Over the weekend I finished the short remaining section of my walk of every street and path in Berkeley — the Bay trail path from the Berkeley bicycle bridge to the Emeryville border — and then came home and marked the final section on my map. Although this was walking project was definitely more about the enjoyment being in the journey itself rather than the end result, it was nice to feel the sense of accomplishment that came with drawing that last line to fill in the map!
So what’s next? Of course this will not be the end of walking in Berkeley; I walk every day to get around, and have many spots on my list to return to and explore in greater detail. I’m also interested in doing more walking in the cities and towns that surround Berkeley — Albany, El Cerrito, Kensington, Oakland, Piedmont, and Emeryville — to see what makes these areas unique and how they compare and contrast with Berkeley. In the past, I have explored San Francisco’s stairway system, but I would like to walk more of the paths and stairways there and in other towns where they occur (such as the Oakland hills). I also have in mind some long, all-day walks, such as taking BART to Orinda and hiking and walking back over the hills to Berkeley, and a walk of all of Berkeley’s paths in one day. Luckily there is no shortage of places to walk here.
One of the unexpected benefits of this walking project has been the number of ideas that have arisen for other projects. There must be something about walking and making observations with an open mind that sparks the creative process, but whatever it is I found that I have filled pages of a notebook with ideas. Some of these are walking related, and some have to do with other ways to explore neighborhoods and communities, and others have to do with something else altogether. It will take some time to process this walking project before I decide what to do next, but I am excited about the possibilities and especially hope to focus on other ways that I can encourage people to get outside and explore on foot or by bicycle.
I will be taking a break over the holidays from writing, but keep a look out early next year for more posts. The Berkeley Path Wanderers interviewed me about my walk for the winter newsletter, so I will post that when it’s up on their website, and have some topics that I did not get around to writing about before finishing the walk. Please feel free to leave a comment or send me a message if there is anything in particular you were hoping I would write about Berkeley or about walking. And many thanks to everyone who has expressed words of encouragement or posted thoughtful comments or interesting stories in response to blog posts. And happy walking to everyone!