Austin Explorer's Logbook

Stats

Total Log Entries: 401 (Rank: 3rd)  [List Them]  [Map Them]
Total Distance: 1,617.14 Miles (Rank: 4th)
Average Distance: 4.03 Miles

Average Rating: 3stars (3.07)
Average Difficulty: 2stars (2.29)
Average Solitude: 2point5stars (2.55)

Earliest Log Entry: 4/7/2001
Latest Log Entry: 1/8/2022

Average ratings are based on the published values and not the values entered in your own log entries.

Photos

Shoreline

The rocky Pacific Coast shore as seen from the Coastal Bluff Trail. [Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens]

Log Entries

Easy stroll along Colgan Creek
Colgan Creek Trail - 1/8/2022  [View Log Page]
Rating: 2stars Difficulty: 2stars Solitude: 3stars
Distance: 4.77 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 51 minutes

Coppertone and I had not realized this trail was part of the Sonoma County Regional Parks system until recently.  Always looking for new places to hike and map we decided to try this one out.

The trail consists of two parts.  The trail south of Bellevue Ave. is maintained by Sonoma County Parks.  The trail north of the road is handled by the City of Santa Rosa's Recreation and Parks Department.  There was ample parking on the street along Bellevue Ave.  From there we headed south.

The official trail parallels Colgan Creek on its east bank.  The entirety of the trail here is paved and mostly straight.  Opposite the creek are the backs of houses, empty fields and a school yard.  On the opposite bank of the creek lies another trail that parallels this one, though it's not on the official county map.  So we're not sure who maintains it.

We followed the trail for a bit over a mile until it reached Stony Point Road.  The official trail map shows it continues along Stony Point to Todd Road.  But that's really just a sidewalk, so we didn't bother with it.  We doubled back to the trailhead to tackle the northern trail.

The northern trail maintained by Santa Rosa has an entirely different, and changing, character than the county's segment.  Much of it is a single track dirt trail.  But there is also a heavily modified segment of the creek that includes a very wide paved trail that parallels it.  In the creekbed large triangular structures made from enormous logs are a bit of a mystery though we suppose they are intended to trap debris during high water events.

I'd read somewhere that the plan ultimately is to get this northern trail segment all the way to Victoria Drive.  From there it would easily connect to other trails in the city.  But or now, it just abruptly stops behind a house on that street.  One lot from its final destination for now.  At this point we doubled back again and headed back to our car.

In all we managed just short of 5 miles of flat terrain.  We commented that it's not much of hike here, more like a neighborhood stroll.  But the flowing water was nice and the weather pleasant, so who would complain?

New Year's Hike
Napa-Sonoma Marshes Wildlife Area - 1/1/2022  [View Log Page]
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: 3stars Solitude: 3stars
Distance: 5.37 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 16 minutes

Coppertone and I didn't overdo New Year's Eve, so we were feel pretty good as we headed back to Buchli Station to hike the trails there.  Our previous trip here involved something of a time crunch, so we could not complete the loop around the main bodies of ponds here which we resolved to do this time.

We were surprised to find the parking lot almost full but we managed to find an open slot.  This time we elected to do a counter clockwise loop around the ponds.  Although the recent rains made the ground a bit moist a couple of days of drier weather mostly made the paths free of mud.  We only had to dance around a few mud puddles here and there.

The north and western portions of this loop are the rougher halfs of the journey.  The northern segment is open with only a few trees and shrubs here and there.  The western portion is more overgrown with the path looking for like singletrack and a healthy line of brush on our right side.  In the spring and summer the growth here might be a bit much so I'd recommend long pants.  It was cold today, so we were well prepared for that anyway.

Given the frequency of gunfire heard in the distance it was obviously still hunting season.  What surprised us was to see a pair of hunters in the brush along the path.  They managed to take take down a duck which fell into the water and their position was right in our path!  We passed by them with a wave and a few pleasantries as they fetched one of their kayaks to go fetch the downed duck.  Yes, the north and western stretches of the path around the pond are less frequented by walkers but it was still a surprise to see them this close, on it essentially, to a marked trail.

