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!
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.