Bay Trail Walk at Old Air Base

We visited the old Hamilton Air Base in Novato last week (June 2016), this time after appreciating the updated observation post, we headed north.


As part of the wetland restoration, the dike was breached in April 2014. Now water is everywhere. We saw a few birds. June and late morning is probably not the best bird viewing time, but I’m sure they’ll be frequent visits to the vast rich area.

We walked a mile north, with other walkers, dog walkers and bicyclists enjoying the morning. There are a few benches, but we didn’t need them this time. This could be a fine place to sit and birdwatch.

Hamilton bird watch

This is not my usual tree lined favored path, but when it’s not hot, I love the subtle colors of this kind of landscape.

Hamilton wetland colors

We walked to the bend in the trail – one could continue to Bel Marin Keys or to the Bay Trail proper.

Hamilton wetland

Bay Trail Map. A mere 500 mile trip around the San Francisco Bay.

Hamilton trial map north

Walking the Old Air Base – posted April 2014

Back for another piece of the Bay Trail, we started in Novato at Reservoir Hill Vista Trail. It’s on Hamilton Parkway and next door to reborn buildings of the old Hamilton Air Force Base.
Reservoir Hill Trailhead

I thought we could do this hill. Some of the locals were taking the shortcut (seen in the two ruts), we took the switchbacks. Reservoir Hill has some beautiful oaks and on the bay side some coyote bushes.Continue reading “Bay Trail Walk at Old Air Base”

Walking Above Glass Beach

On our way back from Oregon last week, we stopped in Ft Bragg for another visit. We walked from Pudding Creek and went as far as we could – about 4 miles round trip. The south and north trails are not yet connected.

At Glass Beach we saw many abalone divers – looking like Ninja Turtles with their floating devices.

Glass Beach

New plantings as part of the ongoing restoration of the area announced themselves like a Christo installation.

plantings at old lumber mill

These tree plantings didn’t look too healthy – protected from deer but in need of more water.

Cole and tree plantings

Elsewhere on the trail the flowers were blooming strongly.

Poppies Ft Bragg

The following from our visit in January.

Walking Noyo Headlands

On last week’s trip up the coast, we raced off to Ft Bragg before the rain was due. A missed turn brought us to Pomo Bluffs at Todd’s Point. It’s on the south side of the Noyo River. (For Overboard fans, think “Arturo!” “Katarina!”) For hardy walkers take a half mile back to the highway, then along Hwy 1 to get to the entrance for Noyo Headlands. We were trying to beat the rain, so we drove around.

Pomo Bluffs

Off of Hwy 1, we turned at Cypress and headed to the ocean. The trail goes back along the river to a historic cemetery.  We headed out the river to the ocean. This section of the trail just opened and is less than a mile.

Nono Headlands l

A coast guard boat weaved in the river and then went out to the ocean. I was fascinated by the waves, but didn’t take time for videos this time.
Ft Bragg Coast l

More Ft Bragg Coast l

Guidelines kept us back from the fragile cliff edge. In one spot was a clear sinkhole. A sign describes how the land goes from a blowhole to a punchbowl – this one is called Skip’s Punchbowl, after a geologist, Skip Wollenberg.

Sink Hole at Noyo Headlands

Most of the trail is paved, some shortcuts or out and backs are hard packed gravel – very even. Only less than a mile this trail will soon connect to a trail that goes to MacKerricker State Park. This marker – and thank you, Coastal Conservancy – indicates 187 mile to Oregon and 673 to Mexico.

Coastal Trail at Ft Bragg

Each bench and picnic table were different. Looked like various groups or individuals had donated their expertise to construction. Here are a couple of my favorites.

Picnic Table Noyo HeadlandWhale bone bench

The rain was starting to come down harder. We came back later for these pictures. While the restoration of this Georgia Pacific lumber mill land has taken out lots of cement and buildings, this airstrip still exists. It was used from 1949 until the mill closed in 2002.Nono airstrip

Next to the airstrip is a good sized dog park. Actually two, one for smaller dogs. On this day only one dog was enjoying the open space. Dogs on leash (connected to a person) are allowed on the trail.

Noyo Headland dog park

We took a peek through the rain at Glass Beach trail and the bridge across Pudding Creek.

Bridge over Pudding Creek

The next morning, we came back. I studied the map and read the story of the trees and Pomo legacy.

Glass Beach trailhead m

Near the ocean, the route is split between easy and difficult trails to Glass Beach. This site was Ft. Bragg’s garbage dump until 1959. Many years of the ocean’s work turned the glass and ceramics to a colorful beach. A lot of the smoothed glass has been removed by visitors, but if we leave the glass there – we can all enjoy a colorful beach.

