Finding Art and Wildness on Albany Bulb

Aug 29, 2018

I love finding evidence of nature’s resilience in the most unexpected of places. On a recent everyday adventure through Oakland and Berkeley along the Ohlone Greenway on an EdgeRunner eSwoop, my kiddo and I set out to find just that by heading to the Albany Bulb. Literally located right off Interstate 80, I was skeptical that I would find that wild feeling I was hungry for. You can imagine my delight when, after taking the ramp down Buchanan and passing under the highway, I immediately felt like the city was far behind and I was riding into a lush remote sea scape.

The various trails snaking through the McLaughlin Eastshore State Park treated us to a variety of wonderful sights, smells and sounds. Greens, yellows, pinks, purples, blues. It was salve for the soul after a commute past pick-ups and shopping centers.

As we explored the trails further, we started to see evidence of human-made beauty. It was only then did I remember an Xtracycle team member telling me about something called the “Albany Bulb” – without even trying, we had found it! Or, as an artist and dreamer, I like to think it was calling to me and we just ended up there 😉

It was fascinating to see these elements of art and nature blend together in such a seamless way. While reminders of human presence can often jolt me out of my nature groove, I surprisingly didn’t feel that way as we explored the Bulb and discovered art in rocks, trees and construction debris that remained for the days when the peninsula was a dumping ground for wasted concrete, marble and rebar.

The sun began to set and I thought our ride couldn’t get any better but the skies had a treat in store. As the wind whipped the colorful blooms and grasses around us and the waters of the Bay rolled onto the sands of  Albany Beach, the sky melted into a sherbet gradient. Purely divine.

It’s always so refreshing to be so gently reminded that pockets of wild-less and beauty are literally right in front of our eyes and in some cases, right below the interstate overpass.