Backpacking the Marin Headlands

Recently, I realized just how long it had been since I had been out backpacking. I was craving the feel of a trail underneath my feet and the weight of a full backpack on my back. I longed to sleep underneath the stars, listening to the sounds of the wind and animals dancing across the landscape. With exactly 1.5 free days, the husband and I packed our bags, threw together a couple of quick meals, and headed south to the Marin Headlands. Although the weather forecast called for rain and temps in the 20s, I was beyond stoked to be heading out. And anyway, as the old saying goes, there’s no such thing as bad weather; only bad gear.

The Headlands are a hilly peninsula, immediately north of the Golden Gate Bridge, in Marin County. Once home to several military sites, the now National Recreation Area is one of my favorite local areas to explore. The Headlands are famous for its many miles of trails, enjoyed by runners, hikers, and cyclists, as well as the amazing views of San Francisco, the many beaches within the area, and awesome raptor birding.

Camping at the Marin Headlands is free. There are 3 campgrounds within the Recreation Area, though each has just a few sites. Reservations are suggested, as the campgrounds are popular and fill quickly. On the weekend that I was there, all 4 sites where I camped were reserved.

Our destination for the night was Hawk Camp, the most remote of the 3 Headlands campgrounds. The network of trails within the Recreation Area allows for hikes of varying difficulty. Though it’s possible to hike just under 4 miles to reach Hawk Camp (which makes it a great trip for beginner backpackers), I wanted to create a longer route as a training hike for the JMT. I plotted a route of about 10 miles linking the Coastal, Coyote Ridge, Miwok, Marincello, and Bobcat Trails.

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Up, up, up through coastal scrub.

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Cruising along the Coastal Trail with the Pacific in the background.

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Miles of hills.

A few miles into our hike, the fog suddenly blew in. It started out thin and wispy but soon it was a thick wall of white. Visibility was greatly reduced, and we found ourselves on top of a ridge, unable to see much of anything. It was almost like being in white-out conditions. We continued walking along the trail but soon realized that, in the foggy conditions, we had missed the junction that we were looking for- we had passed the turn that would have added about 3 miles to our hike and instead continued on the Tennessee Valley Trail. Though I was a bit bummed about the inadvertent shortening of our hike, I was glad we didn’t get too off track in the fog!

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As we approached our camp for the night, we were getting rained on, intermittently, and decided that it would be best to set-up our camp for the night and then take advantage of the amount of daylight we had left, to explore the area around the campground.

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Approaching camp. The Golden Gate Bridge is barely visible through the fog, in between the two hills.

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Speaking of camp, I realized that I didn’t snap any pictures of the campsite (something I almost always forget to do). The campsites at Hawk Camp are pretty luxurious. Each site includes a picnic table, large bear box, and tent pad. The campground also has a relatively clean port-o-potty, though it is a bit away from camp, down a short, steep hill. Though not bad during the day, navigating down the hill at night can be a bit tricky. The only drawback to the campground is that there is no potable water available. You must carry in all of the water you will need. In the few times I’ve camped here, this has never been a problem.

After setting up camp, we hiked for a couple of miles, exploring the hills and valleys surrounding Hawk Camp. On our way back to camp we caught sight of a bobcat – too speedy for us to snap a picture. We got back to our site as the sun was setting and enjoyed dinner as night was beginning to fall. Having forgotten to pack a deck of cards, we entertained ourselves after dinner with whiskey spiked hot cider, conversation, and views of a twinkling San Francisco & Peninsula.

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Though the temperatures dropped into the mid-20s, we stayed warm in our tent. The night was quiet, until about 1 a.m. when we were awoken out of a dead sleep by loud noises. It sounded like something BIG was barreling through the brush on the surrounding hillside! I’m not going to lie, I was pretty freaked out! Soon we started to see lights bobbing through the brush next to our camp and we finally peaked out of the tent – – it was bikepackers! A group of three had ridden out to Hawk Camp and were setting up camp. Relieved that it wasn’t a monster of some kind, but too awake from the experience to go back to bed, I wandered down the hill to the bathroom. Chilled by the cold morning, I quickly retreated back to the warmth of my sleeping bag and slept in fits until daybreak.

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Morning view from the tent – the fog was back and clinging to and creeping around the hills.

In the morning, we packed up camp and headed out, thoughts of a delicious diner breakfast rocketing us down the trail. The morning was cold and foggy but only briefly – after a half hour of walking, the sun was beating down on us, forcing us to shed all of our layers.