Easy Difficult l

This is the easy route.
Easy way to Glass Beach l

This is not the easy way on many steps down.

Stairs to Glass Beach mGlass Beach m

The trail wanders along the coast, all paved and even. Sometime it will connect to the trail where we were the day before near the Noyo River.

Waves Rocks by Glass Beach mThe trail is about 3/4 mile long. In a few spots are offshoots from the trail with great looks to sea.
Compass Rose l

The coast is dynamic and the mountains to the north beautiful.

Coast north m

This day, we were able to cross Pudding Creek.

Bridge at Pudding Creek m

The trail north goes to MacKerricher Beach. Cleone Lake is about 2.5 miles.

Pudding Creek l

We were excited to come back again. In sun or rain, the new trails provide a great and easy way to explore the Mendocino Coast.

See you on the trail!

Words and (phone) pictures by Lynn Millar, better pictures by Mike Millar, available upon request.

Had to add again, this picture of storm at sea near the town of Mendocino. We have come here many times over 30 years, often in January – because of this very sight. Our January 2010 Mendocino Trip.

M Mendo storm

Looking for Little Free Libraries

We were in Rogue River, Oregon (a small town between Medford and Grants Pass) on Memorial Day weekend. This little Free Library and home were well decorated.

Do you have a little free library near you?

Rogue River free library l

The following was originally,  posted in November 2015

In my travels and in walking around town, I have found many little libraries. Leave a book, take a book. Mightily designed and oozing with charm – how can you resist.

A fellow writer -Jack Fender- recently built and put this little red library up in Rohnert Park – the first one there and very official looking. Pamela Fender sent me the picture. Jack is the librarian and he’s put a light inside for nighttime visitors – or for the afternoon with the end of Daylights Savings Time.


In my walks in the McDonald neighborhood, I found this one at the south end

McD Spring St 6-15 a

And this one at the north end. Multi-story with heat?

McD Spencer near Pacific 6-15 a

In a secluded neighborhood above Bodega Harbor is this library with a reading room

Bodega Harbor hilltop library 10-14

A reading room, also came with this basic one in Port Costa. A magazine rack is on the side.

Port Costa reading room w garden 5-15

They come highly decorated as this little library in Pacific Grove with beach colors and sea shells

PG Prettiest Library

or with humorous intent as this one I found in Santa Barbara. (The house behind it is even more colorful.)

Santa Barbara 2-15

Or placed next to an excellent restaurant (Haute Enchilada) in Morro Bay. Perfect for the solo diner.

7-15 Morro Bay Haute Enchilada

Do you have a Little Library near you?

To make it all official, there’s a registry at Little Free LibrariesYou can get a sign, supplies and building instructions etc.

For cases of the evil criminality of a little library – see Wrong Side of the Law. If they are on private property in Sonoma County, the powers in the county don’t care.

Port Costa mag rack 5-15

Walking Mt. Pisgah Arboretum, Oregon

While there is a Mt. Pisgah near Eugene Oregon, with plenty of trails – we insisted on walking the arboretum at the base of the 1,531′ Mt Pisgah. (Visit Lane County Park site for information on hill trails.)

Mt. Pisgah flowers

We studied the flower pictures and then went to look for them in the 209 acre arboretum. The trails are mostly flat and wide with some bridges and steps.

Mt Pisgah trail

Trails are marked with type of area like ‘meadow.’

Meadow with barn Mt. Pisgah

We opted for ‘wetland’ after skirting the Coast Fork of the Willamette River. (Riverbank Trail. Map.)

Backwater of river

Part of the wetland has a lily pond. Part of area has a willow walls and cover for bird watching. We had the arboretum almost to ourselves on a Tuesday morning. Except for the birdwatchers.

willow walk Mt PIsgah

Mt Pisgah wetland

We crossed a bridge, before searching for the incense cedars.

Mt Pisgah bridge

We ended our walk at a building ready for arriving school children – and available for rental for weddings or other events.

Mt Pisgah building

Oh about the flowers. We saw: yarrow, cow parsnip, manroot, false solomon seal, salal, columbine, flax, brodiaea, ocean spray, – er and a bunch of trees. (Plant list.) Everywhere in this part of Oregon the dogwoods were in full bloom – as if the trees were frosted.

m Mt Pisgah dogwood

Mount Pisgah Arboretum 34901 Frank Parrish Road, Eugene OR Part of the Howard Buford Recreation Area. Hours are dawn to dusk. Not additional cost for arboretum, but parking cost for county park is $4/vehicle. Dogs on leash.

