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Don Edwards NWR - January 28, 2011

Distance: 13.0 miles Ascent: 135 feet Moving time: 0:58 hours

This was my first time to the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge near Alviso. This is mostly marshes and former salt ponds that is now a wildlife refuge. This was definitely the most animals I have ever seen on a ride. I saw literally thousands of ducks plus egrets (snowy and great white and maybe others), loons, geese and seagulls. As I would come up on a group of ducks, they would either take flight or "run" along the surface of the water to spots further out from shore. Except for one person near the visitor center and three people near Alviso, I was the only person out there.

The ride itself was very simple since there pathways are along the tops of old dikes with very few trail junctions. There was one section that I didn't go into since it is still hunting season for a few days, but otherwise I think I covered most of the route. Not all of the dikes are accessible or open, but this is not a problem. The surface is packed dirt that made for pretty fast riding. The surface wasn't as smooth as a road, but it was easy to look around while riding. It did not look like too many people had been out there (about 3 bikes and 1 barefoot runner had left tracks). There is one railroad crossing in the middle of nothing, but the track is active (I saw one Amtrak train and one freight train).

This was a very different ride. The GPS reported a total climb of 135 feet, but I think this was more likely to be due to an accumulation of small errors and changing weather conditions. The entire ride was very flat (it would be a very good place for beginners or small children). The birds and scenery were both different and interesting. It was fun to be moving along at a good, sustained clip without having to worry about people, trail conditions or cars. It was a nice change. I'll have to try it again some time.

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