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All too quickly, were were back at the trailhead. Though I wish we had been able to spend more time out there, I am glad that this amazing place is just a short hour drive away from my home. It makes for a really accessible place to getaway to when time is limited.

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2014 Coffeeneuring Challenge Wrap-Up

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Seven weeks, cycling to seven different coffee spots…

When I first set out to take on the Coffeeneuring Challenge, I didn’t really know what to expect. Would it be difficult? Fun? A chore? I’m happy to report, that though I wasn’t always able to bike under the best circumstances, every ride was enjoyable and something I looked forward to completing every week.

The majority of the places I visited were both interesting and delicious, though there was one spot did leave something to be desired (I’m looking at you Starbucks). All in all, this was a wonderful series of little bike adventures. Though I bike often, almost every day in fact, I’m often in a hurry (commuting to work) or on a long training ride, and this leaves little time to enjoy things like stopping for coffee. Coffeeneuring allowed me to take slower, more relaxed rides than I normally would, and I can say that my life is all the more better for it!

What I rode

More often than not, I rode my Trek 7.2 hybrid bike on the Coffeeneuring rides. This is my everyday, commuting bike, and it’s set up with a rack and a set of panniers which makes transporting things very easy. I prefer not to bike while wearing a backpack, so I tend to ride my Trek whenever I have to carry anything.

There were a few rides, though, where I left the Trek in the garage and instead rode my Fuji Sportiff. This is a new bike for me, having acquired it just a few months ago. I’m still getting the hang of riding a road bike (so different than my Trek!), but it’s super zippy and fun to cruise on.

Where I rode

Coffeeneuring #1: Atlas Coffee Co.
Date: 10/5/14
Distance: 11.2 miles

Coffeeneuring #2: Tin Roof Bakery
Date: 10/11/14
Distance: 4.9 miles

Coffeeneuring #3: Spring Lake Regional Park
Date: 10/18/14
Distance: 25 miles

Coffeeneuring #4: Holy Roast Cafe
Date: 10/24/14
Distance: 5.2 miles

Coffeeneuring #5: Empire Coffee
Date: 11/1/14
Distance: 2.2 miles

Coffeeneuring #6: Peet’s Coffee
Date: 11/9/14
Distance: 8 miles

Coffeeneuring #7: Starbucks Coffee
Date: 11/16/14
Distance: 2 miles

What was my favorite ride? Definitely the Coffeeshop without Walls at Spring Lake Regional Park. You really can’t beat making coffee while sitting on the edge of a lake!

Sucking at Weekly Recaps and Upcoming Adventure

Last week, when I posted my microadventure write-up, I realized it had been FOREVER since I did a weekly recap of my workouts. Geez.

Last week’s workouts weren’t much to write about. I bike commuted to and from work 4 days. On Wednesday, the husband and I headed up to Healdsburg on our bikes to have dinner. We ended up riding about 22 miles round-trip. I also managed to run a couple of days in preparation for running the Independence Day 5k . I’m hoping I can beat my time from last month’s Sacramento Women’s Fitness Festival 5k. This is a fun event that I’ve done in the past. The course is flat and winds through Chico’s Bidwell Park. This is the 2nd run in the 4-part race series that is put on by the Chico Running Club. I’m planning to run all 4 races and get a sweet CRC jacket in the process.

So, yeah. That’s a pretty sucky weekly recap. I promise, I’m going to get back on the recap train next Monday!

My other big news this week is that I am headed up to the mountains after the Independence Day 5k to backpack, fish (for the 1st time!), and explore a new-to-me area of the northern Sierra. I won’t say exactly where I’m going yet, but I’m planning to do about 22 miles over 3 days; not a big mileage trip, so it’ll be nice to take the time to enjoy and explore the area. I’ll definitely have a write-up about the trip next week, sometime.

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2014 Solstice Microadventure

Sometime last year I read about Alastair Humphreys and his year of Microadventure. I instantly fell in love with the idea of, in the words of Alastair, “an adventure that is close to home, cheap, simple, short, and yet very effective.” Rather than some great big, globe-trotting trip, the Microadventure is a way of challenging yourself to be creative and do something you’ve never done in your own backyard. I’ve been following Alastair’s blog and Facebook page for a while now, and when he issued the Summer Solstice Microadventure Challenge on his Facebook page earlier this month, I knew that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to create an adventure near me. The only “rule” for the adventure? It had to include sleeping out in the wild for at least one night, without a tent! Challenge accepted!

