By NED MACKAY
East Bay Regional Parks District
All things Western will be celebrated in style at the Cowboy Hootenanny on Saturday, Oct. 19 at Sunol Regional Wilderness in southern Alameda County.
The event is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Activities will include live folk and bluegrass music, hands-on ranching activities, and general celebration of the park’s homesteading history. Food will be available for purchase at the event. The Hootenanny is free of charge; there’s a parking fee of $5 per vehicle.
Besides the Cowboy Hootenanny, Sunol Wilderness offers Wild Wonders from 2 to 3 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday through Oct. 27. Each session is a way to discover the natural world through games, activities and explorations. Great for families.
Sunol Regional Wilderness is located at the end of Geary Road off Calaveras Road about five miles south of I-680 and the town of Sunol. For information, call 510-544-3249.
* * *
Way out in East Contra Costa, Morgan Territory Regional Preserve is a parkland with an interesting history, abundant wildlife, and beautiful views of Mt. Diablo and the Central Valley.
You can explore the park on a strenuous, naturalist-led hike from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19. It’s for ages 10 and older.
Meet at the staging area on Morgan Territory Road, about nine miles south of the junction with Marsh Creek Road east of Clayton. For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 2750.
* * *
The fall colors around here do not rival Vermont’s, but there is local seasonal beauty nonetheless. Park District naturalists have scheduled two hikes on the theme of autumnal hues.
One is at Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley, where the Delta’s turning leaves will be on display during a program from 2 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 20. Big Break is at 69 Big Break Road off Oakley’s Main Street. Call 888-327-2757, ext. 3050.
The other is a more strenuous hike, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the same day at Diablo Foothills Regional Park near Walnut Creek. This is a challenging, seven miler in search of autumn colors among the rock outcrops and expansive hills.
Meet at the Orchard Staging Area, which is on Castle Rock Road out past Northgate High School. For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 2750. Rain cancels.
* * *
Nature’s smallest creatures will be the focus of two programs at Tilden Nature Area near Berkeley.
“Itsy Bitsy Spiders” will be the quarry during a program from 3 to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19 with naturalist Jenna Collins. It’s a hike around the park to see where the little ones hide. Bring a magnifying glass.
Then from 10 to 11 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 20 and again on Oct. 27, naturalist Trent Pearce will lead a microscopic scavenger hunt. The group will collect various tiny items, then view them under a microscope. Little kids will love it.
Both programs meet at Tilden’s Environmental Education Center, located at the north end of Central Park Drive. Call 510-544-2233.
* * *
“Creepy Crawly Critters” are the stars of a program from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Sunday, Oct. 20 at Crab Cove Visitor Center in Alameda, with naturalist Morgan Guenther.
Morgan will help visitors conquer their fears of some slimy, slithery and generally misunderstood sea creatures.
The center is at 1252 McKay Ave. off Alameda’s Central Avenue. Call 510-544-3187.
* * *
This is just a sample of activities available in the Regional Parks. For a full listing, visit the website, www.ebparks.org. And remember, the regional parks are free on Fridays through the end of the year, in celebration of the district’s 85th anniversary.