This week we did part of a seriously flat trail. We picked it up in Sebastopol on a cool sunny morning.
Joe Rodota Trail connects to the West County Trail. These trails go from Forestville to Santa Rosa and are mostly wide and paved.
We went more than a mile out (and back) from downtown Sebastopol. Willows, cottonwoods, Oregon ash, blackberries and a few roses lushly surround the first stretch of path. We also spotted some poison oak trees. Not a form we’re used to. Wooden bridges span the more creek-like areas of the Santa Rosa Laguna.
The vista opens up to meadows dotted with oaks and views of the mountains to the east. It also opens up to the traffic noise of Hwy 12. It wasn’t as bad as we thought it might be, but is one of the issues that make the rest of the trek to Santa Rosa less than idyllic.
The flat walk was welcome and made me feel invincible. I enjoyed what few flowers, Mule’s Ears, wild radish and roses were blooming. And listened to the bird songs or in the case of wild turkeys their gobble. Over the larger creek, swallows swooped to gather insects.
We sat on a bench over looking meadows and mountains to the south before returning to downtown.
Directions and parking: Several access points. We parked in free public lot between north and south bound directions of Hwy 116.
Nearby: This parking lot has access to West County Museum, a small but intriguing museum in an old railroad depot. Much of the West County Trail is old railroad bed.
Warning: Because it is paved and flat the Joe Rodoto Trail is popular with bicyclists, so watch out. Horse can use this trail too. With riders.
Bathrooms, food and drink are available at many fine restaurants and bars in downtown Sebastopol. Our choice: We went to French Garden on Bodega Hwy west of Sebastopol. Charming place and excellent food.
Other stop: Gold Ridge Farm was having an open house. Plants were for sale, buildings were open and tours were given. Our guide took us around part of the remaining farm where Luther Burbank experimented from 1885 to 1926. Sometimes he created great things like the Santa Rosa plum and the Shasta Daisy. Sometimes he introduced mistletoe to the area.
We’ve been here before, but this time we got to see the inside of the cottage where he stayed when he didn’t want to make the long carriage ride back to Santa Rosa.