Thinking about potential adventures, my first thought was to take off on my bike and find a nice hill to sleep on. Thinking about this further, though, I realized that I tend to see a lot of the world around me from atop two wheels, and I wanted a little change of pace. Instead, I wanted to craft an adventure that required me to walk to my destination. As luck would have I live just below the foothills of Sonoma County. Perfect!

On the evening of Summer Solstice, the husband and I packed up our gear and headed out the front door. We left the house at around 7:45 p.m. With pack strapped on, we walked through our residential neighborhood toward our destination.

Even though I have walked through my neighborhood countless times, having a big pack on my back definitely made for a different type of walking experience! I received a number of quizzical looks from people who were out watering their plants, walking their dogs, or playing with their kids. I even got one “looks like you missed the trail” greeting from an older dude. I smiled and laughed a bit, too excited to be on this adventure to feel self conscious.

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with packs strapped tight, we made our way through our residential neighborhood.

Turning out of our neighborhood, we were suddenly on one of those quintessential Sonoma County backroads; twisting, narrow, and lined on either side by vineyards. “We really do live in one of the most beautiful places on earth,” exclaimed my husband. As I watched the vineyards bathed in golden sunlight, I couldn’t help but agree with his assessment.

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Vineyards, oaks, and narrow country roads. This is most definitely Sonoma County. We are headed up to the ridge toward the transmission tower in the far back.

A short while later we reached the edge of the foothills and began our climb up to the ridge where we planned to spend the night. The sun was just beginning to set and the light playing off of the golden hills and oaks made for a rather spectacular hike.

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After some steep climbing we reached an overlook area that I thought would make for a nice spot to spend the night. Upon closer inspection, though, we noticed several large ant nests and, not wanting to wake up to searing ant bites, we decided it would be best to climb further up to find a better, less ant-infested spot. After another 15 minutes of climbing, we reached a scenic overlook area with a bench. Perfect! After checking for ants, I dropped my pack and stood at the edge of the ridge to take in the view. Wow! Below us, the cities and towns that dot the valley were busy with traffic and activity. Up here on the ridge, though, there was nothing but the sounds of the oaks and grasses swaying in the breeze, the deer and other animals making their way through the forest, and the birds calling to one another.

It always amazes me how quickly the sounds and sights of the city disappear when you move into a more wild space. Down there, life passes quickly by. In wild spaces, time does funny things. It slows down, expands, becomes meaningless. Moments seem to linger on, become deeper and longer. It really is true, what people say…that nature is sacred; an almost spiritual or religious experience. Whatever it is, it definitely helps to reset my mind and soften my heart.

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Happiness is sitting on a ridge surrounded by oak trees.

I watch the sun set a little bit longer, but realize that it would probably be a good idea to set up camp for the night. Luckily having no tent makes for a really quick camp set-up!

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In no time, the husband and I are sitting, watching the fog roll out from the coast, cans of Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA in hand. We talk and laugh and gaze out onto the fog covered valley. Soon, night falls but the lights of the towns below light up the valley just enough to see the fog stretching out over the vineyards and towns.

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We munch on the random snacks we threw into our packs and suddenly hear something large move through the brush just below us. “What are we supposed to do if we see a mountain lion,” I ask, slight panic rising in my voice. Although this is mountain lion country and sightings are pretty frequent, I’ve never heard of someone being attacked by one in Sonoma County. Although my rational brain knows this, I get a little nervous about the fact that we are cowboy camping. Even though a tent wouldn’t protect you from a large predator like a mountain lion, there’s still something comforting about not being face to face with whatever is outside. My husband says reassuring things and and I pretend to believe him.

I finally get sleepy and cold enough and we turn in for the night. I’ve slept outside many times, but this was my first time sleeping without a tent. It was a little bit scary and exhilarating. Sleep didn’t come very easily, but after what seemed like hours of listening to critters rustling through the brush, I finally passed out and slept soundly until the sun was already up.

In the morning we lazily packed up camp while I made coffee with our trusty pocket rocket stove.

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the husband, enjoying coffee and the crisp morning air.

After packing up the remaining gear, we set off down the trail. As we descended the ridge we passed two early morning hikers who offered shy smiles when they saw our packs. It was still early when we reached the main road, and there was hardly any traffic on the road.

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Making our way back home.

As we wound through our neighborhood, there were few signs of life. It looked like most people were still in bed on this Sunday morning. Soon, we rounded the corner of our street and just like that, we were back at our house. I looked at the clock; just a little bit before 7:30.

