Walking Sonoma Mountain…almost

I wasn’t thinking I could walk the entire trail. Mike considered walking over to Jack London. As the day went we walked 1.735 mile out and then returned.

More importantly, I fell in love with Sonoma County all over again. What a beautiful spot.

View 4 mBut, I’m ahead of myself.

The trail starts at the edge of a redwood grove, as I rounded an oak.

rounding first oakThen into the grove. There’s a trail off to the right that promises a climb and view for our next walk. If we can’t do that, this is a fine place for a picnic.

Picnic cover lAcross a stream the trail starts to climb through a mixed forest. All of the trail in the first mile or so was in great shape and gently sloped – so I could actually go up the hill.

Creek lSM trailThen the trail opens on to a meadow.

hiking trail mAnd the view improves with each rise.

View 1View 3 mIn one area new trees have been planted carefully protected from gophers and deer with a rain trap. But I think, there’s not enough rain!

gopher deer guardIn the meadow and up the hill in the woods are monitors to keep track of the wildlife around.

wildlife camera mThe flowers vary depending on where the conditions are best. There was plenty of itherial spears throughout the meadow. Sometime mixed with flax, sheep’s sorrel, winecups, yarrow, mariposa lilies, blue dicks and various dandelions, clovers and lupines.

f spears sorrelHere’s my attempt at a collage of some of the beauties we saw.

flower collage 2In some spots there were wet areas – traces of ponds, greener with taller plants.meadow pond mCloser to the woods we noticed blue dicks and blue-eyed grass in the mix of flowers.f blue eyed grass lWe were so delighted with the place we hiked on – see it’s still not too steep.trail lWe relished another view.

View 5 mThen the trail starts a number of zig-zags up the hill. Each seemed a little steeper. The flowers are different, like this lonely Indian pink. One steep bank sported milkwort. Ferns and mosses were happy here.

f indian pink mElves may live here.

mossy elf houseA few signs pointed the way – but we could have used the distances conquered or the miles to go. This is another part of the Bay Ridge Trail.

sign post lAfter all the zigs and zags the trail took off in another direction. That was enough for today. Not that we were disappointed. This place is gorgeous.

trail back lJust before the creek where we started our walk, I startled a quail and her babies. I could just see them in their camo as they ruffled the leaves and ground cover. We looked for them again on the way back. They were more motion than birds. It was good she was in the lead to help us focus.

quail in camoI counted 13 in this picture where they crossed the open area. Maybe she was trying to run away from them, not leading them from danger?

quail in open 13Spectacular place. I highly recommend it – even to you flat walkers. See how far you can go, take it slow. Bring water.

If you are a hiker, organize your companions and vehicles and go over to Jack London State Historic Park. Or over and back. 8.6 mi one way to the Eliot Family Loop Trail, additional 2.1 to Jack London.

To access as we did go to 5297 Sonoma Mountain Road and follow the signs. North Sonoma Mountain Regional Park. It just opened in February.

There is a bathroom at the trailhead. No benches. Picnic tables only in the area by the stream.

No dogs on this trail. Otherwise we never would have seen the quail.

See you on the trail! – Lynn

Words by Lynn Millar, pictures by Lynn and Mike Millar available upon request.

f mariposa lily m

 

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