Lake Sonoma’s Yorty Creek

We are a Lake family. Tom and I raised our kids practically on Lake Sonoma, specifically the Yorty Creek recreational area. Every chance we could get we would hang out on the beach, by the lake with our kids and our dog. The kids grew up out there. We brought grandparents, cousins, friends, visitors. Everybody we were close to, had to come with us to the lake; where we played, swam, kayaked and picnicked for days on end.

Back on April of 2010 we were coming out of, I will say a mini-drought. I wrote a blog post with pictures of the lake under drought conditions, but was happy to report in the same post that there was plenty of water from the latest storms for our summer adventures by the water.

Not this year though. Never in 26 years have I seen the lake…empty. It’s dry, ugly, murky and pretty much looks like the dead sea. We walked along the dry, barren cliffs, kicking around dust and clods of dirt. Finding fresh water clams, of course dead. We were actually I think stunned, silent and just walking, each one of us in our own world of thoughts. Disoriented even, the landscape looked that different! Wondering what happened? Where was our beautiful lake? Where is the water? Why hasn’t it rained? Even the sporadic green bushes were gone. We tried fishing it to no avail. Weary hunters passed us by silently, looking like they too were disheartened by the whole day.

We are in a serious drought. I realized standing there, how we must never take our water for granted. How we need to thank God for it. How we really need to do a rain dance and pray for rain. This lake is our drinking supply and for our farming and wine industry. We have a fish hatchery connected to the lake and annual spawning, salmon runs. This year is really, bad. What will happen to us if we don’t get rain next year? I couldn’t bare to think past that… This is a depressing post, I know. But, the reality of it all is there and posted here for you to see.

IMG_5062 IMG_5054 IMG_5090 IMG_5089 IMG_5083 IMG_5104 IMG_5093 IMG_5098

Advertisements

Laguna de Santa Rosa

Driving your kids to school  isn’t so bad when you have views like this! Laguna de Santa Rosa is gorgeous and ever-changing with the weather and seasons. These two photos are on my list for me to paint and sketch with charcoal!

20120402-170736.jpg

Sugarloaf Mountain

                           

                   

Last weekend for my daughter’s birthday we took a trip to Sugar Loaf Ridge State Park off Highway 12 in Kenwood,Ca. Spring is the perfect time of year to visit as the weather was just right! Hiking, picnicking, stargazing at the Robert Ferguson Observatory, and camping are fun activities available at the park. I noticed some campers braved the still, chilly nights and pitched their tents along the stream, but the best reason to visit the park in spring is to catch the wildflowers in bloom! The tall, willowy grasses are green this time of year, blanketing the hills and splashed with colorful wild flowers lining the trails that meander throughout the park. Deep shades of purple lupin, pale yellow lilies and pretty white faces of yarrow and California poppies are throughout the park, to name a few. http://www.calflora.org/ Dogs are not allowed on the trails so my dog and I had fun moseying along the road, photographing the wildflowers while the teenagers hung out at the picnic table chatting; too cool to walk with me I guess! The road leads to the Robert Ferguson Observatory where you can stargaze. http://www.rfo.org I could see the California Mule Deer grazing on the grassy mountains in the distance while I was enjoying the view. When you visit here, you are lower on the food chain, so be aware of your surroundings as mountain lions could be lurking! This is a perfect place to start your summer “hot bod” by hiking straight up the trail to the top of Bald Mountain! If you are super fit then park your car before the park entrance at the trail head that leads to a gorgeous waterfall. (I can never find the parking turnout and trail head so just drive up and ask the ranger). Once you find the pullout and trail head, hike down the mountain to the waterfall which takes you to a magical place lush with green ferns, moss and a beautiful canopy of trees. I think I just saw a leprechaun…moment. Bring your camera and take your family’s next Christmas photo here to send to your friends! Pack your lunch as you will want to hang out awhile before you make the steep climb back up. (I suggest you have your heart checked out first with your doctor before you do this hike!) Also, In the summer there might not be a waterfall, as the creek that feeds it gets low, so ask the ranger first before you go! This is a State Park and has a fee. Click http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=481 for more information. Have fun!

Spring Lake

On Friday, I decided to walk somewhere else for a change rather than my usual route. I try to walk every day and like to mix up the routine once in a while so I don’t get bored. (That way I’ll keep exercising to stay healthy!) It had been a long time since I visited Spring Lake in Santa Rosa. After taking the kids to school, getting some coffee, (extra energy boost) and a protein breakfast (Dr.’s orders) my dog, Goldie, and I set off for the lake. Now, mind you, it’s early Friday morning, middle of winter, I’m thinking it will be quiet, no one will be there.. Nooo such luck! I was surprised to see so many cars in the parking lot during the wee hours of the morning! There are three different entrances to the park. I chose the Howarth Memorial Park entrance which has free parking. Goldie and I joined the ranks of fellow dog walkers, joggers, bicyclists, mothers pushing strollers- folks of all ages walking. I couldn’t believe how many people were there! Don’t people work on Fridays anymore? My dog and I took the paved pathway named Kerfoot trail. The pathway route I took winds to the right by the water towers after a small incline, and heads toward the campground and then turns left down to the boat dock, around the loop and back to Howarth Park. In all, it’s only about a three mile walk, unless you take a side trail. Please refer to map so you don’t get lost! There are lots of dirt trails, so definitely bring a map if you decide to go off the beaten path. I brought my camera, which I had planned, and took tons of pictures of the beautiful lake, landscapes, and wildlife. Years ago I almost got stampeded upon by a herd of deer running through the woods and I didn’t have my camera with me so now I am always camera ready! Spring lake is beautiful, the jewel of Santa Rosa. The lake’s surface sparkled like silver in the sunlight. I found my peaceful space amongst the other people enjoying the park and took lots of pictures. The trail usually takes about an hour or less, but if you are like me you will want to putts around, enjoy the views, play, meditate and pray! (There is a big white cross on the mountain over looking you to remind you!) I love living in Sonoma County and know how Blessed we are to have this wonderful park in our own backyard. If you go you will want to spend more than an hour. If you are energetic you can fish, boat, catch crawdads, bird watch or swim in the lagoon next to the lake. Camping is also fun at Annadel state park, which is connected to Spring Lake Regional Park.
Bring your family and friends and have a picnic. I try to avoid the crowds so weekdays work best for me! 😉 Have fun!





                                                        




         

http://www.sonoma-county.org/parks/pdf/maps/spring_lake.pdf

Saralee’s Vineyard

Last summer we moved close to my old stomping grounds. I happily discovered, that you can walk through the vineyard off an old country lane and you can bring your dog! So part of my walking route usually incorporates the vineyard and it’s bounty of wildlife, which my dog loves. This is where the wild turkeys like to hangout, which I talked about in an earlier post last fall. It’s a pretty, little area and a good place to calm the mind and ponder life. Thank you, Saralee for letting us enjoy the vineyard!