I set out to have a new adventure and along the way I was able to  experience my neighborhood in a completely new way, enjoy great views of the Wine Country valley that I call home, and have amazingly funny, deep, meaningful conversations with the husband. All in a span of about 12 hours. I call that a successful microadventure for sure!

All bikes all the time!

May is National Bike Month and in the spirit of bike month and the fact that it’s now officially cycling weather, I’ve been doing a ton of bike related stuff. Actually, that’s about the only active thing I’ve been doing! Oops, guess I’m a little obsessed at the moment.

At the start of May, I joined the Team Bike Challenge as part of both a team and my company. I’m tracking all of my commuting miles and so far have bike commuted about 140 miles.

In early May, the San Francisco Bay Area celebrated Bike to Work Day. It is a great event that encourages people to try bike commuting. All of the bay area counties participate by setting up energizer stations throughout their counties. The energizer stations handout free breakfast and swag bags, because, hey, who doesn’t love free stuff! Even for a regular bike commuter like me, Bike to Work Day is a fun event and the extra little goodies are a nice way to make the morning commute a little more fun.

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Riding into the Prince Gateway Park

Energizer station hosted by REI and the Bicycle Czar.

Energizer station hosted by REI and the Bicycle Czar.

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Fruit, pancakes, coffee, and Swag bag perk up an otherwise routine morning commute!

Fruit, pancakes, coffee, and Swag bag perk up an otherwise routine morning commute!

My trusty Trek taking a break while I inhale some delicious pancakes.

My trusty Trek taking a break while I inhale some delicious pancakes.

Catching the rising sun on my way to work.

Catching the sun rising over Sonoma Mountain on my ride to work.

Along with my regular bike commuting and fun rides this month I also participated in the Sonoma County Backroads Challenge. I’m going to do a full write-up on the Challenge in the next day or so, but for now I’ll just say that it was definitely a challenge!

So, did you try bike commuting this month or during Bike to Work Day?

Ride Report: 2014 Chico Wildflower Century

On the last Sunday in April, I participated in one of my favorite bike-related events: The Chico Wildflower Century. The Wildflower is an organized century ride put on by Chico Velo, and the proceeds benefit bicycle advocacy in Chico, CA.

On the Friday before the ride, I made the 3-hour drive to Chico. The weather was cold, rainy, and blustery. I had monitored the weather in the days before I left and kept hoping that the rainy conditions predicted for the day of the ride would change for the better. As I drove to the Northern Sacramento Valley, I knew that it wasn’t likely to change.

I spent Friday night and Saturday morning catching up with friends and family. I was happy to have a bit of time to hang out with my Chico peeps! The thing I miss the most about living in Chico are all of my wonderful friends and family who live there.

On Saturday afternoon I headed over to the Fairgrounds to check-in for next morning’s ride. The fairgrounds were hopping with live music, a food-truck gathering, and a small expo. I walked around the expo a bit and listened to the music for a few minutes, but because I had plans for that evening, I didn’t have very much time to enjoy the pre-ride festivities. Instead, I made my way back to the registration area.

Since I had pre-registered, the check-in process was a breeze. There were a lot of people waiting to check in, but because there were several check-in lines, I waited just a few minutes before I was checked-in and picking up my schwag bag. Now, I’ve done quite a few running and cycling events, and I have to say, the Wildflower Century has one of the BEST schwag bags of all of the events I’ve done! This year’s bag included a Klean Kanteen stainless pint, a Specialized water bottle, and a rider quick-reference sheet all inside a re-usable Chico Bag. This year, one of Chico Velo’s goals is for the Wildflower Century to be a zero-waste event. To help accomplish this, they didn’t include any extra paper flyers/ads in the schwag bag. This was very much appreciated by this cyclist!

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On Sunday, I woke up at 5:15 a.m. After getting dressed and choking down a banana and a bit of peanut butter, I did one last check of my bike and headed off to the fairgrounds where the ride started. I arrived around 6:45 a.m. and headed into the building where check-in was happening in order to grab a cup of coffee and one of the legendary apricot bars that are provided every year. On the way into the check-in area, I noticed that an awesome water re-fill station had been provided for riders to fill their water bottles. Nice addition to help the event reach their zero-waste goal!