See you on the trail!

Words by Lynn Millar, pictures by Lynn and Mike Millar

m Lilac Mt Pisgah


Walking University of Oregon Campus – Eugene

We recently visited Eugene, Oregon again. The campus of the University is beautiful for its landscapes and buildings. While I was trying to take a picture of something, I turned around to find this amazing humungous flowering bush.


This post from our visit to University of Oregon in Eugene was posted in August 2014.

Visiting Eugene, Oregon before gave us a taste for the place, but this time we explored a little deeper.

The best place to start is the campus of the University of Oregon. It is 295 acres with 3000 trees – and many lawns, flowers and bushes. Founded in 1876 there are buildings of history – and it’s success means plenty of new construction.

Take a tour (2 hours) or wander aimlessly. Perfect for us, as it is fairly flat.

UO campusBuildings come big (often with an O)

UO building
Or with odd details

UO buildingOr in hidden courtyards

UO Waterfall sculptureOr you could just study the flower beds.

flower beds UO

On campus is the Schnitzer Art Museum and the Museum of Natural and Cultural History. This history museum looks innocent on the outside but is large and packed with a range of information from native life to evolution to volcanoes.

Natural & Cultural History UO

The courtyard outside sports excellently labeled plants (you know, you can see and read them) – and a respite for young students enjoying a day camp at the museum. That day’s project was fossils.

Natural & Cultural History UO

You might know the University of Oregon for its sports and its design features. Each year the football team seems to have new garish/exciting uniform colors and designs. Perhaps it started with the success of Steve Prefontaine, a UO athlete and an Olympic runner who held 7 records in 2,000 to 10,000 meter events until 1975. At UO, he was coached by Bill Bowerman – founder of Nike. Hence your connection from UO to design.

UO Track Field

I had been noticing all the different kinds of Nikes people were wearing (also lots of sandals and Adidas) – red, plaid, blue purple, black with red sole, grey, black with neon green and then we saw a huge picnic and lines of young people converging on the food. All different Nikes…my mind was boggled.

Nike on UO campus

And the O abounds in bike racks

O bike rack

Or across the Willamette River and Alton Baker Park on Autzen Stadium (football)

Big O on Autzen Stadium

More on the river trails and parks next time…

Oops a few more buildings. The Knight Center (Matthew not Phil of Nike fame) for basketball and concerts.

Knight Center UO

And my favorite with an infinity pool all around. Gorgeous night or day.

Jacqua Academic

Jacqua Center UO


Jacqua corner moat

Besides the buildings and graphic panache, University of Oregon is environmentally conscious. I couldn’t pass up this collection of receptacles: trash, 4 kinds of recycle and a compost deposit.

compost UOSee you next time on the river paths.

Words by Lynn Millar, pictures by Lynn & Mike Millar – available upon request.

snowberry UO


Walking Moore Creek

We went to Lake Hennessy near St Helena (Napa Valley) several years ago. Time for a visit again.

We drove by the lake and went up Moore Creek – where I had found a park with trails. Our first task was crossing a creek – should be dry by summer. I noticed that the trail upstream indicated crossing water five times. This was our only time. For additional information click Moore Creek Park.

l creek

The park has 673 acres and 15 miles of trail. Occasionally flat, but we had to do some hill work in the 1.5+ mile on the Chiles Creek Trail. We never made it to the lake. Didn’t really matter. The first part of the trail climbs through the oaks. A fire had been through this area – but it’s recovering.

2 l path

One of the treats of this walk was finding the wildflowers. Chinese house and

Chinese house m

the unexpected Fairy Lantern.

Fairy lantern m

Looking up a hill, strengthened the look a lupines.

lupine hill m

But it wouldn’t be the first time.

lupine meadow m

8 l field

We caught a view of the mountains around us. Still with the lupines.

path mountains m

Through the meadows and the next woods, the trail is wide.

9 l road

We went down to a wetland area along the creek. We could rarely see Moore Creek here or from uphill.

wetland along Moore Creek m

The flowers were different. Mike caught this fiddleneck in full curl.

fiddle neck m

And Douglas iris.

douglas iris m

We climbed the trail some more and could see the creek was wider. I walked around a few more curves – still not at the lake. I heard some squawking and spotted five heron nests. We turned back with another half mile or more to go to the lake. Next time, we’ll carry lunch and take a good break to hike the five miles needed.

Trail Map. From the entrance to the parking lot we took trail marked by “horse trough.”

East of St Helena and Rutherford off Hwy 128. Go north on Chiles Pope Valley Rd. Turn off at Moore Creek Park. Map.

See you on the Trail! Get out there now, while the wildflowers bloom.

