Partial Overlook Trail Closure Soon

A portion of the City of Sonoma’s Overlook trail will be closed to walkers and hikers for repairs to trail surfaces from March 23 to April 14.

During this period, the affected trail segments are not safe for foot traffic, due to the movement of heavy materials and the need for trail crews to work unimpeded.

Walkers and hikers may still access the Upper Trail’s summit by using the Toyon trailhead in the Cemetery. Park at the kiosk and follow the temporary signage on foot through the cemetery to the Toyon entrance.

The Toyon entrance may also be reached on foot through the cemetery entrance at the top end of 2nd Street East and then following the temporary signage.

The main trailhead and part of the lower trail will remain open for those desiring only a short walk to the junction of the Lower trail with Rattlesnake Cutoff, or who wish to connect with the Montini trail at Norrbom Road via the westernmost portion of Rattlesnake Cutoff.

The Montini trail will remain fully open during this period. It can be accessed via the entrance behind Field of Dreams or the main trailhead at 4th Street West.

Work is funded by the volunteer Sonoma Overlook Trail stewards and the City of Sonoma. It is being performed by youth work crews with American Conservation Experience. ACE is familiar with the trail as they performed extensive rehabilitation on other parts of it in 2018.

The March Maintenance Day

IMG-1235Every first Monday of the month we have a standing trail maintenance day. This month it was postponed a week to the second Monday. Today six stewards came out to take on several jobs: Elizabeth Garsonnin, Priscilla Miles, Dan Noreen, Kurt Teuber, the SOT Chair, and myself.

We started with a project to reinforce the railroad tie steps not far in from the Kiosk and parking area at the main trailhead. We used our recently acquired wagon to haul 30 cement pavers in to stack under the railroad ties. We had shims and a rubber mallet to drive them in. That didn’t take very long, so we went on to the next job.

We weeded and swept the steps at the kiosk (see picture). With six people, again the job didn’t take very long and then we were off to the last jobs we had lined up for the day.

IMG-1236Two of us were sent off to the set of upper steps not far below the upper meadow to weed and sweep them. Getting the loose rock off the steps prolongs their life, as it prevents hikers from grinding the rock into the steps and wearing them down faster.

The remaining four of us took on a “Rock Patrol” assignment. There was a particular rock we had in mind that not only was a hazard to hikers, but would also likely cause problems for the trail crew coming out soon to do some major trail work (see “before” picture).

IMG-1239Dan easily levered out the boulder, which came out surprisingly easy, and then we worked to fill the hole with soil collected nearby (see “after” picture).  Since we were so quickly successful, I looked around and discovered a number of other rocks right in the trail that we could remove to create a smoother tread. All told, we probably removed about a dozen nuisance rocks from the trail, filling in the holes.

We accomplished quite a bit in just under two hours of work.

The Wildflowers are Busting Out…Here’s How to Find ’em….

Walking the Overlook and Montini trails is a treasure hunt these days, with an artist’s palette of wildflowers making themselves seen early this year. Grab one of our newly updated Wildflower brochures at the kiosk, and take a gander at the new Wildlife Panel as well to get an overview of all of the flora and fauna.

“On March 9th, a beautiful new Nature Panel was installed in the Kiosk at the main trailhead of the Overlook Trail. Funded solely by donations from Trail Stewards, the new panel features all of the up-to-date common names of many of the wonderful birds, mammals, reptiles and plants that help make the Trail such a delightful place. To assist even the casual hiker with identification, several of the most frequently seen and most lovely wildflowers are depicted in greater detail in a special expanded section. Superb original artwork by Irene Guidici Ehret is now also joined by artist Don Boucher’s stunning portrait of the native Gray Fox. The Overlook Trail Stewards that assisted in the installation of the panel included Michael Studebaker, Kurt Teuber and Dan Noreen.”

Dan Noreen, Overlook Flora Specialist

Sunrise Rotary Work Day

IMG-1077Steward Fred Allebach recently coordinated with the local Rotary club to come out for two work days on the trail this month. The first one, with “Sunrise” Rotary, was held today. The large group, including entire families with young children, worked on several areas of the trail in two groups — one led by Fred and the other by me.

The work included:

  • Putting in a drain and laying gravel on the middle portion of the main steps at the trail entrance to deal with a muddy area.
  • Laying down a thin layer of gravel on the second set of steps (enclosed with railroad ties) a short distance along the trail from the steps (see picture).
  • Berm and drain work at the loop at the top of the trail (see picture).

IMG_0007Given the size of the group and their eagerness, we were done with what we had set out to accomplish within 2 hours. The children were enthusiastic and very helpful.

Thank you Sunrise Rotary!