Views, views, views! That was our reward on this lovely 11 mile hike at Jack London State Historic Park. Views for days of Sonoma Valley and San Pablo Bay on a beautiful day after a little rain and clouds dotting the sky like a painting. Our feet were tired but the hubs and I were so excited about what we were able to see it made the last couple miles easier to hike back.
Do you plan your hikes before you go? I like to know a little bit of what I should expect so I can plan for it and leave a little room for being spontaneous or ready for whatever might pop up along the way (like getting lost which seems to happen often). We had planned on pushing ourselves to 9 miles with only a 1,300 foot elevation gain. Well, the trail had other plans for us. They had recently opened up a previously closed off portion of the trail that led to absolutely amazing views of Sonoma Valley vineyards and San Pablo Bay. When we reached the sign we couldn’t pass up going the extra 1.3 miles out to see it. Curiosity got the best of us!
We started the hike at Jack’s Beauty Ranch, hiking passed the silos and along the working vineyard and up the slight grade to London Lake. Along the way we passed by a friendly group on a horseback tour, then through redwoods dripping the morning’s mist on us as we enjoyed the quiet. Switchbacks led us up Sonoma Mountain gently and gave way to views of Hood Mountain and Sonoma Valley through the trees. Not another person in site. Just the hubs and I quietly enjoying the peacefulness away from the city.
Then we reached the shiny new sign that showed we could go just a little further and get to the point previously blocked off. We didn’t take long to decide to go just a little further and cross through the private property easement to the most amazing views we have seen. I know, I know I say that a lot but we are so very lucky to be able to experience such beauty it still amazes me each time we get to experience it! I feel so grateful to the nice people that opened up their land to us hikers that love and respect the land. Sonoma County hikers are seriously the best…there’s no trash on the trails and people seem to really respect nature. One of the things we love about living here.
Once we reached the end of the trail we snapped several pics and paused for a moment to take it all in….then the hike back began. We were doing great tracing our steps back until our app said we hit 10 miles. Then I asked permission to complain. We had drank all our water, my feet hurt and I was just plain tired. We kept our spirits up knowing we were almost there and a cool shower and a glass of wine was not too far away. It was all worth it and we were even planning our next hike while we were pooped!
Thought I would link this post to the Weekly WordPress Photo Challenge, where they challenged us to photograph something from multiple angles. The valley was definitely photographed from several points along the trail and I truly believe any way you look at it, it is beautiful. Check out more amazing photos of fellow bloggers here!