A Press Democrat Blog


A blog about Bay Area hiking…. mostly

Ride of the week: Joe Rodota Trail

Fifteen years ago, I was a bicycle commuter in Seattle. My old pink Bianchi was decked out with black fenders and I wore rain gear to protect myself from the elements. Come rain or come shine, I rode to work, 11 miles uphill, along a popular urban bike path, the Burke-Gillman Trail. This week I thought of Seattle fondly as I took a wet spin on the Joe Rodota Trail. Approximately 6 miles of paved trail run from Railroad square… Read More »

Santa Rosa’s Lake Ilsanjo

Dozens of hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders and a few anglers took to the trails on the day after Christmas, all on their way to Lake Ilsanjo in the heart of Annadel State Park in Santa Rosa. It was warm and sunny, a perfect day to navigate the meandering routes that all seem to lead to what may be the park’s most popular feature. From Channel Drive, which serves as the park’s entryway, Lake Ilsanjo is accessible via two trails,… Read More »

Gualala Point Regional Park to Sea Ranch

  When The Sea Ranch was first developed along the Sonoma Coast in the 1970s, view spots along its 10-mile coastline were reserved for residents of the exclusive community. All that changed in 1981 when the California Coastal Conservancy granted a 15-foot-wide pedestrian easement along the headlands. Today, that bluff-top easement is part of a 7.5-mile coastal trail that stretches south from Gualala Point Regional Park, with five shorter trails that lead down to the ocean from Highway 1. The… Read More »

Foothill Regional Park, a year-round favorite

    Foothill Regional Park is a year-round staple for hiking in my family. Of the 211 acres of former ranchland, 6.8 miles of trails are available to hike, run or bike. This time of year, a few golden and russet leaves cling to trees, and moss and lichen dapple the leafless branches. Deer and ducks are abundant in the park, taking advantage of the 3 ponds and sparse patches of remaining greenery. For a leisurely hike try Three Lakes… Read More »

Hike off those holiday feasts on Calistoga’s Oat Hill Mine Trail

Looking for a good day hike after Christmas to work off  those extra calories? Waddle on over to Napa County for a picturesque intermediate level adventure on the Oat Hill Mine Trail. The 8 to 10 mile trip will take your whole day, so get there early to make sure you have enough time. And yes, it is dog friendly so pack up the whole family  and the pooch and hit the the trail. The Oat Hill Mike Trail is actually… Read More »

A Harvest Widow’s lament, finding the value of repetition

This fall, I have learned the value of consistency. As all harvest widows can relate, it is hard to carve out time for physical fitness, when you are juggling the responsibilities of home and work without your partner.  My overly ambitious goal of hiking every trail on the Sonoma County Regional Parks Trails Challenge roster, may not be met this year, as I have not had the time to travel to some of the parks in the farther reaches of… Read More »

A Flashpacker’s Guide to Isla Bastimentos

Sailing around the isles of Bocas del Toro, Panama; hiding from a light drizzle, Green Flash tours owner, Bryan Blaze described my travel companions and I as “flashpackers.” Backpackers, who are a little bit older, with more cash to burn on their short holidays. The term, although new to me, has been kicking around for some years now. Some extend the description to “geeky hipsters’” with backpacks filled with iPads, laptops, GPS, and more. All of which could be used… Read More »

Trails for Taylor Campaign and Challenge Hike #4

  In honor of the Sonoma County Regional Parks, “Trails for Taylor Campaign”, Trailhead decided to hit Taylor Mountain this week. The 1,100-acre park includes 5 miles of trails with some of the most strenuous hikes featured in this year’s Trails Challenge . Currently, the park/ open space preserve, has 5 miles of trails available for hiking, including a a climb to the summit of Taylor Mountain. The fundraising drive hopes to expand this to 15 miles. Contributions can be… Read More »

Trail Challenge Hike #2: Ragle Ranch Regional Park

  Sunday morning, after a quick stop at the Sebastopol Farmer’s Market, Sylvester and I headed out to Ragle Ranch Regional Park for a  trail run. The Regional Parks Challenge guidebook recommends a perimeter hike on the 1.50 mile, Blackberry trail.  Visiting on the weekend, the picnic tables were packed, but the trails were not too busy. Sylvester and I covered the entire trail, in about a half hour of running and stopping occasionally for a sniff and photo. The… Read More »

Sonoma County Parks Trails Challenge- Part Deux

Another year, another Trails Challenge! This Saturday, June 6, Sonoma County Regional Parks kicks off it’s second annual Trails Challenge on National Trails Day.  Have you been busy with graduation, work, and catching up on all your television show finales? It’s time to get up, get outside, and  start hiking! The challenge- hike five or more parks featured in the free  Trails Challenge guidebook by November 30. The reward- The gift of health and wellness AND for those that fill out… Read More »

Healdburg Ridge Open Space Preserve

      Heading up to Healdsburg for wine tasting this weekend? Stop by the Healdsburg Ridge Open Space Preserve. A lot of work has been done in recent years, on a network of trails that lace through the landscape. Since it’s opening in November of 2008, Land Paths has done remarkable work on manicuring approximately 3 miles of trails in the 152-acre preserve. Sylvester and I had a chance to visit this week, taking in remarkable views of Fitch… Read More »