Laguna de Santa Rosa & Hike at Armstrong Woods

The Laguna de Santa Rosa currently has plenty of water for paddling. I got an early start. A local couple who had never paddled here before were already there, busy inflating their canoe/kayak. I told them to keep an eye out for submerged barbed wire fencing as they went.

Lake Sebastopol was peaceful under a bright blue cloudless sky.

Cormorants have begun to appear in the rookery tree near Delta Pond for the 2017 spring breeding season. They appeared to have just arrived recently.

Doublecrested Cormorant

I was able to paddle north almost to Guerneville Road, which is about as far as you can get before impenetrable thickets of brush block further progress. There is abundant peaceful pastoral scenery surrounding this seasonal lake.

When I returned at least a dozen fellow paddlers had arrived to explore these ephemeral waters.

A dozen cars or more

I was home in time for lunch and an afternoon hike in Armstrong Woods.

It was good to see and hear so much water in the creeks. The Redwoods, Firs, Tanoaks, and other tree and plants seemed to have had their thirst slaked and are feeling good as California’s long drought has relented for now.


Hike Today, Paddle Tomorrow

My wife and I hiked nearly 8 miles through the southern reaches of Annadel Park this afternoon. Very few others out there today, maybe because so much water ran down the trails. Waterproof hiking boots were essential to comfortable feet.

Ledson Marsh

Short video of the Marsh.

Plan for tomorrow is a paddle on the Laguna de Santa Rosa. Launching at 8:30 from Occidental Road. Estuarian readers are invited to join. There should be plenty of water.

Rain Fills Laguna Again

Lake Sebastopol February 9, 2017

Rains have filled the Laguna once again.

Sanford Road is closed. I took a short video from the southern edge of the road closure to show the extent of the flooding and the size of Lake Sebastopol. You’ll see that, again, someone tried their luck at driving across the water with regrettable results.

Laguna Full, Estero Emptying

More than two inches of rain fell last night filling the Laguna de Santa Rosa. I decided to take a tour of West Sonoma County to check on local estuarine waters. My tour took me all the way to the coast where I took my daily constitutional. Several roads are closed due to flooding. I had to follow several detours around roads closed by flooding streams.

There was enough water to inundate Sanford Road. The part of the Laguna I call “Lake Sebastopol” is now paddleable again.

Laguna at Occidental Road Bridge

The Estero Americano is  swollen with runoff. Here is a one-minute video showing the launch area. A noticeable current is flowing under the bridge, more than I have ever seen before. If you’re wondering about the voices you’re hearing, it’s the sheep ranchers across Marsh Road calling their flock for the late afternoon feeding.

With more rain forecast to fall in the next three days we may see more local flooding.

Stay tuned for updates.

Richardson Bay, January 31, 2017

Weather forecasts predict rainy weather soon. I was hoping to get one more estuarine outing in January.

Lyrinda emailed me to suggest a Richardson Bay outing on today’s midday high tide and in light northeast winds. I had not visited Richardson Bay since my trip with nephew John back in August, 2016.

Soon after starting we passed a snoozing Pelican.

Pelican on Piling

Many animals rest near the yachts and houseboats along Sausalito’s shore. They are accustomed to human spectators and learn to tolerate curiosity and cameras.

Lyrinda approaching a flotilla of Harbor Seals

Many harbor seals haul out on docks and logs and rafts.

Just a few of many scores of seals

North of here, where I usually paddle, hunting is common. Birds won’t let a paddler get within 200 feet.

Here, near the marinas, it’s a different story. This Western Grebe didn’t seem alarmed even though it was within about 30 feet of the camera.

Western Grebe

Cormorants were abundant.

Cormorant looking for herring, probably.

Eight or more Great Blue Herons stood watch under the Highway 101 bridge that crosses over Richardson Bay. The last of the flooding current carried us slowly toward them. Paddles resting across cockpits, cameras busy, we floated by, very near them.

Great Blue Heron under the 101 bridge

We paddled toward Mill Valley to E. Blithedale Ave. In the marshes of Bayfront Park we saw many shorebirds.

Aptly named Greater Yellowlegs

Least Sandpipers (I think.)

Least Sandpiper? This bird bobbed its tail in a distinctive way.

And many other birds as well—Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Canada Geese, and others.

On the way back we picked our way among the many houseboats of Waldo Point. We paddled for three hours and covered a little more than nine miles.

Great Blue at Waldo Point, Sausalito

If you need to escape the dizzying dismay of your daily newsfeed—as I do—I recommend getting outside in nature and looking into the eyes of wild things.

A map of our journey: