Expedition 27: Bus #7

I did a real expedition on Wednesday! I used an idea from my list, explore stops on the AC Transit bus #7. Why this bus? Because there’s a bus stop at my corner. 🙂 This route was suspended in 2020 due to low ridership and is now back on a one year trial, with extended service to the Emeryville Amtrak station. 

There’s a lot to see on this route! Since the bus only runs every half hour and I walk slowly and not as far as usual, I started out with an ambitious list of stops but whittled it down significantly. That just means there are more #7 bus expeditions to come. 

My first bus was my least favorite style. It has two levels. On the lower level, the bottom of the window is slightly above shoulder height. On the upper level, the top of the big window is just below eye level. So, they are both frustrating to take in the scenery from. The second bus style has giant picture windows; much nicer! 

First I went to the Carmelite sisters monastery in Kensington, which I was introduced to by my friend Janet. Carmelites are cloistered and don’t leave the monastery or talk to outsiders, although there is a “turn,” a wooden lazy Susan contraption sort of like the security package turnstile you see in some post offices. You can talk to a nun through it without seeing each other and leave gifts or receive pamphlets by turning it.

In the chapel, I could hear women praying behind the grill at the back of the altar. I’ve been here a number of times and that’s the first time I’ve been aware of anyone else’s presence. So Interesting to know that these women live in the middle of the bustling East Bay and lead serene lives almost totally cut off from it!

Next, I decided to go all the way to Baxter Creek Gateway Park, which is a few stops from the terminus at the El Cerrito del Norte BART station. I’ve been on that path before; it’s part of Ohlone Greenway. It looked about as poorly kept as last time. It’s supposed to have a poppy hill and a wildflower section but it was quite sparse. Too bad! It could be really charming. There is a little creek visible. I think it needs a neighborhood group to care for it.

I walked south a bit and then doubled back and walked east on Conlon Avenue to Canyon Trail Park. The trail goes along an arm of Baxter Creek and it was lovely to hear the water as I walked up hill. 

The hill was steep enough for me to work up a sweat for the first time in five weeks! That felt good. The trail is paved and I was glad I was going uphill. Going down is more challenging with the cane. I exited at the northeast corner and walked further uphill to Cutting and Arlington. 

I had more stops planned but I felt tired and my knee was a little sore. I ended up walking about 3 miles. Fortunately, there was one more sight to see up the block from the bus stop: Murietta Rock. In the 1850’s, the bandit Joaquin Murrieta supposedly hung out up there with his gang to get a good view of the area before swooping down to rob someone. The legend is that he was just a regular guy driven to a life of crime by being accused of stealing a horse, among other things. 

Back then there was not as much tree cover so the rock was more visible. In the photo, it’s a little above the center. I read somewhere that it’s on private land but you can climb up and the view is terrific. When I am able to scramble up rocks again, perhaps I’ll return. 

I took the 7 bus all the way home and was treated to this rainbow almost the entire hour-long journey. It was fun to see how sometimes it was brighter, sometimes the background clouds were darker, sometimes it was bisected by clouds. I doubt I’ve ever sat and looked at a rainbow for such a long time!

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