Armstrong Woods has been the gold standard location of Northern and West Sonoma County walking, hiking and running loops. Due to the recent wildfires and out of an abundance of care, caution and planning the park is closed for repair and protection. On a recent trip to the local Ace Hardware, one of the resident Rangers was there as well and speaking of the status of Armstrong Woods, her home and was offering alternative hiking locations throughout the county. She mentioned Riverfront Regional Park, which I had never explored. Fast forward and after having suggested it to a number of Casa Secoya guests, and after having received great reviews- I decided to give it a go. It’s worth the trip.
Yesterday we were scheduled for a power outage as well, so I decided to turn it into an offline day of walking and exploring. If you are a walker and considering some time at Casa Secoya, here is my suggestion on how to spend your day.
8 AM- Giddy Up, at get at it and head over to Bia for coffee and a fresh baked bit of yummy. Kari and the Bia team make a great espresso and the Irish Soda bread can be offered warm, toasted and buttered. From there, head out for a 1 mile loop around the Northwood Neighborhood. Wear a mask when you are near other walkers, but enjoy the views of the golf course and the neighborhood. If you bring a dog, please remember to pick up after your pooch. We have bags available and dog treats in the office. We live here and want our neighbors to enjoy their homes as you enjoy the views. There is a small cut-in at the 116 side of the golf course which allows you to stay off the busy street and NOT be on the golf cart paths. Take in the beauty of the redwoods and the backyard we call home. Total distance. 1.1 miles.
Mid morning – Read a bit, snooze in your room or head out from there and start towards Healdsburg, taking Westside Road. If you are up for some river watching, do what I did – stop at Sunset beach. It’s just about 6 miles out of Gurneville and just after the great views offered by Korbel. Parking is on the right in a country-run parking lot that offers clean ish porta potties. In the AM nearly no one is there and you can get a nice 1 mile loop walk in and get a number of overlook and riverside views of the Russian River. I had downloaded a 10 minute meditation and the cell signals are strong here, so if you have to connect – this is a spot to do so. I found a quiet spot on the river, took a seat and did my daily Calm meditation. Total distance – depending on the route and amount of riverside walking, .5 miles to 1.3 miles. I clocked in at 3/4 of a mile.
Lunch – I took Westside road and stopped a lot to take pictures. Eventually I made it into Healdsburg and was able to walk a loop from the square and the primary shops along the plaza. I wanted to see how Covid and the reaction to the pandemic has impacted the shops I’ve come to know and love. Healdsburg has closed a number of street and foot traffic reigns over cars, with ample outdoor seating and sanitizer everywhere, I grabbed lunch and ate on a park bench in the square. Zoom kids were on break and I was actually able to hear people laughing and enjoying the outdoors. I wanted to check on our favorite cheese shop and a lovely Spanish Tapas place, Bravas, so my loop in and around the square clocked me in at 1.2 miles.
Heading back – Westside Road is a gem of the Russian River valley and is a gateway to the Dry Creek appelation. It should, however, not overshadow the fun to be found on Eastside road. Both are popular with cyclist, so plan to dry carefully and cautiously as you share the road with cyclists also trying to get safely around the twists and turns. Stop at J Vineyards for a tasting and a bottle to go for pool-side at Casa Secoya. I stopped at Riverfront Regional Park and was very pleasantly surprised. There are routes that are flat and adjacent to the water as well as routes that take you into the hills and offer views of redwoods, with peak-a-boo views of the river and wineries. I have been coming up here and driving past this park for well over 20 years and I am nearly embarresed that I had never “discovered” this gem of a park. I can’t wait to come back during spring bird migration. There are ample picnic spots and wide paths- so I felt comfortable with taking off my mask and smiling at other park goers. Total walking distance – your choice. There are 5 miles of marked paths. I got 3.1 miles in before I headed out and headed home to Casa Secoya. Total miles for the day – just over 6, with 13,000 steps registered on my phone. All this had me back just in time for a 4 PM siesta.