Rain, Rain, Don’t Go Away!

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A small pool captured by a trailside rock.

Recently we had some rain on the trails, albeit somewhat light. But it was enough to completely settle the dust and create small pools where the water could not sink into the ground (see picture).

It is welcome, indeed, as the fire danger has been off the charts as we enter the end of summer and the beginning of fall. According to Cal Fire, 2015 is the worst fire season they have ever seen. So…yeah. Rain is what we like to see right now.

Unfortunately, there is no more rain visible in our forseeable future, so we will need to hang in there for a while longer before we are completely out of the woods regarding fire. These conditions makes it even more important to not smoke on the trails, as all it would take is a spark or tossed cigarette to start a Valley-wide firestorm.

A flock of turkeys in the driving rain.

A flock of turkeys in the driving rain.

Rain on the Overlook and Montini properties provides a number of benefits for both plant and animal life. Many of the benefits to plants and animals seem obvious, but others are not so obvious. One benefit to animal life is that during particularly hard downpours the human traffic on the trails lessens substantially. Although I never let rain keep me away from my almost daily trail perambulations, it does keep others away. I find that I see a lot more wildlife on rainy days than on clear ones.

If you want to see wildlife in the rain, just buy some waterproof walking shoes, some rain pants, and a waterproof jacket with a hood. I add a cap to keep the rain off my glasses and I’m good to go. Sure, I often still come back wet — probably more from sweat than rain, but hiking in the rain is more fun than you might imagine if you haven’t done it. I highly recommend it.

Fundraiser for the Overlook Trail

Sonoma Overlook Trail Stewards Fundraiser

Haywood Ranch and Vineyard

Sunday September 27th, 2015 10AM – 1PM

We would love to see you all out to support the trail, enjoy a good walk, lunch and lovely people!

RSVP required Cost $35.00

Help us keep the Overlook Trail well maintained and lovely as ever by participating in a quintessential Sonoma event. Come walk with us through the Haywood vineyards with award winning winemaker Peter Haywood. We’ll meet at the ranch where the Haywoods live and work, walk through the vineyards, returning to the ranch for a simple lunch made with some locally grown ingredients. Haywood wine was the dream of noted winemaker Peter Haywood, one of the early developers of the zinfandel varietal in Sonoma Valley. Set in the midst of vineyards that are bursting with some of the most highly regarded wine grapes in the region; the site has a feeling of vigor and excitement generated by the forces of nature at work all around.

With over 180 secluded acres, 40 acres are devoted predominately to zinfandel grapes. We’ll have the opportunity to walk through the vines and pause by one of the two ponds to listen to the special stillness broken only by the chatter of birds. For those more ambitious hikers, we can continue our walk up the hillside, lined with boulders, and consider the feat of the hardy pioneers who quarried this stone to build the streets of San Francisco. Haywood produces 3 Los Chamizal Zinfandels: Los Chamizal, Rocky Terrace and Morning Sun.

RSVP To Laurie Friedeman to reserve your space – MVRLSF@aol.com

The Sonoma Overlook Trail is a non profit EIN # 94-313-6500. The trail is run and maintained by volunteers. All proceeds from this event will benefit the Sonoma Overlook Trail.

Thank you to Sonoma Market for their generous support!

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Permanent Signs Come to the Montini Preserve

P1000721Although the Montini Preserve has been open to hikers since November 2014, we are only now getting permanent trail signage. The signs are screwed into metal posts set in concrete, so they seem sturdy and lasting. The metal is unpainted, so over time they will likely rust to a red color.

The signs point out trail names and paths as well as areas of the Preserve that are “off limits”. These “off limits” areas are near the property border, and include such high-traffic areas as a “rogue” trail that connects Two Goat Point to a ranch road that takes hikers back down to the Holstein Hill Trail. It seems highly unlikely that hikers will heed the signs that prevent them from making a broad loop around the Preserve, but the terms of the agreement apparently dictate such an admonition.

P1000720The signs themselves are small but picturesque, and some of them include a “City of Sonoma” attribution with the city seal. They are a great addition to the property, and overdue.

On the Sonoma Overlook Trail, the signs are typically wooden post signs, which are a lot easier to put in but may be less durable than the Montini signs.