Thursday, July 29, 2010

Highway 121/Carneros Highway - July 28, 2010

Walking Distance: 2.7 miles
Walking Time: 1 hr., 51 min. (7:00 - 8:51 p.m.)
Start and End Point: BoonFly Cafe, Carneros Inn complex, in Napa, CA

I had a nice dinner stop at the Boon Fly Cafe, just off Highway 121 (also known as Highway 12, and/or Carneros Highway). Not a great idea to eat too much during a long walking day. However, after I drank lots of ice water, and dined on fish (pictured) and vanilla ice cream, I felt re-fueled enough to walk east on Highway 121, down as far as the traffic light at/intersection with Stanly Lane.

Note: It turns out, I walked much further than necessary. After consulting the Bay Trail, North Bay Map, I discovered that simply stopping at the intersection of Highway 121 (yellow lines on map above right) and Cuttings Wharf (red lines on same map insert) would have been just fine. Technically the trail stops there.

Wildlife Sightings:
6 Canada geese; 6 little brown jobs (LBJs); and 1 hawk.

Duhig Rd - Las Amigas to Hwy. 121 - July 28, 2010

Walking Distance: 4.4 miles (3.2 + 1.2 mi., 2 segments combined)
Walking Time(s):
1.) 1 hr., 5 min. (4:12 - 5:17 p.m.)
2.) 36 min. (5:50 - 6:26 p.m.)
Start and Stop Point(s):
1.) Unpaved pull-out area, Duhig Road, Napa, CA
2.) Narrow, unpaved shoulder, Duhig Road, Napa, CA

Duhig Road was fairly quiet, that is, there were not as many cars roaring by on this road as many others in the county. It was also mid-week, which probably didn't hurt either.

I walked to the north end of Duhig Road, where it merged into Highway 121/Carneros Highway. At that intersection, stood the chateau-like Domaine Carneros building/facility (shown).

Wildlife Sightings:
 14 little brown jobs (LBJs); 1 mockingbird; 1 crow; 6 turkey vultures; 2 doves; 4 unidentified flying bugs (UFBs); 1 rusty screw; 2 dragonflies; 4 swallows; 1 smallish, yellowish-white butterfly/moth; 1 lizard; and 3 (panicky) killdeer.

Old Sonoma Road, Napa - July 27, 2010

Walking Distance: 2.6 miles
Walking Time: 1 hr., 20 min. (5:45 - 7:05 p.m.)
Start and End Point: Side of road, Old Sonoma Road, Napa, CA

This evening I finished my walk along Old Sonoma Road, and -- other than one spot that was fairly narrow (and close to car traffic) -- it was very nice.

I walked from the intersection of Old Sonoma Road and Highway 121 to Old Sonoma Road and Buhman. The landscape included some grapevines, residences, and livestock/pastureland.

Wildlife Sightings:
35 Canada geese; 5 little brown jobs (LBJs); 1 starling; 9 cows; 1 horse; 13 blurs in bushes; 15 swallows; 2 lizards; 1 dove; and 2 mockingbirds.

Ramal Rd. to Duhig Rd. - July 25, 2010

Walking Distance: 6.3 miles (5.3 + 1.0 mi. - 2 segments combined)
Walking Time:
1.) 1 hr., 53 min. (9:53 - 11:46 p.m.)
2.) 35 min. (12:11 - 12:46 p.m.)
Start and End Point:
1.) Side of road, unpaved area, Ramal Road, near Skaggs Island Road, Sonoma/Napa, CA
2.) Later - along Las Amigas Road, Napa, CA

I walked east on Ramal Road, then north on Duhig Road, then east on Las Amigas Road. I turned around just East of 2600 Las Amigas (mailbox) near row of big eucalyptus trees, taking a break before finishing Las Amigas Road later in the afternoon.

There were several bicyclists out on a ride along the same route I was walking today. It was fun to have some cyclist company along the trail.

