Page 19 - Sonoma County Gazette June 2019
P. 19

     By Roy Tennant
I credit the Sonoma Overlook Trail, and now also the contiguous Montini
 Preserve, for adding years to my life (too early to tell, though). This is because hiking became what I would do for daily cardiovascular exercise.
Since I hate going to a gym, I knew I needed to find a way to be outside and get exercise, so hiking was a natural fit. I started hiking from the Overlook parking lot up to the upper meadow and back, but when the Montini Preserve opened I added that to my routine, making a four mile, 70-minute hike (or less if I run part of it, as I often do).
As this was now my daily routine, I bought wet weather gear so rain wouldn’t stop me. I like hiking in the rain, as I see very few people, but I often see wildlife. One time I took video of a flock of wild turkeys dashing through a downpour. These special moments make life a joy.
After hiking the trail daily for years, I began to have a sense of stewardship toward the trail, and one rainy day I took a shovel with me so I could clear channels to allow rain to flow off the trail sooner. I happened to run into a real volunteer steward, who noted my initiative and invited me to join the stewards group, which I hadn’t known existed.
That’s when I found out that the Sonoma Overlook Trail is
maintained by a volunteer group of stewards (14 at the moment), who hold events to raise money to maintain and improve the trail. Donations are always welcome, and can be made on our web site:
  This year saw the successful completion of a major renovation of the trail, where part of the trail was re-routed and other parts were refurbished to improve hikeability and better water drainage. This took a major effort to seek grants, sign contracts with contractors and monitor their work, and report
on the outcome. The stewards also work on reducing invasive species on the property, such as Scotch broom and Italian thistle. This year it appears that the Yellow Star thistle has been completely eradicated after years of effort.
The Montini Preserve is maintained by the Sonoma Ecology Center and is funded by the City of Sonoma to perform that role. There is no corresponding group of volunteer stewards, although some Overlook stewards volunteer on the Montini as well.
I’ve witnessed both ways of maintaining similar properties, and I have to say that it’s hard to beat a dedicated team of volunteers. All fourteen of the current Overlook Trail stewards bring a different set of skills, experiences, and interests, which means we can cover a lot of ground. Some excel at organizing and putting on events, while others spend time on the physical maintenance of the trail and property and yet others focus on publicity and the web site. We are a team united by a love of the trail and all it offers our community.
Recently I was out on the trail as usual and I ran into the daily hike offered by the The Lodge at Sonoma Renaissance, led by one of their yoga teachers. I greeted Melissa, the hike leader, and she introduced her guests. They were from a few different remote states, and here they were experiencing some of the best natural landscapes that Sonoma County has to offer.
 Perhaps you should too. After all, it’s right in your own backyard.
What do YOU do for cardiovascular exercise? Have you considered dancing? You’ll meet the nicest peope! You don’t
have to already have a partner. Just won’t regret it!
 Sonoma Overlook Trail, 198 1st St W #2, Sonoma
                                                      6/19 - - 19

   17   18   19   20   21