Sunday, February 16, 2020

Sea to Sky Trail, Sonoma County

Apparently I can't get enough of trails climbing from the ocean through scattered woodlands, so I visited Sea to Sky. Originally the pictures online made this trail look scenic but kind of boring - just a slog up a hill in open coastal scrub. That is not the case. The first two miles (on the Raptor Ridge side) are like that, but the view of the Russian River mouth (and the Pomo Canyon Trail area on the other side) keeps growing. Then you get to the top of the ridge and start descending through redwoods with lots of sorrel, a good sign of a healthy redwood forest. At the bottom you're at 4.3 miles, a little over halfway - it's 7.6 miles each way, making a 15.2 mile day. Then begins a 3.2 mike 1,816' slog up to the top of Pole Mountain which afforded views of Santa Rosa and Mt. St. Helena, Point Reyes, Mt. Tam in the distance, and of course the Pacific. Besides gophers, vultures, and crows, I surprisingly saw no wildlife, although as in most of Sonoma you're far enough north for bears on the coast. There were some flowers out but it is FAR too early - I can't blame them for being confused because Sonoma County has ominously had ZERO rain in February, and one or two 80 degree days.

Thanks to the Wildlands Conservancy for preserving this forever!

Above and below: area around the mouth of the Russian River, currently open to the ocean. There were two seals hanging out right there. I don't like when it's open because that means in theory great whites could get in to the estuary area and they do attack kayaks - and I'm planning a Guerneville-to-river-mouth trip. Maybe I'll wait until summer when the river drops enough.

Wilder Ranch, Santa Cruz County

I've lived in the Bay Area 16 years, and not only have I STILL not been to all the parks, I haven't even HEARD of all of them - not even all the awesome ones, like Wilder Ranch. I took advantage of the unseasonably clear February weather (complete with summer-like night time fog worthy of the Lost Boys.)

And one building (where All Shook Up Vintage Clothing is located) has of all things, a hex sign. Nowhere is safe from Dutchmen!