Let's explore Willow Creek Annex some more. From Freezeout Flat parking lot we'll walk up hill and down dale for approx. 8 miles, with 2,000' elevation gain.
**First, we'll go to Duncans Mills at 9:50 to squeeze into two cars. We'll meet in the parking lot of the State Parks Russian River Dist. Office, just down the way from Gold Coast Bakery. Turn right, when entering the parking area, and find us at the western end of the lot near the caboose, where we'll leave cars. (Cal St. Parks Dist. Office, 25385 Steelhead Blvd.)
Willow Creek is part of the Sonoma Coast State Park, but is currently managed by Land Paths as a People Powered Park. Access to the park is by permit only, so this event will be limited to a total of 10. PLEASE only RSVP if you feel certain that you'll be attending.
Taking the Islands in the Sky trail, we'll have a steady climb to roughly 1,000' elevation, after which we'll descend gradually on the Upper Barn Trail, until we reach Willow Creek Road at 104' elevation at the valley floor. For about a mile we'll follow the dirt road to reach Lower Old Barn Trail, which will take us back up to the ridge. We'll eat lunch in the grass near the big fern-covered fir tree -- not to be confused with the one on Red Hill! The return trip on Island in the Sky Loop Trail will be virtually all downhill.
Expect the hike to take approx. 4 hours, if we keep to the Wanderers' 2.5 mph. However, please bear in mind that this is an exploratory hike that may surprise us with unforeseen details. Come with ample enthusiasm and your most adventuresome spirit.
A map of the park can be found here: http://www.landpaths.org/media/81501/final_2013_willowcreekmap_color_letter.pdf
Please post your carpool plans on the "location-specific" thread, in the comments.
• Santa Rosa - Coddingtown Library parking lot, suggested departure at 9:00 am.
• Petaluma - Lucky's at the intersection of Lakeville and Caulfield Ln. Park closest to Payran St., suggested departure at 8:45 am.
• Forestville Park & Ride lot, corner of River Rd. and Mirabel Rd., suggested departure 9:15.
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.
• Carpooling room of thumb...contribute $5 one hour or less to trailhead, $8 over one hour to trailhead. Please insist that your driver accept the money. It's to cover more than gas: it's also for the wear & tear on the vehicle and the driver's effort. We like to take care of our drivers!
• Be prepared to drive, because you may not always have an option to carpool.
• Facilities: Public restroom in Duncan's Mills, between Gold Coast Bakery and the little post office. No facilities at Willow Creek, so please plan accordingly.
• Bring a snack and/or lunch. We'll stop for lunch in the latter part of the hike, so you may want to bring a snack that you can get to while walking. And please don't skip breakfast!
• Dogs?: Not allowed on Willow Creek trails
• Bring plenty of water. More than one bottle is usually a good idea. Dress in layers, as the weather out near the coast can change rapidly.
• Wear comfortable, sturdy footwear.
We combine enjoyment of the trail with respect for everyone’s time. We keep 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. At waiting points the group may move on just as soon as you are within sight. Our pace averages 2.5 mph. 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 from the group. Make sure this is something you are prepared for and will enjoy.
Please always check your email the night before just in case there are any necessary adjustments. Cancellations are usually posted by 10pm the previous evening.
Please don’t RSVP unless you sincerely plan to attend. If you RSVP, we expect you to be there, or to change your RSVP by 5:00 PM the prior evening.
We are all about trail enjoyment, while respecting everyone’s time. Give yourself time to find the trailhead, as the posted time is when we head out on the trail. It would be disappointing to miss the hike due to late arrival. Those who are not ready to head out at the hike start time may be left behind.
Please bring your smile and a positive attitude. :-)
* Some of us will want to stop at Gold Coast Bakery in Duncans Mills, before heading home. Arrangements should be discussed between people who ride in the same car together.
REMEMBER: Weather conditions at/near our coast can change rapidly, so dress in layers. :-)