Hiking Alone?

If you’d like to join a group of energetic hikers, come every Wednesday morning at 8:30am for a one-hour round trip hike to the top of the Overlook Trail. We practice social distancing and wear masks. Meet at the trailhead kiosk.

“…you might think you walked all the way to Italy.”

The Sonoma Overlook Trail is in the news! Travel & Leisure Magazine lists Sonoma as one of the 10 Best Small Towns in California. It says that besides the wine tasting, colonial architecture and picturesque town center, for hikers the Sonoma Overlook Trail offers breathtaking views.


“…you might think you walked all the way to Italy.”

ttps://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/best-small-towns-california

New Overlook Trail Kiosk Panels!

Photo by Susan Peterson

New kiosk panels at the Overlook Trail trailhead were installed recently, after many months of thoughtful work. They have replaced, in some cases, outdated and fading panels, and in others added information that we had decided over time would be useful additions, such as trail descriptions that could help hikers understand what the different trails have to offer. Please take time to check them out when you are next on the trail.

This work was originally led by Lynn Clary, but after he left the stewards group, it was taken up by John Donnelly and brought to completion. Other stewards involved in this work include Lori Parmalee and Priscilla Miles.

The design and production of the panels was very ably accomplished by the good people at ASA Graphics, who also designed our logo. They were excellent to work with, and they came and hiked the trail to better get a sense of what we are about. Rochelle Zatkin, the principal, met with us multiple times, and has made sure that her staff understood us and also only charged us fees appropriate to a volunteer-led non-profit. We simply could not have had a better partner in this journey, in my personal opinion.

Meanwhile, the head of our Communications Team, Jeni Nichols, has already swept into action and created a new display along with the help of Susan Peterson, to create a display for our renewed “Hiker’s Gallery.” Please understand that this area is free for anyone to use. If you have a display you would like to create, just contact Jeni Nichols. We would love to see your contributions!

It Seems Impossible, Until Suddenly It Isn’t

New findings could improve diagnosis, treatment of depression | Berkeley NewsToday, as most days, I was out pulling Italian thistle on the Montini Preserve. This is what I call a “long game,” and if anyone knows how such games are played, it’s me. I’ve even written my own (as yet unpublished) essay about it. Long games are played by long, concerted effort over years and decades, one day at a time. I’ve also called it being gently powerful. I know this. But I still have my good days and my bad. Today was the latter.

I decided to tackle a patch that I figured I could knock out in an hour of concerted effort (think simultaneous two-handed pulling). I was wrong. When I realized how wrong I was, I had to walk away. As I left the trailside to go down the hill, I noticed a rock above Red Quarry that was perfect for sitting — flat and at the right height. I was right, the rock was perfect. I sat down and looked around. I inevitably looked down and that’s when I saw yet even more Italian thistle. The area also looked a bit trampled, as if this was a familiar rock to one or more people who visited it to smoke dope or just hang out.

Since invasive species work can be an obsession, I pulled what I saw and then moved back toward the trail, where I found yet another patch that I mostly pulled. But that’s when the depression really set in. In this one small area, I had a big patch and two smaller patches. I then mentally multiplied it by the size of the two properties (the Sonoma Overlook Trail and the Montini Preserve) where I have committed to do this work. Let’s just say I’ve had better days.

Later, at home, I decided to rewatch the trail movie that I made last year. Not only do I enjoy seeing the trail scenes and all of the flowers, insects, mammals, and birds of the trail I also feel like it naturally lowers my blood pressure (let’s just say it’s a theory). But I made an astonishing (to me) discovery. One of the photos in the movie is from several years ago, and as soon as I saw it, I recognized a spot on the trail that was covered in Italian thistle. THEN. Not NOW. This clear evidence of progress literally brought tears to my eyes. I AM making a difference.

I was then reminded of something Nelson Mandela once said, that I will take the liberty of rephrasing, without changing the meaning: “Something can seem impossible until suddenly it isn’t.” I just had to have my down day, and then move on. As one does, when playing the long game.