Nearby to downtown Hayward along the San Lorenzo Creek are the Hayward’s Japanese Gardens. Currently maintained by the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District, these are the oldest Japanese gardens in California.
It’s not a large garden and the grounds can be covered in about 30 minutes depending on what sort of contemplative mood you’re in. Still, it’s free and open from 8:30am – 4:00pm every day except Christmas.
Along the trails to get to Little Yosemite, the nearby Calaveras Dam project is clearly visible. Slated to be completed in Spring 2019, Calaveras is the Hetch Hetchy’s largest reservoir in the Bay Area holding 96,850 acre-feet of water!
Up near the Eagle View trail, the winds picked up and we spotted a couple of American Kestrels fighting the wind while hunting for insects in the grass. American Kestrels, next to the Red Tailed Hawk, are one of the most common raptors. Much smaller than hawks, they’re related to falcons with cool looking eye strips and red-blue feather colorations.
And with the moisture brought by rains, mushrooms spontaneously erupt in the shady spots around fallen trees.