The Elaborate Set-up

Crow Canyon Road (Alameda and Contra Costa counties, California)

Most communities have their “back roads”, lesser known two-lane roads that gradually become “discovered” as an easy (and often scenic) alternate route that gets us off the busy, congested big-city freeways and highways. In the SF Bay Area, one such backroad is Crow Canyon Road. It winds between the Hayward-Castro Valley area to San Ramon, in the next county. It’s popular with sports cars, motorcycles and CostCo customers on weekends. During commute hours, it absorbs heavy spillover from the highway network. At night, it’s dark and the curves are treacherous. When wet or foggy, it’s downright dangerous.

But it’s a lovely weekend drive, through ranchlands and green hills and wooded knolls. I used to like to take “mountain roads” at high speed, but today was exceptionally beautiful out there, and I found myself content to poke along behind the other CostCo faithful making our weekend purchasing pilgrimages.

Crow Canyon Road has become an ecological interface between the busy, hustling urban thoroughfares and dense residential areas, and the sparsely populated grazing lands in the rolling hills to the east.

“Crow Canyon” was probably named after the Crow, so populous in this region, or possibly in honor of the roadkill on the road that bears its name. Occasionally one will see a deer that didn’t make it, but mostly it is opossums and skunks. Today it was one opossum and six skunks.

It’s not like we could put up warning signs, “Caution: Skunk Crossing”. Your typical “I brake for skunks” bumper sticker wouldn’t do much good. It seems these ill-scented varmints meet their untimely demise at almost any location along the route, in widely scattered locations.

And our point is: has it really come to this, that families of decent, caring, car-fearing skunks can no longer cross the road in safety?

Yes, it has. And I think it stinks.

652 total views, 1 views today