Discovering Youth

The older I get, the younger I am.
Never mind the oils and creams and wrinkle removers. I am reversing the aging process with something much cheaper. Swimming. I’ve discovered the morning Masters Program at The Hills Swim Club. While most folks are rubbing the sleep from their eyes, I’m donning my goggles for a water workout at dawn. Back and forth along the lap lanes, the pool becomes an aqua blue chop — the spray catching rays from the early morning light.
My body feels supple, my skin feels alive — I am suddenly immortal as my muscles gets sculpted before my very eyes. The winter flab melts into spring.
Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I can move on to another hills favorite — hiking. Besides the obvious advantage of staying dry, hiking opens your eyes to the world around you, like birds, butterflies and slimy things growing on stumps.
What I didn’t realize was how many hiking trails we have in the area. The East Bay Regional Parks paths are one thing, but there’s a whole different set of trails in the watershed — run by the East Bay Municipal Utility District. For just $10 a year, you have access to some of the most stunning scenery around. The utility district owns over 27,000 acres of land in the East Bay, much with lush meadows and small, sparkling lakes (reservoirs).
My favorite, so far, is Kings Canyon — at the Valle Vista Staging Area off Pinehurst Road, just before Moraga. To hike this and other pristine watershed trails, call EBMUD for a permit at 510-287-0469.

E-MAIL BAG: A new book will be hitting the market this fall, and it’s guaranteed to get your interest. It’s a community yellow page guide called The Village Book, which will feature businesses in the Montclair/Piedmont and Rockridge areas.
Publisher Cathy Lonsdale says that by urging people to shop locally, merchants will be able to continue their support of local sports teams, service organizations and schools. That’s what it takes in a village — one hand washing the other.

THE BIRDS: It has all the makings of a Hitchcock thriller. Birds are ruling the roost at the mega Longs Drugs in the Rockridge Shopping Center. Attracted by the plethora of plants both outside and in, birds are nesting in the rafters above the gardening aisles. It’s impossible to keep them out, with the constant parade of customers opening the doors. And these birds aren’t “bird brains” by any means. They’ve figured out just how to help themselves to the round-the-clock buffet of feed and seed.

HUMAN PLEASURES: Speaking of buffets, it’s time for my annual fix of feta and olives at the Ascension Greek Orthodox Cathedral. The popular Greek Festival is next weekend, May 13-15, and besides the yummy gyros and great grilled lamb, there’s a new dish that I can’t pronounce. Saganaki with Kefalograviera cheese set aflame with brandy. Try saying that five times fast.
Better yet, try eating it under the stars as you take in the intoxicating music and dancing and all that is Greek — just minutes from your Oakland neighborhood. If I never get to this ancient land, I will at least feel satisfied that I’ve been there in my mind.
Got news? You can reach Ginny Prior by phone at 510-273-9418 or by e-mail at


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