Natural High 

The beauty of Briones

SUN 10/9

With its rolling, grassy hills and secluded, shady canyons, Briones is a secret wilderness," states Indeed, the 5,756-acre park, surrounded by the cities of Lafayette, Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill, Concord, and Martinez, offers an inspiring, wholly natural environment just minutes from the urban sprawl of Contra Costa County. Look out from Briones Peak, and you'll see sweeping, panoramic views of Mt. Diablo, the Sacramento River, and Mt. Tamalpais. Sounds like a perfect place for a hike, which is just what the Berkeley Hiking Club plans on doing this Sunday. Rain permitting, the group will meet at 8:30 a.m. at Shattuck Ave. and Berkeley Way, then reconvene at the Bear Creek staging area in Briones for a nine-mile excursion on various trails. $5 for BHC membership; add $2 for each additional family member. Park fee is $5 per vehicle, $2 per dog, or $1 per person. For more information, call hike leader Jerry White at 925-944-9068 or the East Bay Regional Parks Department at 510-562-PARK. -- Eric K. Arnold


Tri This

Run, Bike, Kayak

Think triathlons are all the same? Try the Three-Day Lake Tahoe Triathlon on for size. Fully user-customizable, it offers participants the choice between recreational and competitive events: kayaking or swimming, 35-mile, 72-mile, or 112-mile bike race, 20-mile power walk, and 10k run, half, or full marathon. You can create your own duathlon from any two events, or just do one event and spend the rest of the weekend having fun on the lake. The athletic endeavors begin Wednesday with a round of Extreme Golf, and finish Saturday; fees vary by race. For more information, visit or call race director Kristi Jereb at 707-888-0061. -- Eric K. Arnold


Artful Juggler

Unicycling and juggling are harder than they look; precise skills of balance and timing -- which means practice, and lots of it -- are required. If you want to learn slick unicycle techniques, or juggle like a pro, follow the bouncing balls or do a one-wheel wheelie over to King Middle School for the First Annual Berkeley Unicycle & Juggling Festival this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. There will be exhibitions, demonstrations, workshops, and tutorials for first-timers and experienced show-offs alike, including endurance juggling and a burly off-road unicycle course, plus a variety showcase Friday evening in the school auditorium. The showcase is $12; the workshops are free. For more information, visit -- Eric K. Arnold


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