Lions and snakes and ticks, oh my!

Posted from Glen Ellen, CA

This, essentially, is our back yard. It’s Sonoma Valley Regional Park, where we spent the morning hiking.

The 162-acre park serves as a unique natural corridor for wildlife to traverse safely between Sonoma Mountain and the Mayacamas Mountain Range. The combination of paved and dirt trails makes it ideal for humans — for hiking, biking, birding, and horseback riding.

Rattlesnake alert

Rattlesnake notice

Mountain lion alert

Mountain lion warning

The signs at the entrance did give us pause, though, for they cautioned visitors to be alert for mountain lions, diamondback rattlesnakes (it’s a rattlesnake habitat), and ticks. Dorothy’s trip to see the wizard of Oz with her worry of lions and tigers and bears had nothing on us. The rattlesnake sign noted that they head for shaded areas in the heat of the day, and, when it’s cool, they seek out sunny spots. The temperature at that moment was somewhere in-between. The mountain lion sign also observed that the chance of coming upon one was remote…unless we did, and then it wouldn’t be remote. Undaunted (pretty much, anyway), we proceeded into the park and are thrilled we did.

Walking through the woods

Walking through the woods

While hiking upward toward the 2-mile trail that surrounds the calm Sutton Lake, we passed through groves of oak woodlands. Similar to the live oaks dripping with Spanish moss that we’re accustomed to seeing in the South Carolina Lowcountry, these trees also carried some kind of lichen. Picnic tables were scattered about.

Happily, we encountered no threatening wildlife during our two-hour trek, just an assortment of water birds and leashed dogs, and relatively few people. We spoke with a few hikers, who talked about the trails they use regularly. That reinforced our assumption that the park is used less by tourists and more by area residents. Yes siree, we’re one week into our extended stay and living like locals.

Sutton Lake

Sutton Lake

We decided brunch was in order at The Fig Café in Glen Ellen, an outpost of the larger The Girl and the Fig restaurant in Sonoma. Serving country French home cooking, it was a fitting place to refuel and forget about critters.

 

8 thoughts on “Lions and snakes and ticks, oh my!

  • July 22, 2013 at 11:16 am
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    Looks like a beautiful place but I hope you don’t encounter any snakes or mountain lions! The lake looks beautiful!

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    • July 22, 2013 at 12:13 pm
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      Hi, Debbie. Same here!

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  • July 21, 2013 at 4:51 pm
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    If you hike this again, be sure to sprya with OFF, Deep Woods spray. Ticks love behind your knees and
    just about anyplace on your body. Deer ticks are the ones to avoid for they are the ones you get Lyme
    disease from. They are quite small. Smaller than a regular tick. Use tweezers to remove them if they
    have attached themselves to your skin. Happy Hiking!

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    • July 22, 2013 at 12:59 am
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      Hi, Ann. Thanks for the tick tips!

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  • July 21, 2013 at 3:35 pm
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    Sutton lake looks lovely!

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    • July 22, 2013 at 12:58 am
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      Hi, Mary. Yes, it is!

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  • July 21, 2013 at 2:16 pm
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    Mary – It appears you and Bill have found a great place to walk off the wonderful local food! When we were in Mendocino Headlands State Park (also CA), the mountain lion signs not only warned of the animals but indicated one should keep dogs and SMALL CHILDREN on a tight leash!

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    • July 22, 2013 at 12:57 am
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      Hi, Karen. Yikes! Sounds extra challenging!

      Reply

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