Friday, January 8, 2021

My first published book - ADA & ABA Illustrated Guide to Parks and Trails.

 As a wheelchair user for over twenty-four years, I have encountered parks that weren’t fully accessible for the disabled. This is why I wrote my book, ADA & ABA Illustrated Guide to Parks and Trails. It is an easy reference guide for park management and planners to make sure their park is barrier-free. My book is also for anyone who wants to know about the guidelines for accessible parking, fully accessible restroom, how wide an accessible trail needs to be, and park elements like benches.


It is now available in print and kindle on Amazon

Thursday, January 7, 2021

 I have a new website, markhwriter.com. I will be blogging about my new book, ADA & ABA Illustrated Guide to Parks and Trails, future books, ADA related topics, and my nature photography.  I will still be doing park and trail reviews on this website.




Sunday, December 20, 2020

Is it 2021 yet?

For most people around the world, 2020 has been very difficult and challenging. I spent a large portion of this year at home due to the stay at home orders, and being in the high-risk group due to having muscular dystrophy and breathing on a ventilator. Thus, my plans for doing trail reviews were put on hold as I would have to travel outside of the county, which we're not supposed to do during our strict stay at home orders.

Fortunately, there are wheelchair accessible trails near where I live. Here is one that kept me sane from going bonkers being home months on end.


Coyote Creek Parkway

February 27th, 2020
 
Few weeks later the stay at home order began.


June 2020
First time I was able to go for a hike

July, 2020
Safe distancing and wearing a mask signs are posted


August 16th, 2020. A few days later
devastating wildfires broke out.
We lived close to an evacuation order area
so we packed our vehicles with emergency supplies
in case we had to leave at a moments notice.
Thanks to the brave efforts by our firefighters
we didn't have to evacuate. 


November 2020
A hike that was most needed after being home
for a couple of months.
 
December 5th, 2020 
Last hike of the year.
December 18th, due to the surge of covid-19 case,
stricter stay at home orders went into effect.

I am hopeful now that with covid-19 vaccines starting to be delivered, that by the summer of 2021 I will be able to make accessible trail reviews again.

Stay home. Stay safe. Save lives.

Mark

 

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

One of my favorite accessible trails in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Redwood Grove Loop Trail.




Thursday, May 16, 2019

Coyote Hills Regional Park - Bayview Trail

Coyote Hills is one of my new favorite places to hike.  It is a beautiful regional park that has multiple trails ranging from beginners to advanced hikers.  Next to the rolling hills is a protected marsh area that has two easy trails that let you get a closer look at the shorebirds that occupy the various ponds.

The Coyote Hills Visitor Center parking area has two accessible parking spots, drinking fountains, picnic tables, and an accessible porta potty.  

To reach the Bayview Trail, hike down to the exit area of the parking lot, cross the street and then follow a narrow paved trail until you see a crosswalk.  On the other side is the start of the Bayview Trail.

There is a drinking fountain at the beginning of the trail and further on you'll come across the Quarry Staging Area which has an accessible restroom, picnic tables, and drinking fountain.  Soon after the trail starts to weave around the contours of the rolling hills and presenting a panoramic view of the San Franciso Bay.  A couple of miles further on the trail loops around and back to the parking area.

Because there are a few sections on the trail that are over a 5% grade, I would rate this trail as intermediate for some wheelchair users.   Even though the trail surface is asphalt, it does get bumpy at some spots so you want to make sure your wheelchair can handle that.

Dogs are allowed on some of the trails but they must remain on a leash.

Even though there are drinking fountains, it is advisable to bring your own water. It also can get very windy so be sure to bring an extra layer of clothing just in case.

Trail rating: Intermediate for some wheelchair users.
Trail length:  3.5 miles (From Visitor Center parking area)
Trail width:  Varies from 80 inches to 208 inches
Trail surface: Asphalt
Trail type: Loop
Trail Slope:   Some sections can range from 8% to 12%

Trail Cross-slope:  Can be at 3.1% at some parts of the trail.
Trail usage:  Hiking, bicycles, wheelchairs, dogs.
Handicap Parking: Two at Coyote Hills Visitor Center
Accessible restrooms: Yes 

Entrance Fee: $5 per vehicle, $2 per dog. Guide/service dogs free.
Cellular Service signal strength is good.




 To see more of the Bayview Trail, please watch my video.















Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Weiler Ranch Road, San Pedro Park


The Weiler Ranch Road is located in San Pedro Park, Pacifica. The park has two parking lots with accessible parking, one of which is next to the Plaskon Nature Trail, a short and accessible nature trail. The park has a visitor center, accessible restroom, and a picnic area.

