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.
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.
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.
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.