We will only take a quick break on this hike so we can get back and have the afternoon to do other things.
Not much elevation gain here (approximately 300'), so a change of pace from many of our more vertical hikes.
The hike starts on a fire road skirting the edge of a marsh. The initial stretch of trail is partially shaded by California bay, coast live oak, buckeye, and black oak (note: poison oak thrives in this preserve; if you don't know what it looks like, I'll point it out if I see some). After a few minutes of walking north and east, traffic sounds from 101 become muted. The trail follows the contour of the marsh, and is almost completely level for quite a bit of it, making it an easy stroll. Be prepared - in the winter and spring, the fire road reportedly gets very muddy, with some standing water covering the trail at times. There is a mix of shady and sunny on this hike.
We are likely to see a variety of birds as we wander; everything from hawks and vultures to egrets and cranes, red-winged blackbirds, sandpipers, and various waterfowl. Deer are often sighted along these trails, as are coyote paw prints in the sand.
Directions to the trail head:
- From US 101 exit San Marin Drive/Atherton Avenue in Novato.
- Go east on Atherton Avenue about 0.2 mile
- Take the first left onto Binford Road.
- Drive about 0.2 mile and park on either side of the road near the open space gate.
FOR car pools ...we have a change. Please document your car pool info in your RSVP comments, NOT the general comments below. That will eliminate many msgs to the hike attendees. Car pool etiquette- Come prepared to drive, be aware that there may be no others wanting to car pool from your selected location or there might be a lot of people and everyone might want to ride. We determine who gets the rider seats by who has most recently been a driver in the past. This is worked out based by who shows up at the car pool location. We can't guarantee anyone a seat because we never know until that day who will show up. We do our best to work it out and make everyone happy but we need everyone to pitch in and help make it work!
Then PLEASE if possible try to use the two locations below. The more locations we have the less effective we are and it's so much more complicated. Exceptions would be if you are not close to either location.
Car pool locations:
Coddingtown Library parking lot suggested leave at 8:35
Petaluma-Lucky at the intersection of Lakeville and Caulfield Ln. Park closest to Payran St. suggested leave by 9:05
General room of thumb...$5 one hour or less to trailhead $8 over one hour to trailhead Please insist your driver accept the money. It's to cover more than gas money...it's the wear and tear on the vehicle. We like to take care of our drivers!
Please read and be familiar with the guidelines of the group as listed below. It’s important before you come on a Wanderer hike that you agree and are prepared with the following.
- We combine enjoyment of the trail with respect for everyone’s time. A steady pace and we just keep going! If you are in the lead you will end up waiting at trail junctions. If you are in the back you will be asked to do your best to keep up with the group and at waiting points the group may move on as soon as you are within sight. Our pace averages 2.5mph. We do get separated from time to time as everyone walks their own pace but please bear in mind that you will need to be able to stay within a reasonable distance of the group. If this doesn't work for you, you will be provided with a map so you can take pleasure in the trail at your own pace. Make sure this is something you are prepared for and would enjoy.
- Please always check your email the night before just in case there are any necessary adjustments. Cancellations or any adjustments will be posted by 10pm the previous evening.
- Give yourself time to find the trail head so that you arrive prior to the scheduled time. That is the time we head out on the trail. It would be disappointing to miss having you on the hike due to late arrival. You will be left behind if you are not ready to head out at the hike start time.
- Wear comfortable hiking shoes with good rugged soles that are well broken in.
- Duration: 2.5-3 hours
- Facilities: None
- Dogs?: Well behaved on leash welcome.
- Bring plenty of water. More than one bottle is usually a good idea.
- Dress in layers.
- Bring a snack. We DO NOT have a lunch break because we will be finished with the hike by about 12:30. But we will stop for about 10 minutes for a quick break about half way.
- Bring your smile and great attitude! Once again....this is not about finishing the hike in record time...it's about enjoying ourselves and the outdoors! If you are a fast hiker you will be waiting for those of us that huff and puff our way up the trail. If you are a slow hiker you will find that we head off up the trail as soon as you catch up with the group. Please make sure this is something that you will enjoy! We are ALL about trail enjoyment while respecting everyone’s time!
See you on the trail!