I started off on Brooklyn and Lakeshore Ave. This already had a much more urban feel to it. I walked along the lake for just a bit and couldn't figure out North from South but then saw a massive stairway across the street. I crossed Lakeshore just by the Cleveland Cascade. This was an extraordinary stairway, not like the Berkeley hidden steps. There were a lot of people coming out of the gym, running up and down these 127 public steps, not a shabby Oakland stairs site. One man had headphones on and was talking to himself coming down the stairs while throwing boxing punches in midair, it looked like he was sparring and training for a match up. The stairway split into two-much like Chestnut in San Francisco- one on the right side and one on the right side. In the middle were well maintained plants. On the top was a nice view of Lake Merritt.
Once reaching the top of the stairway, I climbed left for about 1/10 of a mile uphill and found my next stairway after building 563. This stairway was uneven and very steep and included 79 steps. It was a nice stairway, in between those apartments. I noticed a nice patio on the side of it and took a pic.
After reaching Beacon St, I headed forward until I reached Lakeshore again. This time I headed for the wide gateway with the wide columns. Rap music was playing very loud in the background. While this was very much an urban city environment, Lake Merritt looked almost like Heaven! I continued on it's trail and their were a lot of people walking, jogging, skating, talking on their cell phones. I must have saw a hundred birds as well.
I reached what is called the ''Lakeside Nature Center'' and took a video of about a thousand different migratory birds. It was amazing, this one bird was looking right at me, I took a photo because I wasn't sure if it was alive or a statue. Pigeons and geese were literally everywhere. As I walked around the center, I noticed a cage that took care of the sick birds. I thought that was interesting.
After leaving the birds, I continued along the lake, appreciated all the real tall buildings including the Kaiser Center and all the waterfront hotels. I passed by a rowing club, where people were renting boats to navigate along the lake.
As I reached the end of the lake trail, I had the option of walking on the other side, but instead took a right handed detour into a different pathway and saw the most quirkiest thing yet. As I've said, I usually do see strange things on these stairway walks. ''Fairyland'' looked like it literally came out of my dreams and this theme park is said to be America's first theme park and a model for Walt Disney as he was planning his own So Cal park. From the outside I could hear the witch from ''Snow White'' talking. I saw adults with kids lining up at the entrance to take their kids on this very cool detour. I think you have to have a kid to go in.
All in all, Lake Merritt was a pleasant surprise. A great change of pace. I thought nothing could be equal to the calm Berkeley steps and while this Oakland excursion wasn't very far, it provided a pleasant change of pace and something different. A popular public stairway, a beautiful healthy lake, and the birds and Disney land Like Theme Park was a pleasant surprise. It had a combination of urbanity, hipness, tranquility, wild life, and entertainment for the youth. I would love to see the Oakland Athletics play here, since I read this was one of the suggested sites.