In praise of the spur trail
|View east to Las Trampas ridge from Brittleleaf Trail at Anthony Chabot Regional Park
Is it worth expending extra effort on a spur? Most spurs lead to wonders: waterfalls, beaches, tall trees, and surprising views. Many lead to a destination end point, such as Haypress and Hawk campsites in Marin Headlands. A few are downright disappointing -- I'm looking at you Mt. Wittenberg. Some of the best I've hiked are Old Tree Trail in Portola Redwoods State Park, the triple threat of waterfall spurs at Uvas County County Park, Tomales Bay State Park beach spurs, and Alamere Falls at Point Reyes (the latter unfortunately currently inaccessible).
|A spur path at Tomales Bay State Park leads to Pebble Beach
Sometimes, as I found recently at Chabot Park, the trail name gives away a surprise. I lingered at the junction with Brittleleaf Trail, a tiny spur off MacDonald Trail. I kept going but the name continued to poke at my brain until some synapses fired and I remembered that brittleleaf is a variety of manzanita. I know there are manzanita barrens north of Chabot in Huckleberry Preserve, but I had never seen one in Chabot. So on my way back I popped onto Brittleleaf Trail. Sure enough, the path ends at a rock formation surrounded by manzanitas. The sweeping view east (to Las Trampas ridge) were ample reward for taking a chance on a spur.
Now I'm wondering about spurs I've neglected or never considered. Lambert Creek Trail in Skyline Ridge? Lobitos Creek Trail at Purisima Creek Redwoods? Upper Ritchey Canyon Trail at Bothe-Napa Valley State Park? Bring on the rain, I've got some map reading and planning to do for spring!
Have you ever stumbled upon an interesting spur? Please comment!