My new favorite place to run

Helen PutnamMy new favorite place to run

A jackrabbit, snake, lots of geckos, a horse and a parrot. My Friday morning run through Helen Putnam was as beautiful as always. Only 3 miles or so, but lots of verticals, and an interesting assortment of wildlife!

It was a perfect way to start the weekend, and a great warm-up for our long hike at Mt. Tam on Saturday.

Above the fog line

The beauties of Sonoma Mountain at sunset….from Meg’s point of view.

A horse trailer on the side of the road, with a sunset view of the valley down below.

A horse trailer on the side of the road, with a sunset view of the valley down below.

Sonoma Mountain Road at sunset.

Sonoma Mountain Road at sunset.

Sonoma Mountain, From Mom’s Camera

After a beautiful morning hike in Helen Putnam Park, and an afternoon of wine tasting in Sonoma Valley, we ended our day of girl bonding by driving up the Western slope of Sonoma Mountain to watch the sunset. It was a stunning view.

Barn on Sonoma Mountain Road

Barn on Sonoma Mountain Road

It’s a rough and windy road going up the side of the mountain, but all the views along the way are incredible. From rustic barns to glowing valleys to old fences, it’s a beautiful way to end the day.

Sonoma Mountain Road at sunset

Sonoma Mountain Road at sunset

Happy sun-setting.

 

HP: From Meg’s Point of View

With Mum visiting for a few days from Kansas City, I wanted to show her some of my favorite places to run and hike. Helen Putnam Regional Park is one of those places. On a beautiful Saturday morning, we parked the Jeep and headed out with our cameras.

Helen Putnam Regional Park

Looking through the trees at the trails beyond, Mum thought this trail looked like an old path for the wagons venturing into the west during the California Gold Rush.

Tree at Helen Putnam Regional Park

This was such a funky tree. Its branches dipped all the way down to the ground, and its knotty trunk had a whole family of geckos. Such an interesting site.

Trails at Helen Putnam Regional Park

This is a great shot of the trails at HP. I love running here, or walking with the kids, or just going up and taking in the views. It is such an amazing treasure here in Petaluma. One of the many reasons I love living in beautiful California.

Walking In Helen Putnam Park, Mom’s Camera

Family travel always involves exploring the environment around us. Northern California is a perfect destination for discovering new and wonderful places.  On a recent visit to see Meg, we put on our walking shoes and, with cameras in hand, hiked and drove through the wonderful countryside in Sonoma County.

Our first hike focused on Helen Putnam Park, located just west of Petaluma.  The park includes 216 acres of grasslands and forests.  In late April, the wildflowers were in bloom throughout the park.  The well-worn walking paths and old wagon roads could easily have been formed during the years of the California 1849 gold rush, when pioneers flocked into Petaluma from the Northeast.

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We watched this woman happily make her way over the hill and around the bend in the path.

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Home to geckos and birds, this gnarled old tree seemed timeless.

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This old barn can be seen from the entry way to Helen Putnam Park.

Savannah Trail

The trails of Helen Putnam Park are among my favorite places to explore. This beautiful space is on the west side of Petaluma, about 15 minutes across town from our house. There are over 200 acres of hills, trees, meadows and trails.

While Mum was visiting last weekend, we took a walk along Panorama Trail, which then meets up with the Savannah Trail. I love these shots. The trees are beautiful, with grass and wildflowers aplenty.

Helen Putnam Regional Park

Helen Putnam Regional Park

“But…everyone is going to think we live on a farm!”

Jake and I live on the east side of Petaluma. Typically, I think of the east side as being more “suburban” and boring. There’s not as much character, it’s mostly residential, and there really isn’t much for people to do over here besides go to the grocery store, the park, or go for a run along the outer running/walking path. However, one of my favorite things about being where we live is that we’re just a few minutes walk to the edge of town, which means open spaces and beautiful views.

For Valentine’s Day this year, I decided I wanted to be in charge of our plans. The result was a yummy picnic for two, set up on the hill about a 10-min. walk from our house. It was perfect. The weather was gorgeous, the sun shining, nearly 70 degrees, and we got to our spot in plenty of time to have our picnic and do some people-watching before sunset. Naturally, I took my camera along.

While these pictures are not as magnificent of my shots of the coastline, they give you a very good sense of why I love living close to the edge of this side of town. When I showed Jake the two pictures I was going to use for this post, his response was, “but…everyone is going to think we live on a farm!” Well, I assure you, we don’t live on a farm, but the cows are a nice touch!

We had our picnic here, looking west towards our neighborhood. If you look closely, you can see the houses back behind the tree. This is right at the edge of town.

We had our picnic here, looking west towards our neighborhood. If you look closely, you can see the houses back behind the tree. This is right at the edge of town.

This is right along the fence line at the east edge of town, about 30 feet from our picnic. My favorite running path goes right along the fence for about a half mile before meeting back with the walking path.

This is right along the fence line at the east edge of town, about 30 feet from our picnic. My favorite running path goes right along the fence for about a half mile before meeting back with the walking path.

Hope you all had a wonderful and happy Valentine’s Day!