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After finishing up my quick breakfast, I headed out to the front of the fairgrounds to begin. The ride has rolling start times, depending on which route you are riding. For the Flatflower 60, start times were from 6:30-7:30 a.m., and I set-off just before 7:00 a.m. Just then, I glanced over at a fellow cyclist, saw a hot pink strip of paper around their wrist, and quickly realized that I had forgotten to put on my wristband! The wristband is important because it gets you into the rest stops and the lunch stop! I had to make a quick detour and backtrack to my truck to grab it. Thankfully I wasn’t too far down the street and lost only about 5 minutes. Whew!

With wristband securely on, I started down the first leg of the route, winding first down a bike path, and then on country roads through the orchards south of Chico. With the weather getting colder, windier, and a bit grayer I made it to the first rest stop in Durham, about 10 miles into the ride. After a quick bathroom stop and savoring a delicious raspberry bar, I hopped back on my bike and continued on.

The route continued on quiet country roads through orchards of walnuts and almonds. At about mile 13, the wind picked up. A mile later, the route turned onto Agua Frias Road. The name, literally translated as Cold Waters Road, was a fitting name for the day’s conditions. After turning onto Agua Frias Rd., I was hit with a headwind. As the wind pushed against me, my speed dropped from a nice steady clip of about 15 mph to between 9 and 10 mph. The wind was relentless and soon I started to feel a couple of drops fall on me. As I looked to my left, I could see the rain coming down in the distance. My heart sank a bit as I realized the rain was moving in my direction. I couldn’t tell how quickly it was moving though, and I only hoped that it wouldn’t start pouring before I was done riding. As I pedaled down the road , I remembered that the route turned off near the end of the road, and I kept hoping it would come soon. By mile 24, I could finally see other cyclists turning left off of Agua Frias, and I hoped that this turn would make the wind a bit more bearable. By the time I made the turn, the few drops I had felt before soon became a light drizzle. While I had on a light windbreaker jacket, I wasn’t wearing anything that was rain appropriate. It was cold, in the low 50’s, and the rain and wind were making it feel colder. Even though I was wearing gloves, my hands were stiff from the cold. I knew the lunch stop wasn’t that far away, and I was bolstered by the thought of warming up inside a heated (hopefully!) building while eating a delicious lunch.

Grey, drizzly skies. The Sutter Buttes are barely visible in the distance.

Grey, drizzly skies. The Sutter Buttes are barely visible in the distance.

Cruising along the route, I tried to keep my thoughts positive, but the wind was relentless and the temperature seemed to keep dropping. Ugh! Luckily, just as I felt like giving up, I rode into tiny Richvale, CA and knew that the lunch stop was less than a mile away. I could already taste the turkey sandwich that I would be eating shortly!

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Richvale, CA

Richvale, CA

Turning out of Richvale, I spotted the sign for Lundberg Family Farms and quickly made my way to the back of the property for lunch. I hopped off my bike and hurried inside. I was immediately grateful for the heated building and to be out of the wind! I made my way to the lunch table and greedily grabbed a turkey/ham sandwich (which I inhaled, eating it in four giant bites), rice chips, a banana, a chocolate chip cookie, and a handful of peanut butter filled pretzels. The lunch spread was plentiful and my body thanked me for ingesting all of those calories after a tough 30 miles. As I ate lunch, I kept an eye on the sky, hoping that the wind would die down a bit (no luck) and that the rain wouldn’t start pouring (it didn’t). The thought of going back out into the cold was really not very appealing, so I ended up lingering at the lunch stop a lot longer than I had originally planned. After about 30 minutes, I finally made myself go back outside (but not before grabbing a couple of payday candy bars for the road and a bottle of my favorite, locally-produced beverage, R.W. Knudsen’s Hibiscus Cooler).

I didn't get a picture of the sign this year. This is from last year when the weather was much more pleasant (notice the blue sky)!

I didn’t get a picture of the sign this year. This is from last year when the weather was much more pleasant (notice the blue sky)!

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Leaving Lundberg Farms, I made my way down the Midway and back to Durham. By the time I rolled back into the Durham rest stop, I realized that all the peddling into the wind had exhausted my legs. After taking a minute to refill my water bottle, I pondered whether I really wanted to finish the last leg of the 60-mile route. When I registered for the ride, I had mapped out a possible bail-out route that began in Durham, in case I wasn’t able to finish the last 20 miles of the ride. As much as I wanted to finish the entire route, I knew that the wind, rain, and cold temperatures were making the ride more miserable than enjoyable at this point, so I gave myself permission to cut my ride short. I was a little disappointed, but honestly, I knew it was the right move. Being out on the road for another hour and a half, likely riding into the wind and rain, and then having to make the 3-hour drive home, wasn’t something I wanted to do. Instead, I rode the last 10-miles back to the fairgrounds feeling really good about riding as many miles as I had, and looking forward to riding it again next year, hopefully in better conditions. As I pulled back into the fairgrounds, my parents were waiting for me at the entrance and it was nice to finish with them cheering me on.

