Hike 27: Santa Rosa Mural Meander

I’ve definitely gotten in the rut(?) of not wanting to drive … corrupted by the bike and train … and Eric was in town for a quick visit, driving down on Friday and back on Sunday, so I figured he didn’t want to get in the car either. Then the AQI was slightly in the yellow, which I know isn’t horrible (although DOH, somehow I didn’t account for getting smoked out while trying to get this done – yeah probably should have done more earlier in the year, but as Uncle Tony says, “you can’t put s**t back in a donkey”) but I wasn’t feeling like doing anything super long or with a high level of exertion.

Eric suggested walking to a coffee shop (ABC!) but then I decided we needed a theme or something, so I made it a mural meander. Many of them I had seen before, but in passing on my bike or in the car, so it was nice to be on foot and spend more time looking. And at one spot, we found that the back side of the building also had a mural that I had not known was there and had never seen before!

The first ones were on Santa Rosa avenue, and some had sadly been graffitied on. We then wandered through the SOFA district, and over to our bakery stop – Tia Maria Panaderia! Where somehow (busy eating?) I did not get any pictures of our concha breakfast sandwiches, Abuelita mochas and mixed berry (blackberry, blueberry, red (er, rasp) berry) tart! So tasty!!!

On the way back I noticed one of the ones under Highway 12 is apparently from 1981! Forty years!!! Then some of the others have gone up within the past year. Wonder what the next forty years will bring…

all the pictures

8/21/21, 5.0 miles

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Hike 26: Spring Lake Circumnavigation from Home

So I am giving up on these being in any sort of order… ah well, maybe “letting go” is a better way to put it. Whatever. I’m not sure what hangs me up about writing up some of these more than others – I know part of me does feel like they should go in chronological order, but maybe with that out of the way I’ll get back to it. Both the writing and the doing – one thing and another sorta hit a lull.

Anyway, this was an “I don’t feel like driving anywhere” excursion, so I left from my house and went over and circumnavigated Spring Lake. So it was sidewalk, and mostly paved path, but there was a bit of dirt path, and it turned out to be 8.1 miles! So I’m totally counting it. And oh wait, I’m making the rules for what counts as a hike for this anyway. So there!

On the way there I saw some tree stump art, which was fun, and a nice patch of sunflowers. There were more people fishing along the lake shore than I think I’ve ever seen, but it may have been the time of day, or the fact that I was on foot and paying a bit more attention. The lake is a bit down – I could see the legs on the boat launch dock, which I don’t think I ever have before. On the way back I foraged a few apples. A fine adventure!

7/25/21, 8.1 miles

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still dry

The Lake Berryessa Glory Hole (official name Morning Glory Spillway, an open bell-mouth spillway) – high and dry in August 2021 – although, to be honest, I don’t pass by there on a regular basis, but the reservoir level does seem pretty darn low. Of course especially so compared to spilling in April 2017. Which is very cool to see in person – if you ever get the chance, definitely check it out! Hopefully it will again sometime… It also spilled in 2019, but I can’t recall if I saw it then. Either way, I can’t seem to find pictures.

Local agencies in Sonoma, Marin and Mendocino Counties are holding Drought Drop By events with curbside pick up of free water saving kits on Saturday, August 21, 2021.

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Hike 18: SLO and Pismo

This was a two-fer. OK, maybe two part is a better description. We were in San Luis Obispo to visit family, and were able to sneak it in. Well again, maybe sneak isn’t the best word, since both parts included family members. I guess maybe it felt a little sneaky re: The Project since I didn’t really make a Thing of it, and we would have done these anyway. Whatever.

Part A was with my Dad, from his house in the northwest part of town up to the Bishop Peak Highland Trailhead. It was fun seeing more of his neighborhood, and getting some stories about neighbors, and going by the Bishop’s Peak Elementary School – all new to me. And, although we only went up to the trailhead, not the summit, we still gained some altitude and got some nice views.

Part B was with my sister and WCN, on the beach at Pismo. Which is always lovely – there’s something about walking barefoot in the sand, and seeing and hearing the waves. And this particular day there was a multitude of bubbles on the beach, and they were getting blown along by the wind, which was fun to watch.

4/16 & 17/21, 5.7 miles

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock – (which, apparently, some of my neighbors are – they are still watering their lawns. EVERY. DAY. WTAF?!) – you’re aware that California is experiencing a drought. After a seriously below average rainfall season, the entire state is at the second level of the US Drought Monitor’s 5-tier scale. As of the end of July, 95.1% is at the third level, D2, Severe Drought. 88.6% is at D3, Extreme Drought, and edging toward half of the state – 46.5% – is at the top level D4 Exceptional Drought. (D4 up from 33.4% last week. Updates every Thursday.)

If the numbers don’t bring it home, this article has some really sobering pictures of California’s largest reservoirs – Lake Shasta (move the vertical slider to see then and now), Lake Oroville, and then the disturbingly disappeared Sierra snowpack …

And, from my local water supplier, “In Santa Rosa, only 12.77 inches of rainfall has fallen this water year, just 3.30 inches more than the driest year of record (1976/1977) when Santa Rosa measured 9.47” through April 15. On average, Santa Rosa receives 32.20” inches a year.” and “Lake Sonoma is 50 percent of water supply capacity and has approximately 123,000 acre-feet of water which is the lowest storage for this date since the reservoir began operations.” among other cheery (not) tidbits.

It’s bad. And all signs point to getting worse. I’m not sure if the lawn waterers are clueless, or just don’t care. I’m not sure which is worse.

