Trail Reviews

Walking the Kortum Trail

The 1972 Coastal Initiative was a landmark in coastal protection for California (and the US) as an expression by the public of their devotion to this magnificent coastline of California. The Kortum Trail, so named in honor of Bill Kortum, a dedicated advocate on behalf of public access to the California coastline, is a small section in Sonoma County of the California Coastal Trail (CCT).  The path runs parallel to, and in between, Highway 1 and the Pacific Ocean, from Goat Rock Beach to Wright’s Beach, with Shell Beach in between. The state park is a series of sandy beaches that are separated by rocky 100-foot bluffs and headlands. The craggy coastline includes secluded coves, reefs, fertile tidepools, rugged headlands, natural rock arches, sand dunes, and wildflower-covered meadows. ...

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Pierce Point Ranch

Many folks call it Pierce Point Ranch, named after the largest of four ranches in the 1800s, which made use of the Point Reyes peninsula. Prior to the ranching settlements, the Miwoks were stewards of this land, although this particular stretch was far too windy for villages. Some just call it the Point, which is as visceral a name as one could acquire. The land cuts north, flanked by the Pacific and Tomales Bay; it’s as if you’re walking on a land bridge carved by time, whale songs and sky. I can’t help but think of it as the Tulle Elk Reserve, and indeed this is one of the only places that you can see these great beasts that were the region’s dominant grazers until the ranchers came in and nearly wiped them out. Sensibility and 1970’s environmentalism won out, and eventually they were reintroduced and protected. When you first see a Tulle Elk, especially if you’re used to smaller and more delicate ungulates like our local mule deer, ...

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Details in the Landscape

West County Regional Trail Maybe it’s the slanted light cutting through the willows of the Atascadero Marsh Ecological Reserve, or perhaps it’s the call of geese fading across the spring evening sky, but there is something inherently nostalgic about this four-mile long rail-to-trail stretch of the West County Regional Trail. We use this particular trail when we want to go easy and be transported by sweetness of cutting through farmlands and open space. We always begin our walk across from the Post Office in downtown Graton, an easy meeting place.  If we walk from Graton to Forestville, we’ll cover four miles. We’ll pass through farms, vineyards, and open spaces. Our first jump off the trail happens when we walk west less than a quarter of a mile along Green Valley Road, but once we drop back on the trail, we cross the bridge and enter the wetlands. ...

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