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Off the beaten path on the Wine Trail!

April 28, 2011

When vacationing with the whole family, it can sometimes be difficult to find time to run, bike, hike, etc. This was especially the case during the first part of our trip to Sonoma. Although, I did spend much time researching the trail systems and outdoor recreational areas in Sonoma I did find three parks within proximity of our hotel, Inn at Sonoma. Originally, I had hoped to run at all three locations; Jack London State Park, Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, and Annadelle State Park. All three had a network of trails, roughly thirty minutes from downtown Sonoma. Due to timing, I was only able to do one of these three trails, and chose what I thought would be the more rigorously and beautiful terrain, at what is known to be Sugar Ridge State Park. The trails here are a mixture of single track, double track, and paved trails. The summit of mount balding is the highest destination with about a thousand + feet of climbing. At about 6:00am I left the Inn and was at the trail head at about 6:30am. To access the trails, you had to head north from Sonoma and take the side country road that entered into a small camping area that reminded you of what Sonoma was like before the millions of dollars of wine money came into the area. Off on the shoulder, just before then entrance of the park, is a trail head to the left called Point Gray. It started as a nice smooth single track, that gently climbed but abruptly ended on the Mount Baldy trail, a paved trail, that took this eager eyed trail runner up to the top of the fogged in Mount Baldy. I will admit, the climb was a little more than I had anticipated as far as rigor, but not more than a Wasatch Runner could do. Fortunately, at the submit the road ended and returned to double track route, it was clearly fogged in and precipitated, but the clouds were breaking and you could see, the sun breaking through the sky. I think one of the things I miss most of the east coast, is the lush green vegetation, which is also evident here in the Spring. From the submit, you could see rolling green hills, and a variety of flora unidentified to these foreign eyes. The decent was fun along trails such as gray line, red mountain, Vista, and Meadow View. These trails undulated while descending down the valley and creekbeds back to trail heads. The park’s trails are extremely well-marked and very navigable.

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