All in all, I rode a total of 45.5 miles, 16 of which were into a headwind. The ride was challenging because of the weather conditions, and while parts of it were a bit miserable, I was really glad I did it. I like challenging myself, and doing the ride just a little over a month after I had surgery is something I feel really proud of. I know that I could have used the surgery as an excuse to not do the ride, and I’m glad I didn’t! Even though I didn’t finish the entire route, I did more than I thought I would be able to do!

Yesterday, I received an email from Chico Velo as a follow-up to the Wildflower Century. They reported that a large number of riders did the same thing I did; they shortened their ride due to the weather conditions. Apparently, this year was the coldest and wettest it’s been in 10 years. I’m glad to know it wasn’t just me!

Weekday Hiking: Annadel State Park – Spring Creek/Canyon Trails

Lately, I’ve been going on a lot of walks and bike rides in my neighborhood. I’ve been happy with the consistent exercise, but staying in the same small area starts to get a bit boring after a while. A few days ago, I received an email from a local hiking group about an early-evening weekday hike. A short hike in a new-to-me park was the perfect way to break my workout boredom!

On Wednesday, after work, I headed out to Annadel State Park. This 5,500 acre park sits on the eastern edge of Santa Rosa, CA, in an area known as the Valley of the Moon.  Although the park is adjacent to one of my favorite parks in Sonoma County, Spring Lake Regional, I had never been to Annadel.

There are several entrances to the park, and for Wednesday’s hike, I met the hiking group at a trailhead on the park’s western edge, in a quiet residential area with plenty of free parking.

Courtesy of CA State Parks

Courtesy of CA State Parks

At about 5:30 p.m., we started up the Spring Creek Trail. The afternoon was warm but the oaks, redwoods, and bay trees that grow alongside the creek shaded the trail and made for a comfortable hike. The hike was a gentle up-hill climb on a wide but very rocky trail. I definitely had to keep glancing down at my feet to make sure I didn’t trip over any of the large rocks that littered the path! The scenery on the hike was typical Sonoma County landscape; riparian forest, oak woodland, and grassland ecosystems. Though we have had very little rain this year, the wildflowers were out in full force, and I spied lupines, blue-eyed grass, goldfields, and hound’s tongue.

After a very quick 2 miles we crested over a short hill and emerged onto the edge of Lake Ilsanjo, a 26 acre, man-made lake.

Lake

After a quick break to enjoy the sunshine and lake views, we followed the trail to the right and joined up with the Canyon Trail, a wide fire road that was less rocky and provided great views of the surrounding mountains. As we hiked, mostly downhill, on the Canyon Trail, we were treated to the sight of a family of deer crossing in front of us. We stopped and watched a doe and several juveniles cross into a nearby meadow and graze lazily.

deer

Shortly after our deer encounter, and just before the sun was beginning to set, we were back at the start of the trailhead. This short hike was the perfect end to my day and a great opportunity to explore a park that I had not been to. There are several other after-work hikes scheduled in the coming weeks, and I’m looking forward to joining up with the hiking group again to explore some new areas and add in a mid-week hike.

Want to go?

Getting there: To reach the Spring Creek Trailhead…from Hwy 101 in Santa Rosa, take Hwy 12 east and continue straight on Hoen Ave to Summerfield Drive. Turn right onto Summerfield Drive, and turn left on Parktrail Drive. You will see Beckmeyer Trail which runs along the left side of Parktrail Drive. The trailhead is near the point where Beckmeyer Trail leaves Parktrail Drive., near the intersection with Comfrey Place.

Parking: Free parking in the residential neighborhood adjacent to the trailhead. Please note that some areas of Annadel Park do charge for parking. Please consult the website or call the park directly at (707) 539-3911.

Fees: None.

Hours: Day-use only; open sunrise to sunset.

Bicycles: Bikes are allowed on most trails. This park is hugely popular with the mountain biking community. Most bikers are good about warning you that they are approaching, but it’s always good to hike with caution.

Dogs: Not allowed, except for service dogs.

Other: Horses are permitted on most trails. Fishing is allowed, though a valid fishing license is required.