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A Press Democrat Blog

Trailhead

A blog about Bay Area hiking…. mostly

Brunch and benefit hike at Sugarloaf

Haven’t been to Sugarloaf Ridge State Park in a while? One of the area’s best hiking groups – Bill & Dave Hikes – is leading a benefit hike and brunch to the top of Bald Mountain. It will be this Saturday morning, Jan. 26, and your reward for making it to the top of the mountain will be a picnic brunch from of Vineyards Inn in Kenwood. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday and a worthy cause. For… Read More »

Volunteer at Olompali SP

If you’ve never been to Olompali State Park, that small but interesting park just south of Petaluma, there’s no time like the present. An opportunity to pass along: “The California State Parks Foundation is seeking volunteers at Olompali State Historic Park (view a map). This work day will focus on the beautification of the park entrance. Projects include: refreshing the park entry sign, clearing weeds, and repairing split rail fencing. Teens 16 and up are welcome if accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. The… Read More »

Mount Livermore and circling Angel Island

The forecast for San Francisco on Saturday initially called for clouds, possible showers and wind. Not exactly an optimal day for views of the City by the Bay. Good thing the forecast was entirely wrong. Angel Island might have been THE place to be for such views. Entirely clear skies, light breeze and fall-like temperatures all added up to a terrific backdrop for a hike. There aren’t a lot of different options for where to go on the island but… Read More »

Trail to trail at Sugarloaf Ridge

It’s nice to see the gates open again at Sugarloaf State Ridge State Park. They weren’t closed long, but like other state parks, they battled the perception for the past year that they have either been closed, partially closed or just abandoned. Not quite the case, but in any event, I headed there for a hike last weekend on what turned out to be a very hot, dry day. It’s not surprising to see why wildfires are proving so problematic… Read More »

Checking in at Annadel

Whenever I need a quick local hike, there’s always Annadel. And such was the case Saturday morning, where we did a pleasant, scenic 7-mile hike in a few hours. It was not the toughest hike, given the unseasonably cool weather, but the views, as always were stupendous. I haven’t followed closely the timing of the switchover of Annadel operation from state control to county management, since I’m a state parks passholder so I figure my access won’t be curtailed, but… Read More »

Samuel P. Taylor and his park

I’m surprised that it took me this long to check out Samuel P. Taylor State Park. On trips to Point Reyes and elsewhere in Marin County, I would often pass signs for it and wonder if it’s worth a hike.   It is. On a recent day that was not too hot but not too cold, I headed up to Barnabe Peak for a six-plus-mile hike that was a true joy. The park is a small one, and for awhile,… Read More »

Artists for Annadel event

There are lots of fundraisers happening this winter and spring, all in support of area parks, but this one may be the most picturesque: A Santa Rosa gallery this Saturday night will be the spot for a art show to benefit the effort to keep Annadel State Park open. The juried exhibition will be at Gallery 300 on South A Street this month. There’s an opening reception from 6-9 p.m. on March 3 and then the show runs through March… Read More »

Rare chance to get inside Sugarloaf

If you’ve tried to get into Sugarloaf Ridge State Park recently, you’ve noticed the difficulty. In addition to the park gates being closed, there are no-parking signs posted in places outside the park where people would often park. And even where there aren’t signs posted, tickets are still being given out. Which does make me wonder if resources are so strapped that a ranger can’t be at the park, why the big effort to ticket cars that bother to park… Read More »

Start 2012 with a hike. Please.

For many people, New Year’s Day is time to start on a resolution, or embrace some superstition or tradition. Black-eyed peas, anyone? For me, it’s a chance to take a hike. After whatever occurred, or didn’t occur, the big night before, a brisk walk on the first day of the year feels right. And unlike most of the country, it usually can be done in fairly moderate weather rather than in frigid conditions. The last few years, I’ve sprinkled my… Read More »

John Wayne, Chinese shrimpers and a great view

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100

More than a century ago, a tiny alcove on San Pablo Bay near San Rafael was a bustling shrimping village. Hundreds of people from the Guangdong province of China had settled in the area, and were busy catching and selling shrimp. Of course, that didn’t last for long, but amazingly, a lot of the remnants of the actual village are still around. They form the historical showpiece of China Camp State Park, an interesting – and endangered – state park… Read More »

Mono Lake safe, Sugarloaf Ridge not

I’ve never been to Mono Lake, located just east of Yosemite, but I’ve heard the 1-million-year-old watering hole is gorgeous. It’s also having an early Christmas as it just got removed from the state parks’ closure list. How did they do it? More than 4,000 signatures to the governor’s office helped, but more important was the role of a local nonprofit foundation that stepped into the void and will handle collections of parking fees and help keep an eye on… Read More »

GUEST COLUMN: Saving Jack London State Park

By Lynn Millar I am a walker, a blogger about walking and a writer. The pending closure of Jack London State Historic Park next summer hits me particularly hard. Last year, the park celebrated its 50th anniversary. A library room opened in the museum at the House of Happy Walls. Several years earlier volunteers restored Jack London’s cottage on Beauty Ranch. He spent the last years of his life here, writing, entertaining friends and running a ‘scientific’ ranch. Jack London… Read More »