(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, January 22, 2011

California State Parks: Petaluma Adobe (Petaluma)

This afternoon I was the docent on duty (with Demi as my sidekick) at Petaluma Adobe.  I gave more tours in 2-1/2 hours today than I did in all of 2010! Maybe it was the splendid weather - look at that blue sky in the photo - but the weekend and the weather was bringing out visitors from Benicia, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Petaluma, Marin County and Sonoma. It was great to tell them about a venue that I love!

Prickly pear cactus provides "barbed wire" fencing to
  keep the cattle inside.

Friday, January 21, 2011

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

Spring Lake Regional Park must certainly be the jewel in our county park system. It has everything - the lake, camping, trails, a beach, concessions, an environmental center and probably lots more that I have yet to discover. Plus the sheer beauty of it all.

Demi and I were checking it out this afternoon. Demi was uncontrollable with all the luscious scents of critters that had walked our way before. We passed several dogs with their handlers, horses, (there's also a bridle path), plus bicyclists and joggers. Resolution: Return often.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sonoma County Regional Parks: Ernie Smith Community Park (El Verano)

In spite of all the rain, Ernie Smith Community Park proved to be a great place to exercise Brix and Demi. At least a dozen canines turned up in the 45 minutes we were there, mostly labrador retriever puppies, each one cuter than the one that just arrived.

This is one of our favorite dog parks because it is large enough, but not too large, there is a doggie drinking fountain as well as one designed for humans, picnic tables on cement slabs and donated chairs to move around. A good time was had by all!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

City of Sonoma: Bike Path

Here's another reason why I like the Sonoma Bike Path so much. The 1.5 mile route cuts right through the countryside as well as meandering behind homes. Along the way there are vineyards, vegetables, homes, empty fields, one basketball court, one senior center and lots of dogs and an occasional bicycle. This is one of Demi's favorite locations in town!

Monday, January 10, 2011

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

This photo shows part of why I like Maxwell Farms so much. This image makes it appear as though I was deep into the woods, but what you can't see is that 50 paces to the right there was a stream of traffic driving by! Maxwell Farms is definitely an urban park but there are dense trees, Sonoma Creek rushing through and a gazillion squirrels. Demi was with me this afternoon, it's one of her favoirte places too.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sonoma County Regional Parks: Maxwell (Boyes Hot Springs)

It was late afternoon, the temperature was in the chilly 40s and Maxwell Regional Park was busy! Both softball fields were in use, as was the tennis court, there were kids in the play area and dog walkers everywhere. I just love it when I see public space as used - and loved - as much as I do!

This is Demi -- we call this "reading the newspaper" - she's sniffing to see who else has been visiting the park.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

California State Parks: The Barracks (Sonoma)

One of the perks of caring about parks is that you get to attend public meetings in historic places. This morning, for example, I met with others here in the Sonoma Barracks, the home of General Vallejo's soldiers back in the 1830s. There was no canon fire today and the Russians at Fort Ross didn't attack, but the ghosts of history past were all about us. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

Sonoma County Regional Parks: Sonoma Valley (Glen Ellen)

Not all of my park visits are about seeing a park. Sometimes it's about slowing down and having time to breathe.

Today I was driving in rush hour traffic, or what passes for such here in Sonoma County. I was traveling East on Route 12 from Santa Rosa and had already passed three deer that I wanted to meet and greet.

I was still heavily scheduled so all I could manage was a five minute pause at the next park that I passed, in this case, Sonoma Valley Regional Park. There were at least a dozen dogs frolicking in the dog park, the parking lot was respectably full and I had just enough time to get out of my car, take a deep breath, snap this photo and continue on my way. That was it - but I'm glad I took those five minutes, it made all the difference.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

City of Sonoma: The Plaza

Today was full of avian sightings. It wasn't just the pigeons on the street lights, there were also two red-shouldered hawks, turkey vultures sitting up in trees, and a glorious V of geese flying over the county.

It also started when I saw the ducks at the pond at Sonoma Plaza. They were sunning, swimming and preening and the park itself was full of preschoolers enjoying the play equipment. Brisk as it was, I was surprised by how many parents and toddlers were visiting the park, but it was as full as any day in summer.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

City of Sonoma: Depot Park

Several of the parks in the City of Sonoma are on the Sonoma Bike Path.  One of my favorites is Depot Park which hosts a small history museum, a picnic area (with BBQ stoves) and this play area designed particularly for younger children. I was alone today - no dog - but this park is dog friendly and Brix and Demi have been here often.

Monday, January 3, 2011

City of Sonoma: Stone Field (aka Field of Dreams)

Another section of open space along the Sonoma Bike Path is this one, variously named as Field of Dreams and Stone Field. Today there were signs posted saying that the two playing fields were closed, and when I tried to walk on the field to squint at the teeny-tiny sign that names the field, my boots squished in the wettest soil I've ever walked. It looks so green and lush on the surface, but I was sinking toward China after only a few paces.

Aside from the playing fields - greatly used in clement weather - the area is dog friendly for canines on leashes, as Brix and Demi were. Another day, when things dry out, I'll let them walk the perimeter and across the soft grass. They'll love it!

You know, I'm not exactly certain that the City of Sonoma owns this property. It is so poorly labeled and butts up against what I know is Vallejo property (State of California), that it is possible that it actually belongs to the State. When I find out I'll correct my post.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

City of Sonoma: Bike Path

The bike path in Sonoma runs from Route 12 to Fourth Street East, a distance of 1.5 miles.  Many regular bike path walkers make the entire three-mile loop several times a week. The path is maintained by the City and by volunteers who accept the responsibilities of mowing, weeding and litter abatement for a one block section.  Steve and I used to do that, but after it got to be a bit much we were grateful simply to walk the path with our dogs. Today we only walked one section, on the way to somewhere else, something we do often.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

City of Sonoma: Olsen Park

After a lovely New Year's Eve with friends, rain and drear greeted us this morning and kept us hostage all day. But dogs must be walked and resolutions must be kept, right?

We made it as far as Olsen Park, a tidy and inviting neighborhood space on the Sonoma Bike Path. The basketball court was empty - and we were sidelined because Olsen is unfriendly to dogs and I was with Brix and Demi. But there was a group in the kids' play area and others wandered in as we wandered home. Dogs were walked, resolution was kept!