Secretest Path in Berkeley
Before the ecologically minded citizens of Berkeley had the Toyota Prius, they had an extensive network of pedestrian pathways where nary a car could travel. In the 1900s, according to the Berkeley Path Wanderers Association, early residents created these shortcuts to provide convenient access to streetcars and rail lines. But many of these paths, which snake from one street to another, seem to have been constructed for more whimsical reasons. Keeler Path, in particular, exists for no other purpose than to enchant its wanderers with its secret forested passageway. This dirt path begins in Remillard Park, a small swatch of grassland and eucalyptus trees carved into the hills at the corner of Keeler Avenue and Poppy Lane. From the east side of the playground, it descends southward down a set of dirt and log stairs, past fragrant blackberry bushes to a miniature meadow filled with tiny blue wildflowers. There, it levels out and dips low beneath two tree trunks that arch over the path. From here, the forest cover opens to reveal a small ravine racing down to a flat grassy meadow, where a lone chair is perched below. The last stretch narrowly squeezes between two private homes before revealing itself to observant passersby who will see, hidden by the trees at the bend in Sterling Road, the brown sign for Keeler Path.