A Press Democrat Blog


A blog about Bay Area hiking…. mostly

Table Rock and other sky-high sights

[imagebrowser id=75] Trails do change. It’s sometimes hard to notice, what with the effort often required just to get through a hike or the dizzying spectacle of surrounding nature. But the path itself can evolve too. I thought of that on a long hike up into the Palisades north of Calistoga last weekend. It’s a hike I’ve done several times, in different directions, in different seasons, in different moods, but the trail is shrinking. Well, just part of it is.… Read More »

My tale of two hikes

The conventional wisdom for many Bay Area hikers is that when the summer heat arrives, although it’s never that bad, the answer is to head for the coast and cooler spots. The downside is that you’re not alone, or even close, as lots of people have the same idea and once-isolated trails quickly clog up. But sometimes that wisdom is upside-down, hence in recent weeks my cool hike was pretty heated, and my too-hot hike was nice and brisk. In… Read More »

Rock patterns and mazes in Calistoga

About once a year, I hike the Palisades trail. It’s the collection of post-volcanic rock formations adjacent to Mount St. Helena and overlooking Calistoga. It’s not a summertime hike to be sure as much of it is exposed and high up, meaning you will absolutely bake in a Napa summer. But in the winter, it’s as pleasant as it is strenuous, which is saying something. I headed there recently and did my favorite route, which is to park at the… Read More »

Not your typical honeymoon

Not feeling well, out of money, and seeing his career prospects fading quickly, the newcomer to California needed a break. So he headed to Calistoga thinking the mountain air would rejuvenate him. Plus, it was his honeymoon so what better place to spend it than a Napa Valley excursion. Local history buffs know the story of Robert Louis Stevenson, who turned his bucolic Napa visit into a two-month stay, literally squatting in a cabin on the side of Mount Saint… Read More »

Freestyling in the snow

¬† Mt. St. Helena, Robert Louis Stevenson State Park, Calistoga Crummy weather was in the forecast — rain, but not snow. Only a handful of people showed up, but since I hadn’t been hiking in CA in a few weeks with all my travel, I was determined to get out. Pretty easy at the beginning and then we hit a fire road that led to the top of the mountain. Was very windy and cold at the top. Spectacular views… Read More »