Words by Lynn Millar, pictures by Mike and Lynn Millar

more fairy lanterns m

Walking to Kehoe Beach, Pt Reyes

A couple of words come to mind about walking to Kehoe Beach in Pt Reyes. One is yellow.

Mustard at Kehoe Beach trail l

One is geology.

Sandstone cliff l

While mustard dominates the flowers on the trail to Kehoe Beach, there are plenty of other flowers around. And the mix of flowers will change as the season changes.

From Pierce Ranch Rd, (north of Abbott’s Lagoon) the trail runs along a creek on its way to the ocean. Near the trailhead were twinberry, dogwood, salmonberry and native blackberries. Since it was wet, coastal iris were lurking.

Kehoe m IMG_2530

On the trail suncups, blue-eyed grass, pimpernel and poppies showed off.

poppies Kehoe m IMG_2535

As well as, wild radish making a show in the mustard.

 mustard radish Kehoe m IMG_2529

It’s only about .6 mile to the beach and relatively flat, though we had to take the high ground around this wet spot on the trail. (Without recent rain, this will probably dry. Or wear rubber boots.)

Kehoe Beach Trail m

Closer to the beach the yellow changes from mustard to darker yellow poppies, uphill.

Poppies over mustard l

Still behind the cliffs and dunes near the ocean, we had a view of the ocean as the creek opened wider.

Creek at Kehoe - sorrel

Of course, at the beach the plants change more. Somehow we didn’t get pictures of them other than the grass. Add purple verbena. Add something similar with bright yellow clusters. Add yellow lupine.

Now a short aside. From March 1 to September 30, this is a nesting area for snowy plover. Leashed dogs are allowed on the trail and restricted on the beach to the north. Still a good idea to stay away from the dunes and move down to the harder sand. Well it’s easier to walk on wet sand. Just watch the waves. Check you tide tables to arrive at low tide.

beach Kehoe m IMG_2564

This is where the geology kicks in. Cliffs of sandstone rise above the beach. Laird Sandstone. It shows in layers and smoothed rock (as in the second picture above.)

Laird sandstone Kehoe m IMG_2557

In places, it’s carved like high caves.

more sandstone Kehoe m IMG_2563

In less than a half mile walk north, the sandstone lies on (or is mixed up with) a granitic rock. Granitic? Like granite? Yes.

Sandstone and Granitic l

The rock was formed in the southern Sierra Nevada 85 million years ago. It arrived here along the San Andreas Fault, moving north (350 miles) with the Pacific plate. There’s your short version. I bet there’s a class on this. I’ll just gaped at it in wonder.

What a wonderful walk. So often we’ve gone elsewhere at Pt Reyes, particularly Abbott’s Lagoon, but I’ll think we’ll pay it a visit again.

Click link to all of Pt Reyes beaches information. Other basics – pit toilet. Bring water.

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

See you on the trail!


Got yellow?

Kehoe Trail l

Spring at Healdsburg Ridge

Spring 2017 Update: Dogs on leash now allowed on trails. Beware ticks and poison oak.

Not too late for spring flowers this year. (See June 2013 post below. Other posts: Dream  April 2013, Heights April 2010.

The meadow up on Serpentine Trail is so amazing, I just have to try my best to climb the hill to see all the wildflowers. Through the woods uphill were soap plants, vetch, buttercups and rattlesnake grass.

Healdsburg Ridge trail

We didn’t climb this hill near Fox Pond, but the volume of purple vetch was incredible.

Vetch m

Now to the meadow flowers, I’ll let them speak for themselves. Goldfields, larkspur, hairy cat’s ear, blue dicks, filagree, sanicle, owls clover, rose clover, cowbag, checker mallow, lupines, and cream cups to name a few.

m IMG_2490 larkspur m IMG_2492 suncups m IMG_2494 blue dicks m IMG_2501 meadow m IMG_2495

cram cups l PHOTO_20160408_105723 clover etc l PHOTO_20160408_111238 cowboys l PHOTO_20160408_111612 meadow l PHOTO_20160408_112945

Don’t forget that climbing a hill will also reward you with views. This one is of the Russian River and the mountains to the east.

Russian River m IMG_2486

Don’t forget to check the nearby neighborhood – here with a lilac bush with butterfly.

lilac m IMG_2522

Hurry before spring is over.

See you on the trail!

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

Too Late for Spring – post from late May 2013

By the name of it, you know that Healdsburg Ridge is not a flat place. But the appeal can be strong for vista, the wildflowers and the scenes of walking and fishing. (In the shadows, some little boys are fishing in Fox Pond.)

