History in my back yard.

We’re going to Antarctica in January, and I have to be in good enough shape to get in and out of the Zodiaks that take you ashore, and then walk along the snow fields.  Even a world class procrastinator like me knows better than to leave that for the last 2 weeks, so today I got a cortisone shot in my bad knee and took off on a walk with the dog.

Looking for a place to stretch my legs, I found a park I’d never heard of with something really special–an airmail arrow from the 1920’s.  Before electronic navigation, there were hundreds of great big arrows on the ground guiding air mail pilots on routes from the east coast to the west.  They were accompanied by lighted beacons, but those are long gone.  The concrete lives on in a few hundred sites around the US.


The two arrows point to the LA–Seattle route (left) and the San Francisco–Chicago route

The park is at the end of Bacon Drive in Walnut Creek, a part of the city I’d never seen before. It wasn’t a long walk, about 1/2 mile.  But I think it was about 4,500 feet of vertical rise.  At least that’s the way it seemed.

The airmail marker was something I had long wanted to see, and never realized there was on right in our backyard.


The squares seem to indicate the approach to the arrow.

Being on top of the hill gave me a great view of Walnut Creek and the 24/680 interchange, down to Danville.  Visibility wasn’t great, due to smoke in the air from the fires.  Turning towards the North, I could see mostly to the Martinez refineries.


A very welcome bench to rest on.  Claudia didn’t need any rest.

There was something interesting on the ground–a ton of compressed gas containers.  CO2?  Nitrous Oxide?  If young people are coming up here to get high, they’re sure willing to put a lot of work into it.


Having caught my breath, it was time to walk back, which seemed to entail another 4500 vertical foot climb.  Maybe that was just my impression.

Claudia raced to the end of the trail, ignoring all calls to come back.  Then she waited politely for me to stagger up and drive her home.

Finding the arrow satisfied a long held wish.  I need to take lots more walks before our trip, are there any other interesting places to stroll around here, preferably much, much flatter?


4 thoughts on “History in my back yard.

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