A Press Democrat Blog


A blog about Bay Area hiking…. mostly

No more Trailhead

After six years of blog posts and more than 100 hikes around the North Bay, the Trailhead blog is over. I’m moving out of the area so my hiking will now happen somewhere else, but it was fun to so actively explore the hills, mountains, trails, streams and open spaces of the entire Bay Area. And it was fun to share some of my experiences through words and images to with you. Your comments over the year were often interesting… Read More »

Looping around Turtle Rock

One of the cooler rock formations I’ve encountered came on a recent trip to Laramie, Wyoming, and the surrounding countryside. Tucked into the 2.2-million acre Medicine Bow National Forest is the Turtle Rock Trail. The 3-plus mile loop completely encircles a cluster of large granite rock shapes. According to geology websites, the rocks are from the 1.4-billion-year-old (yes, billion) Sherman Granite that is underneath Wyoming. Seismic activity much more recently (100 million years ago?) formed the modern mountain ranges that now fill… Read More »

Help build the East Slope Ridge Trail on Sonoma Mountain

From the Sonoma Trails Council:   We have begun construction of the new East Slope Ridge Trail on Sonoma Mountain and there are volunteer trail work opportunities coming up on Saturday, October 11  and Monday, October 13. On both days we  will meet to carpool to the work location at 9am at the Valley of the Moon Riding Club, 1005 Verano Avenue in El Verano (just west of Arnold Drive) and will work ’til about 2pm. Bring a daypack with lunch and water, gloves, a hat, and wear long… Read More »

A foggy coolness at Bodega Head, of course

While the temperature was into the 90s in inland Sonoma County, it was 61 degrees at Bodega Head on Sunday. And the place was packed with others also escaping the heat. We hiked the usual loops to the north and south of the parking lot and were far from alone at any point. Fog was thick, but the views were still epic as always. Barking sea lions swimming and sunning provided some entertainment too. I’ve been out to the cliffside… Read More »

Hiking from beach to beach along the Sonoma Coast

  I can’t say that I know how Blind Beach got its name (although I suspect it’s not that big or interesting of a mystery), but Goat Rock Beach is clear enough as the massive stone expanse that is Goat Rock is directly in view of the beach. It had been a while since I had been out on the Sonoma Coast Trail for a decent hike, so a very hot day inland proved to be a smart choice to… Read More »

The best hike in Sonoma County is…..

We asked our readers to name their favorite hiking spot in Sonoma County. Well, we asked readers to pick their favorites in a total of 84 different categories as part of our annual Best of Sonoma County Reader’s Choice Contest. The contest voting just ended, and the votes are now being tabulated. To no surprise, the best hiking spot was overwhelmingly Annadel State Park.  (The rest of the Best of Sonoma County winners will be announced on July 25 at… Read More »

The Sonoma County parks’ Trails Challenge 2014

Hike at five different county parks over the next six months and you’ll be a winner. Well, at least a winner in the first-ever “Trails Challenge” sponsored by Sonoma County Regional Parks. Here’s the information: ____________ The Trails Challenge is an invitation to explore the Regional Parks by hiking five or more trails featured in the Trails Challenge guidebook anytime between June and November. If you complete all five hikes and turn in a trails log, you can receive a… Read More »

On Walden Pond

When Henry David Thoreau wandered into the woods on July 4, 1845, to start his live-in-nature experiment, the setting was a fairly young forest around a pond that had been formed more than 10,000 years earlier by glaciers in the eastern Massachusetts countryside. It is considered a great example of a kettle hole, the name for the sediment left behind by retreating glaciers. Today, Walden Pond is much different but retains enough remnants of that remote isolation. On a recent… Read More »

Hiking on The Big Island (yes, Hawai’i)

My calendar of hikes for the past month has gone something like this: Annadel. Shiloh. Annadel. Hawai’i. Annadel. Annadel. Not the most varied of treks, but that one in the middle was a nice detour from the usual trails. During a recent trip to the biggest of the Hawaiian Islands, known of course as the Big Island, I had the chance to do a mild amount of hiking, in between all the other fun pursuits to be explored on that… Read More »

Fog and wildflowers and Pomo Canyon

It gets overlooked by Point Reyes, but a terrific coastal-view hike right here in our backyard is the trek up and down into Pomo Canyon. Having not been out there in a while, I took advantage of a brilliantly sunny and warm day to head to the beach. Park at the large (and free) parking lot at Shell Beach where there are facilities, ocean views and maps. And then walk across Highway 1 and head upward. It’s a steep climb… Read More »

Whether or not to hike alone

Reading how a 13-year-old shouted away a nearby mountain lion at a regional park in Glen Ellen this week reminded me yet again why hiking alone is not always the smartest choice. Another reminder came a couple of weeks ago when I was about to pull into a trailhead in northern California at Whiskeytown Lake and saw a few bear cubs scurry across the road directly to where I was about to hike. If I had been with a big group,… Read More »

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 »