Walking Fishing Healdsburg Ridge

Because it was May, I knew most wildflowers were probably gone. In the shade all the way to the ridge, many ithurial’s spears peeked out.

Ithurial's Spear Healdsburg

New trail work, maps and signage don’t quite match up at Healdsburg Ridge, but you can’t get too lost. You just might have to go up and down and up again.

The meadow along Serpentine Trail is where the best show of flowers lives.

Healdsburg Ridge Meadow

In May, the wildflowers have very specific spots where they can survive. Yarrow are happy in one spot and Mariposa Lilies in another.

Ithurial's Spear Healdsburg

Healdsburg Ridge White Mariposa Lily

Then there’s the view and the subtle colors of the grasses.

Healdsburg Ridge Vista

In some places the color comes from bark, new leaves or berries.

If you don’t want to climb at all, just stop at Fox Pond and watch the pond lilies.

Healdsburg Ridge Fox Pond

I realize this isn’t exactly a trail guide, but we have visited before – once when the trails went straight up the Heights of Healdsburg and once more recently on much improved trails Dreams do come True.

Click for a link to the Open Space District page on Healdsburg Ridge.

Directions: North of Healdsburg. Turn off of Healdsburg Ave onto Parkland Farms Boulevard. In ¾ mile turn right on Bridal Path. There are some marked parking spaces. The trailhead is at the east end of Arabian Way.

Dogs: The paths are open to dogs on leash. Warning to you and your dog – poison oak is everywhere.

Wheelchair – steep and not always accessible. Access to paved road is not so friendly.

See you on the trail!

Words by Lynn Millar

Photos by Mike Millar

Walking the Jepson Prairie

So many wildflowers (and pictures) at Jepson Prairie and Healdsburg Ridge lately, I’ve been slow to choose some pictures and share. Just go there, now!

The Jepson Prairie is over 1500 acres in the Sacramento Valley with vernal pools and extravagant spring flowers. This is almost how California’s Central Valley used to be. It’s a windy spot, past that tower are hundreds of wind turbines.

Jepson Prairie tower

Solano Land Trust is holding docent led tours of the Jepson Prairie, every Saturday and Sunday, 10 am, until Mother’s Day. It takes over 1.5 hours from here to get there, but it is well worth the effort. East on Hwy 12 past Suisun City, (or from Hwy 80 at Dixon) and then off Hwy 113 (Directions.)

The advantages to having a docent is to learn more about the area. (We tried to go a few years ago, but there was no rain, no lake and no wildflowers.) Our docent, had done some dipping in Olcott Lake so we could see fairy and tadpole shrimp.

docent - m

The other reasons are that it helps with bird and flower identifications. Also with a group, maybe someone discovers something you would miss. While goldfields and filaree dominate the meadow —

Jeepson prairie group

Filaree and sanicle

there are plenty of other treats, such as fiddleneck

fiddleneck -m

Butter and eggs

butter and eggs - m

Violets (the yellow kind)

Violets l

Meadowfoam (and it looked just like that sounds)

meadow foam m

And this gorgeous sanicle

Sanicle - m

We also saw  brass buttons and lupines and all the ones I’m forgetting or didn’t get id.

Everyone was taking pictures.

photog - m

An avocet had a noisy conversation with a couple of stilts along the shore of Lake Olcott. Most birds kept their distance from us. And frankly I wasn’t paying a lot of attention. But if we had dawdled more over lunch, we might have noticed them more. Picnic tables and portapottie on site.

It was good to look around once in a while to appreciate the open space and for a view of Mt. Diablo.

Mt Diablo -m

If you can’t make it this year, then put it on your calendar for next April. One docent suggested visiting at least once every three weeks as the mix of plants would change and some will show up and some will be done blooming. Plan this trip, it’s an easy walk for a couple of hours – or you can shorten it.

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

See you on the trail!


Jepson Prairie with Mike






Tall Ships in Bodega Bay

The tall ships are back. They should arrive in Bodega Bay late on April 13th. Events are planned for the weekend. For more information, click Press Democrat.

These pictures Mike took are from 2013.

Tall Ships in Bodega Harbor
Tall Ships in Bodega Harbor
Tall Ship Lady Washington
Tall Ship Lady Washington
Tall Ship Hawaiian Chieftain
Tall Ship Hawaiian Chieftain

1818 Westshore Rd. Bodega Bay. From Highway 1 north of Bodega Bay, head to the ocean on Westshore.

Need a walk? You can take a short walk around Spud Pt. Or head out to Bodega Head. For a summary of some our walks and links to the details, click Bodega.

See you on the trail!

Lynn Millar

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