You start off by hiking a paved road which will bring you to the Weiler Ranch Road. The twelve feet wide, dirt and gravel trail, follows along a narrow and scenic valley. There are benches situated along the way which offer you a chance to stop and admire the beauty of the valley and hillsides. Even though it was almost summer, there were still wildflowers dotting each side of the trail here and there. There is a slight slope as you hike along, barely noticeable till you return. The trail finally ends in a roundabout. A cool breeze greeted me on the way back, reminding me that the park is just a few miles from the Pacific Ocean.

I really enjoyed hiking the Weiler Ranch Road and I am looking forward to coming back next year in early spring when the wildflowers are in full bloom.

Trail rating – Easy, (Make sure your wheelchair can handle rough terrain.)
Trail surface and width – Dirt & gravel, 12 feet wide.
Trail length – 1 mile
Trail uses – Hikers, bicyclists, and equestrians.
Trail elevation change – Less than 6%
Water available on the trail – No

To see more of the Weiler Ranch Road, please watch my video.




Friday, January 5, 2018

New Parks and Trails to review - 2018

This year I'm planning on doing reviews and videos of the following parks and trails. 


Have a great 2018!


Monday, April 17, 2017

Martial Cottle Park

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The planners of this beautiful park made sure that it was accessible to everyone.  It has picnic areas (some require reservations), a playground, a large grassy area, and a paved trail that loops around the park.  The paved trail is multi-use – hikers, bicycles, runners, strollers, wheelchairs, and dog-friendly (doggy bags are provided). The visitor center showcases the history of Marital Cottle Family Ranch.  One of the interesting things to see is the farmland that the trail encompasses. Organic farmers grow produce which will be for sale to the public.

There isn’t much shade on the trail, so during hot days, it’s best to come in the morning or late afternoon.  With two accessible parking areas, both with accessible restrooms, you can relax and enjoy a meal at wheelchair-friendly picnic tables.  Being a wheelchair user, I found the park to be very accessible. 

Trail rating – Easy
Trail Surface – Two-lane, paved
Trail length - 2.4 miles (Loop around the park, starting from the parking lot)
Trail type – Loop
Trail uses – Hiking, jogging, strollers, bicycles, dogs, and wheelchairs
Cumulative elevation change – Less than 5%
Cellular Service Signal Strength – Strong
Water available on the trail - Yes


To see more of Martial Cottle Park please watch my video:



Monday, October 31, 2016

Mori Point, Pacifica - Old Mori Trail & Lishumsha Trail

 Trail rating: Old Mori Trail - Easy
                    Lishumsha Trail - Intermediate

Trail grade: Old Mori Trail - less than 3%
                    Lishumsha Trail - 9.5%

Trail length: Old Mori Trail -  0.5 miles
                    Lishumsha Trail - 0.28 miles

Trail width: Old Mori Trail - 10 feet
                   Lishumsha Trail - 3 to 5 feet

Trail surface: Old Mori Trail - Compacted dirt, wood boardwalk
                      Lishumsha Trail - Compacted dirt, some small rocks

Trail uses: Hiking, bicycles, and wheelchairs
Accessible restroom and parking: Yes
Cellular Service Signal Strength: Good
Pets allowed: Yes, on leash
Location: Off of Bradford Way, Pacifica
               (Across from the Loyal Order of Moose Lodge - big red building)

The Old Mori Trail is one of those surprising gems that I was fortunate to learn about and visit. Golden Gate National Recreation Area did a wonderful job adding two accessible parking spots, an accessible restroom, and grading the 0.5-mile trail for an easy wheelchair hike. As you cross the boardwalk there are ponds on each side for the California Red-Legged Frog (listed as a threatened species in 1996), and restored habitat for the endangered San Francisco Garter Snake. The trail soon brings you to a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean, Mori Point, and the black sands of Sharp Park Beach.

The Lishumsha Trail isn't listed as a wheelchair-accessible trail due to the 9.5% grade, so it could be very challenging for some wheelchair users. I would recommend you have a rugged wheelchair and be experienced in hiking steep dirt trails. The dirt trail surface is well-conditioned and it did a good job of keeping my power chair wheels from sliding down the steep slope. The entrance to the trail is on the left side of the Old Mori Trail, before the boardwalk. Even though it's only a short 0.28-mile trail, the scenic vista views make it well worth the climb and effort.

For those feeling ambitious, after your hike, you can take the trail that parallels the beach and it will take you past Pacifica Beach Park, which has picnic tables, and to the Pacifica Pier.

Since wheelchair hiking both trails little more than a month ago, I've visited Mori Point two more times, that's how much I have enjoyed going there. This being a coastal area, make sure to check the weather ahead of time. Also, make sure to bring water with you.


To see more of Mori Point please watch my video