Wildlife Sightings:
2 horses; 94 little brown jobs (LBJs) + 15 possible blackbirds; 2 turkey vultures; 1 gopher snake (shown); 1 red-tailed hawk; 1 goat (shown); 10 cows; 2 doves; 10 Canada geese; 8 white butterflies (5 white; 2 small ones with blue/purple; 1 small-medium orange and brown); 225 red-winged blackbirds (mixed flock); 2 bumblebees; 2 swallows; 1 hummingbird; and 3 dragonflies.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cuttings Wharf, Las Amigas Rd. - July 23, 2010

Walking Distance: 9 miles (3.2 miles + 5.8 miles)
Walking Time: 3 hrs., 39 min. (1 hr., 24 min. (12:03 - 1:27 p.m.) + 2 hrs., 15 min. (2:18 - 4:33 p.m.)
Start and End Point:  Cuttings Wharf Boat Launch Facility, parking lot, Napa, CA; and Cuttings Wharf road/near intersection with Bay View on map., Napa, CA.

It was wonderful to see some glimpse of water/bay again at Cuttings Wharf today, after walking inland for many weeks. I walked up Cuttings Wharf Road, and took a few left turns, which took me to Las Amigas Road (shown as double yellow lines on map). I turned around at 2174 Las Amigas Road and walked back to the car at Cuttings Wharf.

After taking a lunch break at Moore's Landing restaurant, at an umbrella table by the water, at Cuttings Wharf, I resumed my walk.

I expected that I would be walking along Cuttings Wharf road, but followed Bay Trail signs to Stanly Ranch, and walked all the available trails in this area, which included a walk through vineyards -- without any car traffic, a nice break.

There was also a welcome amount of shade, from several stands of large eucalyptus trees, that created a few large shade tunnels. Again, this was welcome relief after walking in the sun, and through one annoying cloud of small black flying bugs in the heat. There was also some beautiful old stone bridge work, dating back from 1902. The north end of the Stanly Lane trail ended near Carneros Highway/Highway 121. The southern end of the trail terminated at the freeway underpass, with a view of mud bird nests (shown).

Wildlife Sightings:
Part 1/Cuttings Wharf/Las Amigas Rd.
10 butterflies; 12 little brown jobs (LBJs); 1 dragonfly; 1 turkey vulture; 1 ball; 4 horses; 7 cows; 2 barking dogs; 4 mockingbirds; 1 hawk; and 1 sea gull.

Part 2/Stanly Ranch trails:
12 little brown jobs (LBJs); 6 Canada geese; 3 hawks; 23 blackbirds?; 1 dragonfly; 2 turkey vultures; 8 red-winged blackbirds; 14 blurs in bushes; 1 lizard; 3 butterflies; 1 cloud annoying flying black bugs; 3 mockingbirds; 1 bumblebee; 4 crows/ravens; and 1 (old tennis) ball.

Ramal Road, cont. - July 19, 2010

Walking Distance: 1.8 miles
Walking Time: 38 min. (7:36 - 8:14 p.m.)
Start and End Point: Unpaved side of Ramal Road (near Buena Vista, gated driveway -- 27000 & 26360 Ramal Road mailboxes), Sonoma, CA

As the sun was setting, I finished this evening's walk by finishing the portion of Ramal Road that was west of Skaggs Island Road, the section shown in the lower right portion of the Bay Trail map excerpt (shown at right).

Note: I forgot my camera today. The photo of the sun setting was courtesy of my cell phone camera.

Wildlife Sightings:
78 little brown jobs (LBJs); 3 red-tailed hawks; 2 blurs in bushes; 7 doves; 3 killdeer; and 1 (dead) snake.

Skaggs Island Rd. (upper) - July 19, 2010

Walking Distance: 1.2 miles
Walking Time: 33 min. (6:53 - 7:26 p.m.)
Start and End Point: Parked on unpaved shoulder of Skaggs Island Rd., approximately 60 feet north of railroad crossing

Earlier this month, I walked the lower part of Skaggs Island Road, accidentally walking too far -- out onto the island itself. This evening I finished walking the northern part of Skaggs Island Road - to the point where this road ended/intersected with Ramal Road.

Note: I forgot my camera today. I missed being able to capture images of some wonderful pictures of red-tailed hawks; but I did enjoy watching them, and listening to that very distinctive cry -- that we've all heard as a background sound effect, in movies and on television.

