery of some 38 photos online.

Miller/Knox Regional Shoreline

Our quest for dog friendly hikes took us to the Miller/Knox Regional Shoreline today. A 20 minute drive from our house. We were surprised to find that we had the trails more or less to ourselves. Some of the trails were a bit steep and showing signs of erosion. On our 90 minute walk we saw a dozen or so hikers and it seems we were the only dog walkers. Dogs can be off leash as long as you are in undeveloped areas, which is what we were looking for. Our dog Carson had great fun running off leash. He managed to catch a squirrel by the tail. Fortunately the squirrel got away without much effort. The park has shoreline and a beach where I’ve launched my kayak. You can also take a short hike to a ridge with spectacular panoramic views of the bay area, taking in Marin, San Francisco and the East Bay.

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