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Nature Index
(My hiking and camping adventures in Northern California.)

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Napa County: Skyline Wilderness Park

20070120 Deer

I read about this park in Top Trails: San Francisco Bay Area, which has a broad definition of what constitutes the Bay Area. I was looking for a low elevation hike that I could do in the winter and one that would be quite a bit closer to Sacramento than the hikes I had been doing at Point Reyes National Seashore. The hike described in the book was shorter than what I wanted to do, it followed a dirt road much of the way, and it was an out and back on the same route hike. But from the map available at the park's website, I was able to plan a longer hike in a loop.

To get to this park, you turn right on Imola Ave. and head east just as your reach the edge of the city of Napa coming from the south. It's right next to the State Hospital, and is formed from land that at one time belonged to the hospital.

From the parking lot, I headed over to Manzanita Trail. The first part of this runs along a chain link fence marking the boundary of the archery area, and there are plenty of warning signs. But before long the trail turns south, crosses a creek, and enters forest. At one point the trail splits, with Toyon Trail paralleling Manzanita Trail to the west, and then rejoining it. Toyon Trail had another such split, with Toyon Creek Trail rejoining Toyon Trail later on. It was my favorite part of the hike--a dark forest with lush growth and green moss on rocks and a creek just off the trail. I don't have any photos to show for it, as I didn't know how to capture the loveliness of such an area in a photograph.

I continued south on the trail as it kept changing names--Marie Creek Trail, then Chaparral Trail, until I got to Lake Marie, the goal of the hike described in the book. I hiked back on Skyline Trail and Buckeye Trail, passing an old house foundation marked on the map close to the lake. I had seen the ruins of some old stone fences earlier. This last portion of the trail was muddy, but occasionally there were great views of the Bay Area to the southwest, which I hadn't been expecting. There were also nice views of the city of Napa.

Somewhere along this trail, I passed quite a few deer, and got the only photo of the hike that I posted on Flickr. But I got quite a few more photos that day.

It was only about a 7-mile hike, and pretty easy, so I went into Napa to walk around and take some more photos and find a Wells Fargo ATM. I had forgotten my lunch in the refrigerator at home, and didn't have enough cash on me to get a meal. I did a lot of walking in town, but never did see a Wells Fargo ATM. So I went to this cool old burger place and asked if they took credit card, and they said no.

20070120 Uptown Theater, 1937
Uptown Theatre in Napa

Frustrated, I drove to Vacaville and used an ATM I knew of there, and then went to Foster's Freeze. Having now walked more than 10 miles and having gone all day without eating, I felt justified in eating a decadent burger.

20070120 The Big Boss
The Big Boss from Foster's Freeze

Hike Summary:

Date: 20 January 2007
Approximate distance: 7 miles
Links: park website

1 comment:

brthomas said...

Wow, your deer photo is definitely a money shot! We saw some deer and wild turkeys when we went hiking at Skyline Wilderness Park, but they never agreed to pose for us like that deer did for you. The sky was cloudy for our hike, but the hills faintly visible in the distance added a little mystery to my long distance landscape photos at Skyline Wilderness Park.

About Me

My photo

I love to learn about, visit, photograph, research, and write about everything that is interesting, unique, and historical about Northern California, and wherever else I should be fortunate enough to find myself.  I've spent many years scouring the roadside in my little car for interesting subjects and walking down hiking trails in the Sierra Nevada and along the coast to get to know the wonder that is Northern California.  I share most of this via photos on Flickr, and as much as time permits me to on my blog, the NorCal Explorer.  Fine art prints of my photos are for sale on Imagekind.