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California Wine Country

 

 

We arrived in San Francisco Saturday afternoon, and had arranged to stay with a cousin of Roy's in Oakland. (Roy is Susan's husband who like John, was left at home to work, while we played.) We drove up to Napa Sunday and did a loop up through Pope Valley. We picked a motel in Napa as our base for the next two days, and enjoyed a fabulous meal at Bouchon in Yountville that evening. The next morning we woke to rain, and I suggested a hike. We made a few inquiries and evetually decided to head up to Calistoga for a hike at Robert Louis Stevenson State Park. We stopped along the way at a couple of bike shops, and got recommendations for hiking through the Palisades across the road from the park instead. We ended up hiking up Oat Hill Mine Road to the Palisades trail, where we headed toward Table Rock and then out to the road, where we caught a lift back to Calistoga. We hiked about 9 miles with 3600 feet of climbing!


We noticed a few rather large slugs along the way!

 


We also drove away from the rain. The temperatures were still a bit chilly for riding, but perfect for hiking.


Oat Hill Mine Road is a 100 year old track used by miners to bring out flasks of Mercury from the old mine. It now has a large fence to keep the 4 wheelers out. It is listed on many maps as a mountain biking trail, and here it looks relatively benign, but in places had large rocks to manuever around, which combined with the climb must make for quite the challenging mountain bike ride!


The Palisades are volcanic cliffs that serve as nesting grounds for Peregrine Falcons. The trail stays below the rocky outcroppings.


We hiked this trail without a map, based on the recommendations we had received at the bike shops in St Helena and Calistoga. We began to worry we had reached a Cul-de-sac, but look close, it does come back out! This was the toughest day for me. Susan does lots of hiking and had already spent a few weeks hiking in Chile and the Grand Canyon, so this was a easy day for her.