A Press Democrat Blog


A blog about Bay Area hiking…. mostly

Hike off that Thanksgiving turkey on Calistoga’s Oat Hill Mine Trail

Looking for a good day hike after Thanksgiving 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 »

It’s all Paws at Foothill

Throughout the 211 acres of former ranchland, 6.8 miles of trails are available to hike or run in the morning. The terrain offers more leisurely hiking opportunities around Three Lakes trail as well as more challenging climbs up Alta Vista Trail. As with most Sonoma County Regional Parks, dogs are allowed on the trails on leash only.… Read More »

Guided nature walks at Bouverie Preserve

See information below on a hiking/educational opportunity in Glen Ellen this fall. I did one of these a year ago and it was terrific. A real treasure that most people never get to see.   AUDUBON CANYON RANCH ANNOUNCES SCHEDULE FOR 2013 FALL GUIDED NATURE WALKS AT BOUVERIE PRESERVE Glen Ellen, CA – Audubon Canyon Ranch (ACR), a leader in conservation science, habitat protection and restoration, and nature education, announced today the schedule for upcoming Fall Guided Nature Walks at… Read More »

E-pay stations now at county parks

From the Sonoma County Regional Parks: New electronic pay stations that accept Visa, MasterCard and Discover Card have been installed at Crane Creek, Helen Putnam, Maxwell Farms, Sonoma Valley, Riverfront and Sunset Beach regional parks. Electronic pay stations also are coming online this month at Spring Lake, Ragle Ranch, Steelhead, Healdsburg Veterans Memorial Beach, Gualala Point, and Westside regional parks. The units are replacing older self-pay stations that require visitors to place cash in envelopes and drop them into collection boxes. By providing more convenient payment options, the… Read More »

BLM’s annual eagle viewing hikes in Lake County

Reprinting this story from today’s Press Democrat on an interesting series of hikes in Lake County. See below:   By MARY CALLAHAN  |  THE PRESS DEMOCRAT  |  January 18 The Bureau of Land Management launches its annual series of guided hikes to view bald eagles along Cache Creek in Lake County on Saturday, though the forecast suggests rain could cancel the first outing. There are five additional hikes on the calendar, scheduled at 10 a.m. each Saturday from now through… Read More »