Salt Point State Park to Fort Ross State Park

July 6: Sonoma County
Salt Point State Park to Fort Ross State Park

On the 5th for some unexplained reason, we thought that we would be required to cook our own dinner. This is not a terribly onerous task but the result, macaroni and cheese, is absolutely predictable. You can imagine our joy when Penny Porch and Nancy Moreno appeared bearing salad materials, rice and beans, tortillas, and a desert of awesome brownies, hand made ice cream and hand made hot chocolate sauce. Our spirits raised, we built a campfire and sang around it. Some of us stayed up until 9 o’clock!! That’s a good hour past our normal bedtime.

Today we began with two new day walkers and a new trail leader. Day hikers were Emma Mathies and, old hand at many Coastwalks, Michael Rabbitt, who was out on the coast preparing for his day leader work for the upcoming Sonoma County Coastwalk. Our leader for the morning portion of the day was Phil Collins, a retired physician and current resident of the Timber Cove area.

Salt Point State Park and Stillwater Cove Regional Park (Sonoma County) have long needed a trail to connect the two. As it stands now, you need to use Highway 1 to get from one to the other. Currently a trail is being planned to join the two; negotiations continue with a private land holder between the two parks. Anticipating the time when there is a true trail between the two, Phil took us up out of our camp and through Salt Point’s Pygmy Forest — an area whose extremely poor soil means that plants have stunted growth — and through a grassy area known as The Prairie. We then went off official trails and began following a bushwacked trail through the huckleberry. Our quest for Stillwater was thwarted many times by misleading trail ribbons, fallen trees across the path and finally by an indignant hive of yellow jackets which caused the group to scatter for a bit. “J” bore the brunt of their wrath, hemmed in by other hikers as he stood upon the yellow jacket nest. Our adventure ended as we came upon the formal trail system of Stillwater Cove and made our way to the developed area of the park.

After our lunch at Stillwater, we took to the Highway and for perhaps 3 or 4 miles headed south until we reached the north boundary of Fort Ross State Park. Here we quit the road and followed the bluffs to the fort. By that time it was mid afternoon and the winds had picked up considerably. Even with the wind at our backs, and it was, it is absolutely tiring.

The entire Fort Ross park is a jewel; the bluffs and offshore rocks are spectacular, the restored fort gives one a real glimpse of the past. Our one-day here in the wind can only make us appreciate the trials the Russians and the Native Americans went through as they tried to establish this settlement.

We then walked perhaps a mile south of the Fort itself to our destination at Reef Camp. Tucked into a ravine it offers us some protection from the wind. (Jon Breyfogle; photos, Linda Hanes)

Category -
For trail section -