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A Press Democrat Blog

Trailhead

A blog about Bay Area hiking…. mostly

Be a volunteer hawkwatcher in the Marin Headlands

More opportunities to get out. This one involves a bit of looking up. ______________________ The Golden Gate Raptor Observatory (GGRO) is currently seeking volunteers to help in its efforts to count, monitor, and track the Golden Gate migration, the largest flight of raptors in the Western U.S. A program of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, in partnership with the National Park Service, volunteers will complete a comprehensive GGRO training program offered only once a year in July, and early… Read More »

Earth Day to Memorial Day spring parks events in Sonoma County

Passing on information on several events planned by Sonoma County Regional Parks over the next five weeks. See their official release below.     Regional Parks presents Parks Celebration 2014, dozens of free adventures in Sonoma County’s parks and open spaces from Earth Day, April 22, through Memorial Day, May 26. Parks Celebration is an annual series of events highlighting the many ways to enjoy public lands. During Parks Celebration, you can experience favorite parks in new ways or explore parks… Read More »

The great climb and views in Lucas Valley

The single best moment of last weekend’s hike came as I hit the Big Ridge at the top of the trail. I had finished a series of long, pensive switchbacks when I emerged into a clearing and could see the entire world. Well, at least the San Francisco skyline, several bridges, Mounts Diablo, St. Helena and Tam, and, much closer, the lush expansiveness of Lucas Valley. I don’t have enough jaw-dropping moments in my life, but this was one of… Read More »

A thoughtful hike to honor Jonathan Glass

This is a small community, and among those who are outdoors-oriented, whether in advocacy, government, conservation or just recreation (like me!), paths often cross. The handful of organizations that lead many hikes around here and work tirelessly for open space protection and preservation and access include LandPaths, the excellent Santa Rosa-based group that tragically lost its field director one year ago. Jonathan Glass’ death at age 36 shocked many, and there have been numerous tributes and memorials to his work… Read More »

Finding quiet and noise at Tubbs Island

Sometimes, the solitude of a place can be unexpected. On my first visit to the Lower Tubbs Island Trail, I was curious about how a wildlife refuge can exist there. For one, the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge is bordered by two major roadways, a large water body and an active auto racing facility. But heading out on the trail, I found complete silence at first. This trail, nearly 8 miles, is a peaceful oasis. No wonder the bird-watching… Read More »

Which national parks get the most visitors each year?

So the Golden Gate National Recreation Area was the most-visited part of the National Park Service last year. It attracted more than 14 million people. No idea how that number came about as whenever I hike there, I never check in, but maybe cars are counted and other measurements are taken. In any case, when I see a news report with a claim like that, I sometimes put on my old reporter’s hat (yes, I was a reporter long ago….)… Read More »

Another local (wildflowers) hike

See below from the good folks who run the Bouverie Preserve in Glen Ellen: ________________ Audubon Canyon Ranch (ACR), a leader in conservation science, habitat protection and restoration, and nature education, announced its Backyard Naturalist Program on Wildflowers will take place on Saturday, March 29, 2014, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Bouverie Preserve Biologist Jeanne Wirka will lead this class that explores the amazing world of angiosperms (flowering plants) at the preserve. Throughout the 535-acre preserve there are approximately… Read More »

Wildflowers at Pepperwood Preserve

More spring wildflower hiking news…. Information on the annual Wildflower Festival at the Pepperwood Preserve. Official details from the organizers: “Celebrate the beauty of Sonoma County’s native wildflowers and the majesty of the Mayacamas Mountains at Pepperwood’s 6th annual Wildflower Festival on Sunday, April 13, 2014 from 9am – 4pm. The festival is free and families are welcome. This year’s Wildflower Festival will include an array of activities for the whole family including self-guided hikes, interpretive hikes led by naturalists… Read More »

Hiking, meditation and Jack London

The headline kind of says it all. On my better outings, ‘meditative hiking’ is a redundant term for me, but not often enough. Check out this interesting opportunity at Jack London State Park this Sunday to take a real walk in the woods. It’s at the Glen Ellen park at 10am, Sunday, led by hiking guide Jeff Falconer. $10 fee in addition to parking fee (or parking pass) Click here for all the information.

Spring wildflower hikes around Sonoma County

  From the Sonoma County Regional Parks, it’s time for one of their spring traditions – wildflower hikes. I’ve been on a few of these over the years, and they are terrific. The details: Discover the spring beauty of your Regional Parks by joining our wildflower walks on Saturdays from March 22-May 3. These walks are free and led by volunteer Phil Dean, a Master Gardner who will identify native plants, discuss the drought’s impact on this year’s flower displays,… Read More »

Fog on and off at Tomales Point in Point Reyes

[imagebrowser id=85] Why is hiking through fog so captivating? For me, I wonder what’s ahead, even if it’s a trail I’ve been on many times. I also know that as my elevation and terrain changes, I may literally rise into and out of the mist. The coolness and moisture in the air are invigorating too. I haven’t hiked yet in England or Ireland but I do plan to someday, and I picture those places as being fog-shrouded moors and hillsides.… Read More »

Wintertime at Lake Sonoma

[imagebrowser id=84] The last time I tried to go out to Lake Sonoma, the place was hostage to the federal government shutdown and it was locked up. Not that the trails weren’t generally accessible but the whole place had the feel of an abandoned ghost town. The shutdown effects still linger as hundreds of campsites as well as many trailheads and parking lots remain closed, and the visitor center is only open Thursdays through Sundays for limited hours, aided by… Read More »