Sunday, Mar 17, 2013
It was a beautiful day for a hike above Napa! Our small group of dedicated hikers left the FC library at 7 AM and drove through scenic Napa Valley, arriving at Robert Louis Stevenson State Park, just north of Calistoga. Warning: the trails are well marked, but otherwise the park is short on facilities. The trail climbs over 2000 ft with 5 miles of switchbacks. The lower part of the trail held a mixture of plants including bay, tanoak, refrigerator trees, and more, allowing the boys to work on plant ID for the first class rank. As we got higher up, the forest was dominated by knobcone pine, douglas fir, and manzanita. About half way up, we were treated to spectacular views of Napa Valley, Mts Diablo and Tamalpais, Hidden Valley and San Pablo Bay. We saw rock climbers on a cliff face, and a group of fellow hikers tipped us off to an abandoned mine just off the main trail. At the very top, we could see as far as Mt Lassen in far northern Cal. We also bumped into several Eagle Scouts. On the way back down, we learned why it is always a bad idea to take a short cut down a switchback. We didn’t realize just how steep the hike was until we made it down the mountain in under half the time it took to climb.
The trip home included the obligatory dinner at In-n-Out.
Total travel time. 4.5 hrs round trip. Hiking time: 6.5 hrs.