The John Shinnick 84 Street, 10 Path Pledge
August 24, 2018
I’d just walked the previous day, but had posted the results so I was ready to finish. The one remaining walk I needed to complete my quest was likely only going to take a little over an hour, significantly less than the previous eight walks on this project. That was okay; I had a little issue to resolve. I had recently read “Kensington Past and Present”, a wonderful book about Kensington which was part of the inspiration for this project. In it the authors discussed the Blake Estate, which includes Blake Gardens. Owned by UC Berkeley, it’s 10.5 acres, but I hadn’t yet seen a trace of it.
After nearly 37 years living in Kensington, I really wasn’t even sure where it was, though I’d correctly assumed it was somewhere in the northern Baja region. To make sure I didn’t miss it (even if just to note it for this project and visit another day) I got out the Kensington book to check out its location. Its address was 70 Rincon Rd. I had to have passed it the day before. How could I have missed it? I also knew from the book that there was also a Carmelite monastery in Kensington, which turned out to be right next door to the Blake Estate! From breakfast I drove to Rincon and found the entrance to both. I’d walked by and mistaken the shared entrance for just some fancy driveway entrance! Duh.
At about 12:30 I drove to the corner of Norwood Ave. and Highgate Rd. I chose this point in large part because it was at the lowest elevation of today’s walk, so I would end up walking downhill! Actually, I parked on Norwood about 50 yards uphill from Highgate, ensuring that the last 50 yards of the day would be uphill, but I’d survive it.
It was cool and breezy as I started, and I’d worn a long sleeve shirt, which was perfect. The day was overcast or foggy or whatever, which was to make a couple of views less than photogenic, but it didn’t dampen my spirits. Down I went to Highgate Rd. where I turned right. Highgate is one of Kensington’s longer roads, but that meant only about half a mile end to end. I’d done the northernmost piece the day before, and I’d do the southernmost piece later in this walk. Soon I noticed on my right, a rear entrance to the Blake Estate! I decided to possibly enter here later in the day. For now I pressed on to Jessen Ct. where I turned right.
Jessen was very uphill but, like most courts, short and I quickly found myself continuing north on Highgate to Edwin Dr. beyond which I’d already walked. I retraced Highgate back to Norwood Ave. and turned left, passing my car and up an almost daunting hill wondering if I’d ever get to Norwood Place. There was no street sign marking it. Only a mailbox with that street name and what otherwise looked like a driveway. I turned left and soon found that, unlike the map’s representation, it bent left and went perhaps 150 yards farther than I’d anticipated. Or was this all a driveway? There was only one house at the end. I went there and turned back, smug about my adherence to my quest.
Back on Norwood Ave. I soon came to Arlington Ct. It’s the only court that is actually a cross street. I started it going left, which runs into Arlington Ave. before turning around, crossing Norwood to the actual Court part of the street. I went to its end deciding we need a word for a street that morphs into a driveway at an undefined point. This was yet another. I returned to Norwood Ave. and Quickly came to Norwood View, declaring it the winner of the Kensington’s Shortest Street Contest. Walking to its end and back took a matter of seconds. Norwood Ave. finished at Arlington Ave. where I turned right, and right again on Sunset Dr., both done before.
I turned right onto Highgate Rd. and soon found myself at Highgate Ct. The people who came up with the list of 84 street names that I’d used in naming this project had overlooked this street and I’d only discovered this omission the night before. It should have been the 85 Street Pledge all along! I’ll note it somewhere, but I’m not going back to change it everywhere! That would be more work than it was to climb its uphill length. At least it was accurately drawn on the map. I came back down to Highgate Rd., turned right, and soon found myself at the corner of Highgate Rd. and Norwood Ave.
My quest was now complete. Today’s walk had only taken a little over an hour, but now I could hold my head up high and say I had walked the length of every street and every path in my fair town of Kensington. Given the brevity of today’s journey, however, I decided to poke my head into Blake Gardens, which I did. Though not part of the Pledge, I’ll attach the photos here.
And the whole shebang!
The view from the top of Jessen Ct. On a clear day I'm sure it's spectacular! That's Angel Island you can kinda sorta see.
The back entrance to the Blake Estate on Highgate Rd.
Norwood View, the shortest street in Kensington. I don't know what the "view" is, unless it's the view of Norwood Ave.
The only indication of the existence of Norwood Place where it intersects Norwood Ave. is this mailbox.
Now THIS would be a great street sign, except that it's about 100 yards in and around a corner, not visible from Norwood Ave. There's just one house on the street, and I probably walked its entire driveway.