A Place Where Arrows Fly


AT THE EDGE of the Redwood forest, where the trees reach out to a brownish-green meadow, there’s a warm wood lodge. Inside, the fire dances and throws light across the room. “This is a treasure,” I think to myself as I take it all in. It’s like being in Montana or some far away place, but it’s here in the Oakland hills.

This magical spot is the lodge where the Redwood Bowmen Club has been meeting since 1939. The group’s president, Vail Briggs, took me up there the other day, and we shot a few arrows together.

“It’s a great way to get outdoors,” she says, “away from housework, the office and cement, and enjoy the beautiful state we live in.” Briggs describes archery as almost “Zen-like,” with its meditative focus on the target.

The range is open to the public, right behind Chabot Space and Science Center in Redwood Regional Park.

How popular is archery? Nationwide, the National Archery Association has over 50,000 members and is getting ever more attention from hunters and athletes.

But you don’t have to be either one to shoot in Redwood Park. For $6 a round ($3 for kids under 14 with an adult), you can try your skill at hitting 3D animal targets Saturday mornings. It’s the fun of hunting without the kill, but you need to bring your own equipment.

There’s also a turkey shoot Sunday, Nov. 21, when every kid “bags” a Rock Cornish Game Hen, and adults can win frozen turkeys. No real gobblers are killed on the premises, thankfully. Parking is free in the space center lot, and you’ll probably find a warm beverage waiting for you when you at the lodge.

For more information, or free instruction for a school, church or scout group, call youth project manager Jess Aldape at 510-237-7257 or send him an e-mail at j archer300@sbcglobal.net.

Lurking danger

It’s my sincere belief that most people are good and decent in the world. But scary incidents like these point out the importance of talking with your kids about strangers.

A hills teen student is said to be recovering from an alleged assault by a man in his 20s, who reportedly slipped a drug into her drink about two weeks ago. This happened after a night out with her friends, who didn’t see her leave with the suspect.

Meanwhile, a stranger gave a group of young Corpus Christi School students quite a scare when he spoke to them from his older model bluish-gray pickup truck at the corner of Park Boulevard and Leimert last week. The children were participating in a designated Walk to School Day.

They were just a couple of blocks from school when the suspect pulled up and asked them if they wanted some Spiderman stickers. They hurried to class where they reported the incident, and police in Oakland and Piedmont were called.

Garbage dump

Anyone who travels down rural Pinehurst Road from the Oakland hills to Moraga has seen the dumpster-size pile of trash that someone left there last weekend.

Neighbors who came on the scene almost immediately afterward say the offenders tied a rope to the guard rail — and the other end to a bicycle at the bottom of their garbage heap. Then the alleged polluters drove their trash-filled truck at high speed around the hair-pin turn, and the junk came tumbling out onto the road.

“It’s an old trick,” one witness told me. “You don’t have to lift a finger.”

But sheriff’s deputies in the area may get the last laugh. They pulled a number of names and addresses out of the mess and are going after the suspects.

Zoo games

The Oakland Zoo has a chance to make a cool 25 grand in a new Microsoft game contest. It’s made the semi-finals of a competition for America’s favorite zoo — and now the outcome is up to us.

Take a minute to log on to and cast your vote today — at www.oaklandzoo.org or www.microsoft.com/games/zootycoon/zoo2/favorite-zoo.asp. The winning zoo not only gets the cash, it gets the bragging rights to this big national popularity contest. I’ve always known our zoo had animal magnetism.

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