(Northern) California Parkist

The dogs and I are avid park visitors. Join us as we document our wanderings, mostly in northern California. We visit all jurisdictions -- United States National Parks, State Parks, County, Regional and City Parks -- we love open spaces!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

California State Parks: Donner Memorial State Park (Truckee)

Donner Lake, Truckee

Within the California State Park system my favorite venue is certainly Donner Memorial State Park near Truckee and the Nevada state line.  I took the kids camping there recently - not the first time - and can report that all was as we remembered it.  The sites are spacious.  Each has a bear locker for food, shelving for "stuff," a picnic table, a barbeque and a fire pit.  In other words, everything one needs.  There was an interpretive program around a campfire one evening and there is also a museum near the entrance.  We agreed to make it an annual trek.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sonoma County Regional Parks: Maxwell Farms (Boyes Hot Springs)

There are wildflowers in bloom at Maxwell Farms, but what's really amazing are the blackberries.  They're so thick they're threatening to cover some of the trails.  This is good news if you plan to bring a bucket in the next few weeks, bad news if you're part of the park staff trying to eradicate the overgrowth.

The meadow is quite dry.  Areas along the trails bordering the meadow have been plowed to reduce the potential fire danger.  But the creek is clear and inviting and waders are often seen there.

Maxwell Farms is a great place to bring a picnic - packed from home or purchased from nearby shops.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sonoma County Regional Parks: Spring Lake Lagoon (Santa Rosa)

Bark in the Park, the first event of its kind, was held in the Spring Lake Lagoon from 10:00 to 3:00 today.  The water was closed to humans and dogs were allowed in off leash.  We brought three black labrador retrievers, two of which swam and romped and chased tennis balls and met their new best friends.  It was a wonderful day, a fundraiser for the regional park system, and hopefully an annual event.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sonoma County Regional Parks: Maxwell Farms (Boyes Hot Springs)

Maxwell Farms has a wonderful play area with particularly inviting equipment.  The area is kept clean and there is a restroom adjacent.  Benches line the sidewalk running alongside the playground and the ground is covered with a spongy surface to break childhood bumps and falls.  On this day children were playing happily while adults either assisted them or chatted with friends.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

California State Parks: Lachryma Montis (Sonoma)

While the Vallejo home itself is on a relatively small piece of land, the original property owned by General Vallejo was considerably larger.  A steady stream of walkers and bicyclers uses the city owned paved bike path built over the old railroad tracks that runs through the Vallejo land.  Fields of wildflowers, such as this chicory, extend in all directions creating lovely fields most of the year.

Monday, July 25, 2011

California State Parks: Petaluma Adobe (Petaluma)

Adjacent to the parking lot at Petaluma Adobe is a spacious picnic area almost hidden in the trees.  It is at the base of the hill before you actually wander up the pathway to see the Adobe itself.  This is one of the most underused areas of the site but it has everything a family could need - tables, nearby water and clean restrooms.  An evening breeze is almost guaranteed so a jacket may be necessary even if the afternoon was warm.  Dogs are allowed on leash.

City of Lakeport: Library Park (Lakeport)

Library Park runs along Clearlake in the City of Lakeport.  There are numerous picnic tables, a playground and a large grassy lawn on which to play.  Dogs are welcome, something Demi appreciated. What I most noticed here was the noise -- bird sounds!  While the park was visited by families and others, almost all of the sound was coming from innumerable birds chirping happily in the tall trees.