As the trail turns to the east the trail surface becomes wider with increasingly more gravel which meant no more mud worries for the remainder of the hike.  Plenty of people with binoculars were on the gravel trails looking at all of the birds in the various ponds.  Perhaps they were getting started on a big year.  We got our hiking year off to a good start by logging over 5 miles on the flat terrain.  We still have some more trail segments to map here, but perhaps we'll wait until hunting season is over.

Last hike of the year
Jack London State Historic Park - 12/30/2021  [View Log Page]
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: 2stars Solitude: 3stars
Distance: 3.77 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 29 minutes

Coppertone and I wanted to get some more miles in before the end of the year.  But we also did not want to walk a muddy mess.  So we opted to hike into Jack London State Historic Park from the back Sonoma Developmental Center.  We'd done this hike a couple of times before.  It was not until I'm logging this hike now that I realized it was almost exactly one year ago today (off by one day) that we made the same trek!

Today we stayed on Orchard Road alone.  This ensured a paved, non-muddy surface for the entirety of our walk.  The pavement was often wet, but not slick.  We're planning on hitting a non-paved trail in a couple of days.  Hopefully a few days of sunshine will give the ample moisture some time to soak into the earth.

The hike from SDC to Camp Via is all uphill, though the overall elevation gain was not that bad.  In all we gained about 700 feet heading out.  On the flipside, the path back was gravity assisted all the way to our trailhead.

Getting a hike/walk in after days of rain
Sonoma Valley Regional Park - 12/27/2021  [View Log Page]
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 2stars
Distance: 2.67 Miles Duration: 56 minutes

Coppertone and I were anxious to get outside and stretch our legs after days of rain in the Bay Area.  Because everything was so damp we opted for a paved path at Sonoma Valley Regional Park.  We did a simple out and back along the Valley of the Moon Trail, which bisects the park between Highway 12 and Arnold Drive.

I'm not sure we'd been to the park when it was so green and lush.  All of the recent rains have made everything green.  In addition to Black Canyon Creek that parallels the trail the park seemed appointed with countless other smaller streams, many of which we had not noticed before.  All of them adding to the ample flow of Black Canyon before it empties into the larger Sonoma Creek.

Near the turnaround point of our hike we could hear the water in Sonoma Creek crashing through some rapids.  It made quite the racket.  By the time the creek got closer to Arnold it quited down quite a bit though the flow was impressive.

In the end we logged less than 3 miles of easy going walking but it felt really good to get outside.

Buchli Station
Napa-Sonoma Marshes Wildlife Area - 12/19/2021  [View Log Page]
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: 2stars Solitude: 3stars
Distance: 4.71 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 21 minutes

Coppertone and I happened upon some information online about this other hiking location within Napa-Sonoma Marshes Wildlife Area.  We were thinking it was going to be similar to our visits to Hudeman Slough nearby.  We were surprised to find a good number of vehicles at the parking lot.  It turns out we were among the last to know about this place!

We started off at the trailhead and headed south along the berm separating two ponds of shallow water and marshes.  It seems most of the trails here are situated on the same "high point".  Thus, the paths are very flat and level, which makes for easy going.  There are a good number of birds foraging and resting here.  Though no expert birders we could state we saw pelicans, godwits, countless ducks, egrets, maybe a couple of grebes and a solitary swan.  If you are an avid birder then you should come hiking here.

Although there were more cars in the parking area than we expected, thankfully everyone seemed to spread out on the trails and we only passed by a few people during our outing.

There is a geocache placed along the trail that we picked up since we were passing by.

My plan was to complete the large balloon loop that circles the two largest ponds in the area.  In the end we were a bit time constrained and doubled back to the trailhead since we could not be 100% certain how much longer it would be to continue forward.  Next time we'll ensure we have enough time to complete the loop.  It also looks like there are a good number of other connected trails to explore in the future.