The Sierra Club “Solo Sierrans” are a group of singles over sixty who have begun facilitating regular Emeryville Marina group walks. Trail leader Vera Lis regularly leads a small group along our picturesque Emeryville Marina as part of their rotation of hikes. The group meets at the picnic tables behind Chevys for what is typically an hour’s walk of quiet enjoyment of our city’s shoreline.
Hikes tend to happen in the late afternoon or early evening depending on the season. The next Emeryville sunset walk is scheduled for Saturday, October 15th at 4:30 p.m. Lis’s planned hikes generally go no longer than three miles.
The walk features wildlife that typically includes cranes, pelicans and other more exotic shorebirds. It features panoramic views showcasing the Port of Oakland cranes, the sparkling new Bay Bridge, San Francisco’s iconic skyline, the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and Angel Island. All administered with no cell phones or Pokemon games. Just beauty, tranquility and companions with whom to discuss and enjoy it.
The path is flat, paved and accessible to all. Solos traversed the rustic boardwalk behind Watergate with its tree-shaded path, lookout platform and a pond frequented by Canadian geese. The boardwalk ends behind Trader Vic’s Restaurant and the walk continues along the shoreline path of Powell Street, past the Emery Cove Yacht Harbor. The walk corners past Hong Kong East Ocean restaurant and on to the end of Powell with its rose garden. The hike proceeds to the end of the public marina’s fishing pier.
Trail Leader Vera Lis and Big John
Now an octogenarian, Lis was a single mother attending Cal State Hayward (now CS “East Bay”) when she began with the Solos. Lis was recently bestowed the local Michener Award which is given annually and recognizes outstanding outing leadership amongst Sierra Club members. Lis notes her love of the Emeryville’s shoreline trail not just for the SF Bay panoramic views, but the accessibility for Seniors and others. Lis also leads other less urban hikes more removed from residential areas.
Fellow hiker “Big John” is a notable exception to the mostly female group. A retired history teacher from Orinda, John led a group on his own up Mt. Whitney 45 years ago. He became a leader of Sierra Singles which was intended for those 18 to 35. Over time, it’s become the group for just about anybody up to about 60. John notes the Solos also coordinate with other singles groups for seniors, namely one called the Shipmates. Shipmates include members that range into their nineties.
Some members forgo the actual hiking and assist in planning, supervising and organizing. Some prefer simply to meet up afterward for dinner, companionship and sociability. John notes that many romantic relationships for seniors do emerge from Solo gatherings, including some marriages.
Other Hikes the Sierrans tackle
Regularly scheduled hikes on the Sierra Club’s Activities and Events Calendar include many for singles such as a Bayshore Walk at Point Isabel in El Cerrito, San Leandro’s Lake Chabot Reservoir, Sibley Volcanic Preserve and the Lafayette Reservoir. Many activities such as these hikes require no membership or fee. Hikes happen rain or shine and carpooling is encouraged. All activities are non-smoking. Membership in Solo Sierrans includes their regular newsletter and hike schedules and costs $20 for the email version; or $25 for the printed and mailed version. New members get a one-time introductory rate of $12/$17.
Sierra Club San Francisco Bay Chapter
2530 San Pablo Ave # I, Berkeley, CA 94702
Phone: (510) 848-0800
Solo Sierrans membership coordinator: Dolores Gruenewald
Phone: (510) 351-6247
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Wonderful photos to enhance the narrative, thanks from the Solos, Vera Lis
Hello, I am interested in the Marina walk in October for over 60 group. Do we just show up?
Hi Yolanda, I had called Vera Lis the leader before the hike just to confirm since it was my first one. Contact info is at the end of the article. It’s a small and friendly group, informal, so I imagine you would be welcome if you just showed up. No need to be a Sierra Club or Solo Sierran member to join these walks.