Rusty Bug at Riverfront Regional Park, Windsor.

Rusty Bug at Riverfront Regional Park, Windsor.

Climbing up that hill.

Trailhead, climbing up that hill.

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 the county. Nor have I had the desire to leave my hiking buddy, Sylvester the Beagle, behind to visit the parks where he is not permitted.

I have however, been trail running- everyday in the parks closest to the 101 corridor. A couple of miles every morning, has kept me sane, and my dog happy, as he spends more time alone than he is used to. Visiting the same parks, over and over, new elements have become aparent A trail at Riverfront Regional Park reopened for a short period of time, takes one further into the Redwood grove next to the main lake loop. Along this spur, there is a beautiful rusted out Volkswagon bug. How did it get there? How long has it been there? I would contemplate these mysteries daily, dreaming up different scenarios on my morning jog.

Helen Putnam Park in Petaluma, a long time favorite of mine, can actually be steamy hot in the summer! I have frequented this park many times, relishing the relief of a cool breeze whipping through the grass as I

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climbed through the rolling hills. This summer, I visited during a heat wave, to find that it is actually a VERY exposed park, with little tree coverage. The day I visited, the cool breeze was replaced by a warm gust, making it feel much like a convection oven. It made me long for a cool hike somewhere like Stillwater Cove or Pinnacle Gulch. I will hit them all eventually, but maybe not for a few more months.

Then there are the physical benefits of settling into a daily routine, my body is stronger, my mind is clearer, when I get back in the habit. It makes it easier to take on the harvest widow’s responsibilities of keeping the ship afloat until our partners return from the fray.

Take a few deep breaths. Riverfront Regional Park, Windsor.

Take a few deep breaths. Riverfront Regional Park, Windsor.

Sylvester's favorite spot at Riverfront regional. He is hunting either fish or sticks in this picture.

Sylvester’s favorite spot at Riverfront Regional. He is hunting either fish or sticks here.

Beautiful view at Helen Putnam Regional Park, Petaluma.

Beautiful view at Helen Putnam Regional Park, Petaluma.

You can almost feel the heat radiating out of this picture of Helen Putnam Regional Park in Petaluma.

You can almost feel the heat radiating out of this picture. Helen Putnam Regional Park.

Don't worry we didn't stay long. It is obvious that even in the shade, Helen Putnam can actually be a hot park in the summer.

Don’t worry we didn’t stay long. It is obvious that even in the shade, Helen Putnam can actually be a hot park in the summer.