Since we needed a break from the rough, uneven and hilly trails we've been on lately, on Sunday D. and I decided to check out the recently-opened stretch of the Bay Trail in town, going behind Moffett Field and the NASA Ames Research Center, where they do semi-super-secret stuff. The area on the salt pond levees in back of the campus used to be off-limits because of their semi-super-secret stuff (and because it used to be a naval airfield before it was NASA Ames), but they made some changes and decided to allow public access. Yay.
The trail was refreshingly flat and even. We took some pics. First here's mine.
Toyon berries at the trailhead.
Stevens Creek. It's high tide.
Park yer butt right here.
I get the feeling this is not an officially-sanctioned receptacle.
The snail tree has a bumper crop this year.
On the east side of the trail is the NASA Ames Research Center. The building on the left is a blimp hangar ("Hangar One").
I love these domes, whatever they are.
They bring to mind an outpost on a distant planet, or Earth in the distant future. But they are right here, right now. How cool is that.
Behind NASA Ames is NASA DART.
What's NASA DART? And why is there so much junk there?
NASA DART is the Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team, and this is their training ground.
They have small planes and overturned tanker cars to practice on.
They have rubble piles and smashed vehicles to practice on.
They have towers to practice their high-angle rope rescues on.
They have different kinds of collapsed structures to practice on.
They have water rescue equipment.
They have a nifty bright red truck.
They have their own secret stash.
No, no no, it's not that kind! It's this kind!
Oh . . . um . . . hi there.
On the edge of the marsh is a sewer manhole, with a black box on top of it.
The black box is labeled City of Palo Alto, and it has a probe going into the sewer . . . a City of Mountain View sewer.
The audacity! I say Palo Alto out of Mountain View sewers, now!!
Power line by the trail.
A small flock of avocets in Jogel Slough.
This pipe, no longer functional, is shaped like an inchworm.
I thought the shortest distance between two points was a straight line.
The new section of trail.
It used to be only hunters could get in here during duck season. Now everyone can go, any time of year.
Is this the entrance to a recreational trail or a prison yard?
An old floodgate, once used to control the flow of sea water between levees from one salt evaporation pond to the next.
A boat for accessing the duck blinds out in the salt pond.
Looking across Jogel Slough to the rear of NASA Ames.
Moffett Field's Hangar Two and Hangar Three.
Rubble pile beside trail.
Salt pond A2E, with the Diablo Range in the background.
Pelicans enjoy perching on the pilings in the salt pond.
Don't mess with NASA.
The dried salt pond is like a moonscape, harsh and desolate.
Rotted pilings from the salt harvesting days, with duck blinds in the distance.
NASA Ames's wind tunnel, across Jogel Slough.
Hangar Two and Hangar Three, with Mt. Umunhum in the background.
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And here are D.'s pics.
A forest of power lines can be found at the marsh.
Another look at the sign.
One of the unfriendliest gates to a public trail we've ever seen.
The new trail segment follows the levees separating the salt ponds.
A northern harrier makes a sweep along the salt pond.
Moffett Field's Hangar One, across the dried slough.
A rusted remnant of the salt harvesting days.
No hunting zone.
I don't think anything is alive out there anyway.
Mesembryanthemum nodiflorum, slender-leaved ice plant (a non-native), is salt-tolerant and grows along the shore of the salt pond.
Loudon Wainwright III's muse.
Salt pond A2E.
A boom of logs to catch debris in an inlet.
A gyre of flotsam behind the boom, above a sunken drain and culvert carrying water under the levee.
An egret in flight over the marsh.
"Welcome to Shoreline Mountain at View."
Um, the City of Mountain View needs a proofreader in their Parks and Recreation sign department.
Late afternoon on the trail.