We are getting so excited about seeing you all for this fun evening! Of course, I know many of you need more details. I am happy to oblige, and probably go way overboard, as usual…
To start, here are some key points:
*We are throwing a potluck dinner for everyone, and hope everyone can make it. The camping is optional. We can fit plenty of people, but if you don’t feel like camping over night, no worries at all. Feel free to come for the potluck, stay for the evening festivities, and leave when you like! “Check out time” is noon on Sunday, August 11.
*Pot luck details: we will provide some food and table wear. Water is available there. If you know what you want to bring, please mention it on the evite. Main dishes, side dishes, desserts, and drinks would all be great!
*If you stay, you may want to bring some s’mores makings, or other cook-over-a-fire type foods. If you camp, you will need to bring your own breakfast.
*There is no alcohol of any sort allowed, per the campground rules.
*This is an off-leash dog friendly event. The dogs are friendly and well behaved, and high energy. If you or your kids are uncomfortable around dogs, let us know, and we will do our best to accomodate everyone.
*This is a kid friendly event. The kids are friendly and well behaved, and high energy. If you or your dogs are uncofortable around kids, let us know, and we will do our best to accomodate everyone.
*This is a “primitive” campground. There are port-o-potties only (Maiya will have a potty seat, feel free to use it or bring your own), and only one drinking faucet / spigot.
*There are poison oak and ticks, but if you stay out of the bushes, you will be fine. We hike here all the time, and have never had an issue. There are really no other concerns here; wild animals are mild, few, and far between. In Maiya’s entire life of hiking here very, very frequently, the most exciting thing she has seen is a turkey. Though we might get a bald eagle sighting, if we are very, very lucky.
*If the weather cooperates, we will get to have a roaring bon fire in the shelter. However, it has been a very dry year, so we are unlikely to be able to have one. However, we will still be able to grill, so s’mores are still very likely to happen!
*Feel free to bring any activities that you, your kids, or your dogs may enjoy. Along with the shelter and picnic area, there is a very large grassy area at our disposal. Some suggestions: board games (card game SHOULD be fine, but there may be wind), volleyball net, tee-ball, hula hoops, fetch toys. We will of course bring a few things, too!
*This is not an exclusive event. Everyone is invited! If you have any friends or family that you think may enjoy a beautiful summer evening outdoors, please invite them along.
Now, for the long winded details.
Despite having a maximum occupancy of 150 people in tents, parking is limited. There are only 15 spots by the campground, and 10 more about a mile away. That parking lot is close enough that Maiya can hike all the way to Hawk Ridge, but it’s all down hill, so hiking out is another story! We will have a shuttle set up for those that can’t park close and don’t want to hike. Before 10 PM, you may park anywhere in the park. After 10 PM, you must have a parking permit, and we only have 25 of those. So, if you desire to stay after 10 PM (whether camping or not, though we can’t shuttle you to your car after 10 PM), you need to let me know so I can give you a permit. If I run out of permits, no worries. We can pick you up from the residential area 10 mins away and drive you in. We will have a car seat for those with kids, and it’s a dog-friendly car, too! If needed, you can drive to the campsite, unload your gear, and we’ll drive with you to where ever you can park and drive you back. If you can carpool, please do!
On the evite, I say this starts at 4 PM. That is the time I hope to have things set up, so people can show up and immediately start having fun. Dinner will probably start around 5:30, so if you want to grill, you have time to have it done. If you will be camping, you can set up your tent any time. However, the truth is, we have this campsite to ourselves starting at 2:00 PM, so you are welcome to show up then if you like. Also, it is a public area, so you can technically show up whenever you like. You just can’t start using the campsite until 2 (or drive in before 2, must hike before that!). But, you can hike around the area- it’s gorgeous, and a relatively short hike to the lake.
This is as close to the middle of nowhere as you can get in the Bay Area! Or at least, in the Castro Valley portion of the Bay Area. Though the campground is in hiking distance to the Lake, and though it is in the Anthony Chabot Regional Park, it is NOT at the Lake Chabot Marina, which is where most people think of when they hear “Chabot”. You will not be going out Lake Chabot Road- you MUST take Redwood Road. See map for details!
From Redwood Road, you will be turning at Marciel Gate, and Marciel Gate Road. It will be on the left from Castro Valley, or on the right from Oakland. This is what you will look for:
Once on Maricel Gate Road, you will follow it for a while (speed limit is 25, and there are wild deer and turkey, so go slow!). You will pass up the fork for the Rifle Range. You will want the fork on the left, towards the campgrounds. See picture:
Keep going, and you will eventually find the staging area (parking lot) for the group campgrounds (NOT the family campgrounds at the end of the road, for those who have been there). This is what the staging area looks like, don’t keep following the road:
In the parking lot, you will see this gate:
It will be locked. Theoretically, we will have someone there to let you in, but if you are very early or late, there will not be anyone there. Cell reception here is not the best, but it does work. Call us or text us (if reception is bad, texts work better), and someone will come let you in. If you can’t get reception in the parking lot, hike out to the bend in the road that you can see in that picture, and try again. It usually works for me there!
Once you make it beyond the gate, either by driving, hiking, or shuttle, you will follow the paved road until the very end. It will split once; the left fork is a dirt road- you want the right, paved fork. The end of the road looks like this:
That pretty grassy area right in front of the picture? That’s our home for the evening, Hawk Ridge!
And because I like pictures and want you to have a good idea of what the area is like, here is a little mini photo and video tour!
Panorama view of Hawk Ridge from the road. The grassy area is obvious, the port o potties are on the very right side of the picture, the 15 parkings spaces are between the port o potties and the shelter, the shelter is the little building, and the picnic area and grills are to the left of the shelter. Tents are not allowed on the grass, so they would go around the shelter.
And a video of a Maiya-eye view from the shelter.
Ok, I think that covers most of it. If you have any questions at all, feel free to call, email, text, or facebook message me. If anyone needs to be added to the evite list, just give me the email you want it sent to. We really hope to see you all there for the potluck, at least, and camping!!