Wildlife Sightings:
6 little brown jobs (LBJs); 5 swallows; 2 red-tailed hawks (may have been same ones I saw earlier); 6 blurs in bushes; and 1 snakeskin (shown at right). I didn't see the actual snake (that it was apparently still attached to) in the hole.

Ramal Rd. - July 19, 2010

Walking Distance: 2.4 miles
Walking Time: 1 hr., 16 min. (3:25 - 4:41 p.m.)
Start and Stop Point: Parked on unpaved shoulder of Ramal Rd., just south of pond/reservoir, Sonoma, CA

Walked northwest (to the curve where I'd stopped walking before) first, and then walked back the other way, past pond/reservoir (not shown on map) and car; I passed Donum estate/vineyards along the way.

Unfortunately, I forgot my camera today, and was only able to capture a few images with my cell phone -- one being the shot (at right) of grapes on the vines a few feet from the road/trail. I've been watching them ripening while I've been walking through Sonoma and Napa the past month or so. 

Wildlife Sightings:
1 dove; 3 lizards; 6 butterflies; 10 little brown jobs (LBJs); 1 mockingbird; 5 dragonflies; 2 swallows; 1 turkey vulture

Monday, July 19, 2010

Fremont Diner and Ramal Rd. - July 16, 2010

Walking Distance: 2.0 miles (estimate)
Walking Time: 3:16 - 4:46 (1 hr., 30 min.)
Start and End Point: Unpaved shoulder, Ramal Rd., Sonoma/Napa, CA

The first stop today was the Fremont Diner (on Fremont Drive in Sonoma, and shown at right), where I had lunch. This diner is located on the Bay Trail, and made a great meal stop. The only possible hitch, for afternoon walkers is that the Diner closes at 3:00 p.m. most of the time. But, if you arrive earlier for breakfast or lunch, you're in for some great roadhouse food and a fun, casual atmosphere.

After I ate fish, salad, homemade potato chips and potato salad (shown at right), and bought a vanilla creme soda to go, I drove south, down Ramal Road, toward Skaggs Island Road. I walked South and West along Ramal Rd., near Buena Vista vineyards. It was hot, and I appreciated the shade offered from occasional groups of large eucalyptus trees. A pair of red-tailed hawks in one of these trees did not appreciate me walking so closely to their perch, and I was treated to the red-tailed hawk cry/screech -- the same one we've all heard in so many movies and television shows (that is used for off-screen eagles and hawks, and to represent wide open spaces).

Wildlife Sightings:
1 horse; 33 little brown jobs (LBJs); 1 lizard; 7 butterflies; 4 hawks; 3 mockingbirds; 2 swallows; 4 killdeer; 2 flies; 5 ladybugs on white flowers and 2 wasps on white flowers;  and 1 screw.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Skaggs Island Road - July 14, 2010

Walking Distance: 1.3 miles (estimate)
Walking Time: 37 minutes (8:03 - 8:40 p.m.)
Start and End Point: dirt parking area near bridge, boat launching area, Skaggs Island

Earlier today I accidentally walked south of the bridge, onto Skaggs Island itself (area with dotted line). This evening I returned to  walk the "bottom half" of Skaggs Island Road (double yellow line on Bay Trail map segment shown at right). I would have kept going toward Ramal Rd., but the sun set, and there were no street lights in this area.

After walking earlier this afternoon when it was quite hot, it felt wonderful to return later in the evening, when it was cooler and there was a slight breeze. The sun was setting and the light was rosy and golden. It was quiet, except for bug and bird noises. Beautiful.

Wildlife Sightings:
1 ball; 15 little brown jobs (LBJs); 2 ladybugs; 2 killdeer; 10 swallows; 1 dragonfly; and 1 hawk.

Imola, Freeway Dr., Napa - July 14, 2010

Walking Distance: 3.7 miles
Walking Time: 1 hr., 49 min. (5:41 - 7:30 p.m.)
Start and End Point: Parking lot, shopping center at Imola and Jefferson, Napa, CA

This evening I walked from the end of Old Sonoma Road to Freeway Drive (frontage road), and then Imola (aka 121 on this map) across the Maxwell Bridge over the Napa River. When I reached Gasser Drive, I turned around and walked over the bridge and back toward my car. After walking on rural roads and freeways, past pastures and vineyards, this past month, it was great to see some real water again. The Maxwell Bridge is quite massive and yielded a good view of the river and surrounding areas, including a bit of trail by the river I remember walking before.

