Bodega Head-Whales, Rocks & Flowers

Want to get to a parking lot where you can watch migrating whales? Or see the surf pound against crevassed rock? Or walk a trail with scenic ocean and coastal views? With wildflowers at your feet?

Follow the signs to Westside Park and Bodega Head off of Hwy 1, north of the town of Bodega Bay. Take the road right around the harbor and when you’re near the opening between harbor to bay, go up the hill to the right all the way to the end. On a sunny day, like last Saturday, the place shines with color and excitement.

Continue reading “Bodega Head-Whales, Rocks & Flowers”

The Hills are Alive in Petaluma

We headed south, avoiding Hwy 101, admiring the green hills of Petaluma. It was doing its best to look like Ireland. Pastures and hills dominated our vision.

Petaluma Farm View

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Doran Beach and a Whole Lot of Water

The last two times we’ve been to Doran Beach on Bodega Bay, it’s been high tide with huge waves. While not great for beach walking, it’s great for water and people watching. Surfers have been out in force.Doran Beach High Tide

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Trying to Walk Along a Wet and Wild Coast

It was a dark and stormy day. With jazz variations on gray. Yellow wowing us with blooming mustard in green pastures and vineyards. Acacias and broom glow yellow from Anchor Bay north on the Sonoma and Mendocino coast. Whites in Calla lilies and delicate ruffled daffodils. Ocean like green jade when not roaring in white surf or disappearing in the rain.

That was only the first day.

Salt Point Coast

Highway 1 on the coast of Sonoma and Mendocino counties is a slow winding affair, around mountains that slide to the ocean, down gullies populated with dense vegetations from ferns to redwoods, then climbs against rock faces and occasionally opens to vast pasture land and meadows racing straight ahead until the next set of curves.

Around Fort Ross, the Bishop Pines start dominating the landscape in what seem like gentle slopes to the east, but are really a series of uplifted plateaus. If you were a hiker, you could go up to the pigmy forest of these pines.

We chose to stop at Salt Point State Park. The Fisk Mill entrance is closed but Gerstle Cove is open on the weekends. It’s our favorite anyway.Continue reading “Trying to Walk Along a Wet and Wild Coast”

Winter Walk by Santa Rosa Creek at Willowside

Meanwhile back to walking…

On last Sunday’s walk I was greeted with much singing. By birds. Robins to be exact. They sat at the top of bare branched trees and occasionally flew off in groups and landed not far away. What the attraction was, I have not been able to determine. They didn’t seem to be feeding or doing that spring preparation thing birds do. Maybe they just love to sing.

Santa Rosa Creek at Willowside

I chose this as my first blog walk because I go there often and because it offers many landscapes of Sonoma County. It has a rich riparian environment, vineyards, horse pastures and agricultural fields. It looks like a walk on a country lane next to a creek with mountains in the distance. It’s wild and yet close to town.

Let’s start at the beginning. Park on Willowside Road just north of the Waldorf School near the bridge at Santa Rosa Creek. This is between Hall and Guerneville Roads west of Santa Rosa. Try not to ditch the car, or cause your passenger to nose dive down the bank upon exiting the car. Also, try not to park in the roadway either, for Willowside is almost the highway Guerneville Road can be.

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Introduction to Walking

I love to walk but I’m not a fanatic about it. I want to enjoy nature and not check that my heart rate was elevated 84.7% for exactly 10 minutes and 27 seconds.

I have had plantar fasciitis in both feet and arthritis in both knees. Taking care of those problems as much as I can, I am able to walk a couple of miles without too steep an uphill grade (my lungs can’t handle the climb) and not too steep a downhill (my knees crumble with the effort and get sore.)

There are many places to walk in Sonoma County and after taking notes over the past year, I decided to share some of those places with you. Coastwalk, LandPaths, Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods and the City of Santa Rosa Creek Stewards give you many opportunities for places to walk in nature.Continue reading “Introduction to Walking”

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