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a good buddy…

the more I ramble, the more I realize the truth of this. and funny how the Universe works, I saw these two images – if not the same day – then very close to…

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Hike 20: Howarth Park

This was a filler/catch-up one, I guess you could say – I felt like I was sorta falling off the pace of at least one a week, but didn’t have the time or inclination for a Destination hike. Fortunately Howarth Park, a Santa Rosa city park, allowed for a hike that felt like a hike, but was manageable time-wise and not far away.

I did a circumnavigation of Lake Ralphine, which included some wide, almost fire road sort of trail, as well as narrow single track path. Some of the route was new to me, which is always fun, and sorta surprising, considering how long I’ve been in Santa Rosa. But yeah, the not going on foot so much does bias what I see. Another pleasant experience was how nature-y most of it felt, despite the closeness of the busy roads of town.

A little girl – maybe 3ish? – and her father were also circumnavigating the lake, but the opposite direction, and it was cool to see them on either side. I also saw some goslings, and a duckling ball on the boat ramp, to complete the cute overload.

more pictures

5/15/21, 3.8 miles

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Hike 21: Weaver Lake

I had seen a Forest Service marker on a side road just before we got up to Weaver Lake, (the one in Nevada County), where we were camping for a couple nights. After dinner the first evening, we did go out for a little stroll, but did not make it to the one I had seen. We did see another one, which I hadn’t noticed on the way up (we were walking the opposite direction) right near the lake, but ended up not investigating it since it was a bit overgrown.

As we walked downhill, I was just starting to think I’d imagined the marker when we got to it. Funny how distance seems different on foot compared to on bicycle. It started out very much road like, then there was a log that would block the way for vehicles to pass, so it started to get overgrown. Still obviously a direction to follow, but pretty unused. And after a bit it petered out.

Eric had looked at the map for the area, and knew there were some small lakes (ponds? when does one become the other?) just over that-a-way. So we followed a stream bed that seemed like it might go that direction. There was some water in a few spots, and we did get up to a spot with a bit of a view, and a neat shale outcropping. No small lakes or ponds, but we’d had about half as much fun as we wanted, so headed back.

We retraced our path down the stream, and part way down the road, then did a bit more bushwhacking to get to the overgrown track that would take us back to right near the lake. Which, for much of it wasn’t actually quite so overgrown as it seemed at the lake end, although it would have been a bit of a squeeze for most vehicles. On foot it was not a problem to get through. And it was nice not to have to go back downhill and up again that we would have had with a full retrace, plus we got to see a bit of new territory.

The track came in at just over two miles, which maybe is a little short to call a hike… But hey, I’m making the rules! And this hike had the bushwhacking, plus we were at about 5700 feet elevation, which both count for some bonus points in my book. And yes, it’s totally out of order, but I finished the write up so I figured I may as well post it.

more pictures

6/2/2021, 2.2 miles

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Hike 10: Mount Burdell

Another after work jaunt, and new to me spot – Mount Burdell. The website blurb has this to say: “Marin County’s largest open space preserve, Mount Burdell rises to a 1500 feet summit with panoramic views.” AND! The world’s best bik’n buddy was visiting and had agreed to join in the on foot adventure. Woohoo!

The park has several trailheads, we only went to one, but they all look to be similar neighborhood access points, rather than a single large parking lot type of a deal. Easier/cheaper in some ways, and it’s cool to have open space so accessible – that people can just go out their front door and BOOM there they are! Although I always wonder how much folks actually take advantage, and hopefully there aren’t conflicts between people who live in the neighborhood and “outside” users. The spot we started at actually had several places to park that weren’t in front of someone’s house, which was nice.

I had looked around a bit online, but ended up just downloading the map from the Parks website and planning my own route. The usual criteria – loop, if possible, and covering as much trail as possible without repeating. Ohand favoring trail over fire roads.

We were quickly out of the neighborhood and gaining elevation, getting views to the south. The route wound over open hillsides and through more forested sections. We encountered grazing cattle, and in several spots had to go through gates.

In several places we saw large piles of rocks, indeed, the trail we took up to the top of the ridge was called Old Quarry. It was quite steep, giving me a sense of accomplishment and relief. It wasn’t a single definitive peak sort of experience, but there were nice views both to the south and out to the north west. We tried to figure out where some of the west county roads we’ve ridden on were in the landscape, but didn’t feel like we had much success with that.

We took a different way down, seeing a cyclist we’d seen earlier – doing loops of his own. As the sun sank toward the horizon we started to get the magic hour light, which then deepened to twilight. I didn’t read a trail sign right, or somehow missed a turn, so we didn’t do exactly what I’d looked at doing on the map, but we didn’t get lost, and got back to the van before it was completely dark. Super fun having company, and *woot woot* I’m to double digits on the count! We didn’t get to all of the park, so I’m open to the possibility of going back some time. And/or checking it out by bike.

more pictures

3/12/2021, 5.9 miles


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Hike 09: Annadel – Spring Creek, Live Oak, Orchard

This hike was back to my usual stomping grounds – Annadel! Through Spring Lake Park, and up Spring Creek Trail to Lake Ilsanjo. The morning sun sparkling through the trees was just splendid, and there were some surprising puddles. From the Lake I looped back around on Live Oak and Cobblestone Trails.

There were some different wildflowers in bloom from what I had seen on the last couple of hikes, and some brand new green growth in the burned areas. In one of the meadow areas I saw movement – two animals running toward each other, then running together back to a third. I didn’t have binoculars, but they looked canine. Perhaps two pups and a mother? Later I heard vocalizations that sounded coyote-ish. Yay the natures!

a few more pictures

3/6/2021, 8.4 miles

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