Most of the birds and wildlife I spotted on this walk were closer
to the river, but there were still interesting things to see during the
rest of the walk. For example, I passed a bakery with nice, sweet smelling white roses (and a statue of a saint). And even a freeway underpass can be interesting occasionally for taking photos. Thankfully, about mid-way during this walk there were some stores where I could purchase some things to eat and drink. It was "only" 90 degrees, but it felt hot.

Wildlife Sightings:
1 white butterfly; 1 rusty screw; 5 little brown jobs (LBJs); 2 ducks flying over Napa River; 2 swallows; 1 dove; 5 Canada geese; and 1 pigeon.

Skaggs Island - July 14, 2010

Walking Distance: 1.5 miles (estimate)
Walking Time: 42 min. (3:30 - 4:12 p.m.)
Start and End Point: Gravel edge of narrow road going all the way out to end (to buildings)

This afternoon I ended up walking on Skaggs Island, inadvertently walked further than intended, on the portion of a road that isn't even shown on this map. It was a continuation of Skaggs Island Road. (Dotted lines indicated a proposed, not an actual trail area.) I thought the Skaggs Island Road trail ended out in the baylands somewhere, and that there was a parking lot at the end. I should have consulted that map again when I drove out there and parked my car. Instead of parking before the bridge, I crossed the bridge (shown) out to Skaggs Island, and couldn't find a parking lot way out there. (A barking dog kept me from going to the locked gate at the very end of the road when I tried walking this stretch.) I found out later that this area used to be part of a naval communications station. I got the feeling I shouldn't be there. And it was hot. So, I didn't stay long.

During my walk, I was impressed by how quiet it was, and how I could hear the birds and bugs around me. I saw a snakeskin on the road (right), but no snakes, and just one lizard that escaped too quickly to be photographed. I did see what I believe was a hawk (an not an osprey) fairly closeby hunting for items in the marshy slough area (see image at right).

Wildlife Sightings:
14 little brown jobs/songbirds; 10 white butterflies/moths; 5 flies; yellow jackets or wasps near possible ground nest -- I didn't want to get close enough to find out; 1 hawk; 1 blackbird; 16 swallows; 2 dragonflies; 1 turkey vulture; 1 lizard; and 1 mockingbird.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Fremont Dr., 8th St. E. to Ramal Rd. - July 11, 2010

Walking Distance: 4.26 miles (2 segments combined)
Walking Time(s):
1.) 49 min. (7:01 - 7:50 p.m.)
2.) 38 min. (7:57 - 8:35 p.m.)
Start and End Point: Parking near The Fremont Diner, 2698 Fremont Drive, Sonoma, CA

From The Fremont Diner, I walked west on Fremont Drive, to 8th Street East, passing a dairy along the way (see image of one of the two cow figures that were stationed at the dairy entrance). Then I walked back (east) to South Central Ave.

I'd planned to eat at The Fremont Diner (with the old truck parked in front, at the intersection of Fremont and South Central Ave.), but diner hours were 7 a.m. (breakfast) to 3 p.m.; so I'll have to plan a return visit, earlier in the day next time. 

So, I decided to do a second walk, by continuing down South Central Ave. I took a left turn on Dale Ave., then a right on Ramal Rd., before returning back to the car. While Fremont Dr. was quite scenic, it also had quite a bit of car traffic. It was nice to wander down quieter roads.

One of the first interesting things I saw when I turned down S. Central Ave. was a large, golden-colored alligator lizard stretched across the road. (See image at right.) There were also the sounds of crickets and birds than I haven't heard much on the highways where I've been walking lately in Sonoma. Those sounds in the grass were nice.

Wildlife Sightings:
5 blackbirds; 37 little brown jobs (LBJs)/songbirds; 10 little black and white cows; 3 swallows; 1 mockingbird; 3 doves; 1 golden-colored California alligator lizard; 12 sheep in distant pasture; 1 domestic cat; 1 crow; and 1 rusty screw.