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Published: August 12th 2013
HIKE DATE: 8-11-13, Sonoma Regional Park
The Daily Dose
People don’t always have the time or opportunity to get outside every day. That is why I created The Daily Dose. The Daily Dose is a glimpse into nature, keeping you in touch with the out of doors until you get out in it yourself. The Daily Dose may include a story, or, at minimum, a couple beautiful pictures of Outside. As you look at each picture, I encourage you to engage your senses. Imagine what it might smell like there. Is it a redwood forest? Eycalyptus? Then imagine the temperature. Does it look hot? Breezy? Really take a step outside and get your Daily Dose!
This little park is one of the best parks in the valley in that it really has something for everyone. If you’re not ready for hills and dirt, there is a paved path with very little elevation change, running from the Arnold entrance to the Hwy 12 entrance. It’s approximately ¾ mile each way. It is a pretty walk through trees and some open space.
This is a dog and horse friendly park and you will mostly likely encounter dogs, particularly on the paved path, and also the main train around the reservoir. Parking is free from the Arnold Drive entrance, but you must either pay or have a county park pass to park on the Hwy 12 side.
Getting off the pavement, the perimeter trail running around the reservoir is relatively flat, which is rare in Sonoma. It is easily accessible with only a couple hills which are on nice wide fire roads. Sonoma Valley Regional also has a tremendous amount of steep uphill options as well, if you’re looking for that. The park is not very big, but has a multitude of criss-cross
trails presenting varying degrees of difficulty, making it the perfect destination for your workout.
I like to park at the Eldridge Farm, also free, and walk in from the entrance which is directly across the street. And it’s fun to say Hi to the animals at the farm after a walk, time permitting. To get to Eldridge farm from Arnold Drive, turn right on Haven as you enter Sonoma Developmental Center. The speed limit is 15 mph so heads up. Go over the bridge, straight through 2 stop signs, over the small hill and the farm is on your right. Approx. ½ mile once you turn right from Arnold.
I pull up and a gal is working her horse in the arena. I put my boots on and watch for a few minutes. The horse looks tired, but is responsive. Okay, time to hit the trail. Once inside the gate I make a sharp left. I haven’t gone this way a long time. The trail runs along the fence line in exposed, hot, grassland. For some reason I wore shorts today and I can feel the dead grass plucking at my legs.
There is junk on this
trail. An old rusted out car frame, smashed and twisted to half its original size. Further on, there’s a pile of unrecognizable rusted steel. The path turns upward and soon I’m at the southwest set of water towers. There’s a nice view of the farm from here. Well, what goes up must go down, so here we go. The trail brings me back down to the reservoir, but as I descend, I see a deer trail that cuts straight up through the grass once I hit the bottom. Like I said, if you feel like you want a little more, this small park has the options available for you!
I’m down the hill, heading past the trail marker and up and off trail. A couple of joggers go by on the main trail. This isn’t much of a deer trail at all, and pocketed with snake holes. Tickle, tickle, wish I had pants on. It wasn’t on the agenda, but you never know when you’re going to find yourself bushwacking. So always better to be prepared, live and learn. It’s steep. And this is great! It’s exactly where I want to be.
The “trail” disappears so I just
head straight up. Eventually I come out on the main trail as I knew I would. And who is almost there? The joggers! I beat them up the hill just by the taking the path of least resistance, straight up.
Further along the trail I look back for my last view of the reservoir before it disappears out of sight. The light is shining on the Spanish moss hanging from the trees. Moving slowing on the breeze, reminding me of hammocks and lazy days.
I head northeast, which eventually leads to the Hwy 12 entrance. Looking north, the view is fantastic! Looking south, you get a sweet view of the valley. There are benches here and there positioned at nice vantage points if you’re the type that likes to stop and sit.
Back down the hill past the little pond, my walk is almost over. Until I spy another small trail that heads straight back up another steep hill! My body is warmed up and could use just a little more, so I turn right. This is a nice steep hill through oak and scrub and it’s shaded. When I get near the top the trail becomes
thick with manzanita. I duck down and push through the last bit and now I’m back on the main trail.
Once I’m back at the car, I decide to stop in at the farm to see what’s going. There are a few families here having picnics, visiting with the little miniature ponies. I head for the barn to see which kitties are around and maybe see if I can find Gretchen. The white one is there when I walk in and has so very much to stay!
I go further into the barn and see Carlo feeding the animals. I also see an old turkey. “Is that Gretchen?” I ask him? Sure enough it is! Gretchen is a friendly turkey that lives on the farm and she is very old. Once I came here and she walked right up to me like a dog, wanting to be petted. But the next time I saw her she didn’t want to be touched.
Just then, Carlo reaches down and tries to pet Gretchen but she quickly scoots away. I asked him about it and he said that her behavior is instinctual and seasonal. Not personal. In spring she will
be more friendly, getting that lovin’ feelin’, and the rest of the year, not so much. He demonstrates by trying to pet her again and she walks off, reiterating that she is friendly, it just has to be the right time.
I walk down the stalls and see who else is around. The rabbits are in their cages. There’s a parrot continuously saying “HELLO” and three or four other words. I get to the last stall in the little barn, and find Mr. Hog. Snoozing away on his soft bed of hay. He is fast asleep and snoring like nobody’s business! I don’t know, but being around a snoring pig brings about a special feeling of relaxation..
I turn back and see Gretchen still hanging out in the barn. I kneel down and ask her if I can take her picture. Not only does she say yes, but she sidles over to me and scoots around behind me, pressing up against my body from the back. Ohh, somebody is playing a little coy eh? She’s testing me out. I give her some loving strokes on her feathers and tell her how beautiful she is. She is so soft!
Well, she seems pretty comfortable and eventually my knees start getting tired from squatting so I turn around and ease myself onto the barn floor, risking spooking her with my movement, but wanting a more comfortable position. Nope. She too, seems to be settling in. Literally.
She lifts her body up, and I hear the scrape of her feathers on the concrete as she nestles down onto the ground. She’s sitting on top of her legs now, able to receive her attention in a more comfortable position. I am the Turkey Whisperer! I stroke her and love her and coo to her, telling her she is amazing and beautiful, which she is!
The patterns on her feathers are spectacular. I notice them and think of my Garden Charms, in the most innocent of manner of course. Carlo has given me a couple of Gretchen’s feathers before to use in my charms.
The noises she makes are strange. Or maybe it’s just her breathing, but it almost sounds like she’s choking. She’s clearly fine and enjoying herself, but the sounds are weird. Her eyes start to close as she relaxes further.
I take a few pictures
of her, then put my camera away so I can focus all my attention on the rubs she so clearly wants. Suddenly her eyes popp open and she made a loud squeak! Then she slowly opens her wings and holds them there. A splendid display and easier access for me to continue with my turkey massage.
Well, time passes and it becomes clear to me that Miss Gretchen will stay right here all day if I will, but I have things to do. So I thank her and head on my merry way. It’s been another great day on the trail!
I hope you enjoyed this version of The Daily Dose!
(There are additional photos to enjoy at the bottom of this post – Many pictures of Gretchen in her various states of BLISS!! )
Please feel free to share this blog with anyone you feel benefit from a little Daily Dose! Below is the link to my custom jewelry website with some great pieces inspired by nature, as well as tons of free photography downloads of – Nature!! www.chellesjewelry.org
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