Hayward Japanese Garden

Hayward Japanese Garden

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.

Christmas Day in Sunol Regional Wilderness

Christmas Day in Sunol Regional Wilderness

The short but strong rains on Christmas Eve fueled the gushing waters of the Alameda Creek through Little Yosemite in the Sunol Regional Wilderness.

The large boulders and gushing waters reminds me of hiking through the Sierra Nevada

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!

The Calaveras Damn replacement project nearing completion

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.

American Kestrel fighting the wind and hunting for food below

And with the moisture brought by rains, mushrooms spontaneously erupt in the shady spots around fallen trees.