In the late 1990s, a hotel might have been built above the city of Sonoma, but the community organized and successfully opposed it, saving the land for a trail that had already been proposed. The trail was constructed and dedicated twenty years ago.
To commemorate this event, the all-volunteer Sonoma Overlook Trail Stewards published a book about the trail, using entries that hikers from all over the world have left in hiker notebooks that the stewards have left on a bench at the top of the trail from the very beginning. Hiker thoughts run the gamut of human emotion, from appreciation and gratitude to loss and heartbreak. Many people have come to the trail to renew, regenerate, get in touch with nature, or simply find time alone to deal with whatever they need to deal with. Other entries consist of drawings, also reflected in the book. Notebook pages are included in the book as images and are also transcribed for easier reading.
The View from Above: Thoughts and Art by Sonoma Overlook Trail Hikers, is now available for purchase from the Sonoma Overlook Trail Stewards at overlookmontini.org/book/, and at Reader’s Books in Sonoma. The publication of this book begins a series of events to commemorate the trail’s anniversary, which extends into next year (the trail opened to hikers in 2003).
“Wow! Reading all these entries makes me feel like there are still some good people in this world,” one hiker writes, “Positivity, appreciation, beauty, desires, love, family—all just flipping through the pages…nice.” By far, most entries express appreciation and gratitude.
As noted in the book, hikers have come from all over the United States and the world. When a hiker noted their home, their city was transcribed (if provided) and the state or country. Hikers have come from at least 50 states and territories of the U.S. and 43 countries, but of course many hikers don’t reveal where they live.
Multiple entries describe successful marriage proposals on the trail, but the number of unsuccessful proposals remains a mystery. One couple even returned after more than twelve years after their trail proposal with their three kids. The book may seem like it’s about a trail but it’s actually about humanity and all of the emotions, feelings, thoughts, and artistic expression that comes with it. This book reveals what Sonoma Overlook Trail hikers wish to share with the world, enhanced by photographs from the trail.
Gratitude and appreciation are the most often expressed emotions, but the book has chapters on “Loss, Heartbreak, and Uncertainty,” “Determination,” “Encouragement,” “Love,” “Philosophy,” “Advice,” and others. Each notebook entry has been scanned to preserve the hiker’s entry as they wrote it, and sometimes drew it.
We are selling it for $30, with any money raised going to support the trail. See information below on ordering it.
To Buy the Book
If you live in Sonoma Valley, send a check payable to “Roy Tennant” for $32.70 ($30 plus tax) to Roy Tennant, 1212 Alberca Road, Sonoma, CA 95476 and he will deliver it to any Sonoma Valley address. If you live outside of Sonoma Valley, make out your check for $39.70 ($30 plus tax and shipping) to the address above to have it mailed to you.