Petaluma, Hiker’s Paradise!

Having grown up in Petaluma any excuse to visit is a good one!  Having my dad here from Oregon is just such an occasion. Up at 6 am, coffee made and consumed, coats and gloves packed, and we’re off to walk my dad’s favorite trail…this time even my husband came along for the early morning wandering! Good thing too…do you know how irritating it is to try and take a nice fast walk with a photographer who stops every few feet – at least they had each other…sorry dad! First stop, Schollenberger Park…home to numerous birds including my favorite: the swans!  Come see!

The trails are wide and comfortable to walk. Look on one side and the water is gorgeous and glistening, look the other way and you see barges and machinery-not as picturesque but interesting!

It must have been low tide while we were there – the main ” lake” was full but the other side of the trail was a barren mud flat with a beauty all it’s own…

Wish we’d seen the little guys that made all those tracks! How’d they do that and not sink!

Kind of looks like a moonscape don’t you think?  The back lighting made for some wonderful shimmery shots…

Which this turkey vulture must have enjoyed watching since he barely turned to look as we walked by!

And then I saw one…a lovely swan up close and not out in the middle of the lake with the rest. His  long graceful neck buried in the water searching for tidbits to eat, I had to wait a while to get a picture with his head above water!

He doesn’t look happy to have us interrupt his search for breakfast! Note the rich colors made possible by the early morning light…at noon this would not be the same!

Walking along  we found benches placed for a timely rest….  We kept walking and noticed the swans were headed in our direction…..yeah!!

Now pause a moment….that’s it…. begin to hum the music from Swan Lake…. now scroll down and enjoy some shots of these lovely birds….Mute Swans, according to the guide… Do you hear the music? Good….proceed and enjoy…..

I hate to interrupt the music but don’t you love how his wings lifted in the beautiful swan pose!!!

From their long graceful necks to their silky feathers the swans at Schollenberger Park are lovely to behold!  (Don’t get too close though…they have a mean hiss!)

Since dad loves hiking and the outdoors we decided to check out another great spot in Petaluma…..next stop Helen Putnam Regional Park.

I felt an unexpected thrill when I approached the sign and saw the picture of Mayor Helen Putnam.  I met her once when I was young…I loved her numerous silver bangle bracelets and thought her quite elegant and friendly…After a brief look at the trails outlined on the sign we were off!

Take time to pause and listen if you hike this lovely park…You’ll probably hear this little guy:

Nice wide paths wind through much of the park…many straight up hill…it was rather embarrassing that my dad at 84 had to stop and make sure we were able to keep up…that man can really hike and we can really fall behind! But, the view….well, it’s definitely worth the work:

Part way up we had this great view of Petaluma from above! And then it got better!

This bird, I think perhaps a white tailed kite (let me know if you know for sure….I’m going from a birding book!) had a terrific view from his perch!

A little further along and the view opens up even more:

The colors fade and glow depending on the light mist and sunlight-this hillside had the look of a painting…

It would be exciting to be here really, really early in the morning and late in the afternoon since you could catch both the sunrise AND sunset from one spot up this high

After winding around and asking directions once or twice (“go to the muddy bridge and turn left…oh no, is that before or after the bridge…should have studied that map a little more…!) we finally wound our way back to the parking lot in time to head to In N Out for lunch.  All this exercise and fresh air and it was only 12:15 when we finished…..what a great way to spend the morning…hope dad comes back soon!

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