Tick, tick, tick….

Last weekend’s refreshing rain storm is likely to have rejuvenated more than just our local waterways:

“…for someone hiking, ticks will have gone from practically zero a couple of weeks ago to being out…and their numbers will probably be increasing through January.”
https://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/news/rain-is-about-to-set-off-the-tick-time-bomb-in-california/

A few tips from the American Hiking Society:

  • Determine risk: Spring and early summer are high-risk for ticks because ticks are in an earlier stage of their development, called “nymphs.” Nymphs often carry heavier loads of disease-causing pathogens, and are smaller and harder to spot. Tall grass and brush are higher-risk, too, because ticks can easily climb on to hikers.
  • Wear long and wear light! Wear long-sleeve shirts and long pants of a light color. Lighter colors seem to attract fewer ticks and make the ones that do end up on you easier to spot. Lightweight nylon or polyester garments are almost as cool as shorts and protect from the sun as a bonus!
  • Seal the cracks. Tuck your shirt into your pants and tuck your pants into your socks. Gaiters can add an additional level of protection and keep small rocks and dirt out of your shoes too.
  • Repel invaders! Consider treating your clothing with a persistent repellent chemical called permethrin. This substance, applied to clothing, repels ticks and biting insects for up to 2 weeks. Some clothing comes already coated with this deterrent. Apply an additional repellent to all exposed skin.
  • Wash your hiking clothes. As soon as you get off the trail, wash your hiking clothes and dry them in a hot dryer for an hour. The heat will kill any ticks.
  • Tick check. Showering within two hours of leaving the trail will help wash off any ticks which haven’t latched on. Using a hand-held or full length mirror, take this time to check yourself for ticks, especially checking armpits, hair, ears and behind the ears, belly button, behind the knees, and groin. Be sure to also thoroughly check your children and pets.
  • Remove any ticks. If you do happen to find a tick on yourself, do not use the old trick of poking the tick with a hot match head until it comes out. Do use tweezers and grab the tick as close to the skin as possible and slowly pull it out. If you can’t grab the head in the first go, make sure to pull it out before washing the bite with a disinfectant. View the CDC’s easy-to-follow tick removal instructions and pictures.
  • Stay vigilant. If you develop a fever, rash, muscle and/or joint aches, flu-like symptoms or become ill, be sure to mention to your doctor possible tick exposure. Lyme disease is very serious and can cause permanent damage in bones and the nervous system. Tick bites that develop a bulls-eye ring are infected and should be treated immediately.

https://americanhiking.org/resources/ticks/#:~:text=Tall%20grass%20and%20brush%20are,on%20you%20easier%20to%20spot

If you find that you have been bitten by a tick, save the insect after removal and submit it to Sonoma County Department of Public Health for Lyme testing:
https://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Health/Public-Health/Laboratory/Lyme-Tick-Test/

Dia de los Muertos ~ Day of the Dead

Walk Sonoma History through Sonoma Mountain Cemetery

Saturday, October 30
Times: 10:00 OR 12:30
Suggested Donation: $35.00

dayofdeadThe Sonoma Overlook Trail Stewards are thrilled to invite you once again to a lively, informative tour through our historic cemetery with our own amateur historian Fred Allebach!

Each year (except 2020) Fred has led this walking tour where we meet cowboys and Indians, ranchers and real estate tycoons, farmers and farriers, carpenters and stone masons, quarry-men, grocers, butchers, bakers, maybe a candlestick maker, and many more!

Fred will host 2 walking tours, one at 10:00am and another at 12:30. Both will be limited to 25 guests so be sure to register early! We will be observing current Covid-19 protocols so please bring your mask.

Rock Patrol

P1030372

The crew, minus Greg Taylor, who had to leave early to open his shop. From left to right: Roy Tennant, Michael Studebaker, Priscilla Miles, Dan Noreen, and SOT Chair “Secret Ranger.”

Today six volunteer stewards gathered at the Sonoma Overlook Trail kiosk/trailhead to do the very first group “Rock Patrol.” Rock Patrol as it has been developed consists of the following:

  1. Filling in holes with dirt for rocks that have already come out of the trail;
  2. Removing loose rocks;
  3. Removing particularly problematic rocks (rocks likely to trip hikers and runners);
  4. Backfilling all of those spaces with soil, following this protocol:
    • Wet the hole with a watering can (preferred) or a spray bottle;
    • Lay down a thin layer of soil and compact it by stomping on it; and,
    • Spray lightly again, lay down another thin layer of soil, compact it, and repeat until the hole is completely flush, or even slightly higher than, the trail.

P1030369This first time out we were able to complete the beginning section of the trail from the kiosk to the junction with the Rattlesnake Cutoff Trail. Next time (Our Chair proposed doing this once a month for a while), we will tackle the section of Rattlesnake Cutoff from Norrbom Road past the junction with the Overlook Trail.

We were quite pleased with the many nuisance rocks (or worse) that we were able to remove (see picture of three large rocks and the smooth spot where they had been removed — it’s darker since it’s wet).

So if you happen to see a group out there with shovels, buckets, watering cans, spray bottles, and an assortment of other tools, that’s Rock Patrol. If any of the three readers of this blog want to participate, just shoot me an email.

Mountain Lion Sighting on Montini Preserve

Please be aware, Trail Friends: A mountain lion was sighted on the Montini Preserve this week. Be sure to hike with friends and only in full daylight hours.

Staying Safe in Mountain Lion Country

Mountain lions are quiet, solitary and elusive, and typically avoid people. Mountain lion attacks on humans are extremely rare. However, conflicts can occur as California’s human population expands into mountain lion habitat.

  • Do not hike, bike, or jog alone.
  • Avoid hiking or jogging when mountain lions are most active—dawn, dusk, and at night.
  • Keep a close watch on small children.
  • Do not approach a mountain lion.
  • If you encounter a mountain lion, do not run; instead, face the animal, make noise and try to look bigger by waving your arms; throw rocks or other objects. Pick up small children.
  • If attacked, fight back.
  • If a mountain lion attacks a person, immediately call 911. 

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.