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More sweet hikes for your Valentines' weekend

Don Edwards National Refuge on SF Bay
Don Edwards National Refuge on SF Bay
Susan Alcorn

A little rain makes a hike more interesting, right? Go for one of these, or plan your own adventure.

SONOMA COUNTY: Saturday, February 15, 2014. 9:00 A.M.Bill and Dave Hikes” to Lake Sonoma. Hike by way of Bummer Peak, the Half a Canoe Loop, Lone Rock for lunch, and Dry Creek Trail back. Meet at the Visitor Center off of Dry Creek Road to carpool up to the trailhead.

Moderate hike of eight miles with an elevation gain of 1000 feet. Wear layered clothing with appropriate gear for the weather and bring your lunch and water. Please note that since this is not a sponsored hike, all participants will be asked to sign a waiver of liability.

Directions: From Santa Rosa follow 101 north, exit west on Dry Creek Road, and follow this road to the Visitor Center just before the dam. Drive time from Sonoma Valley is approximately one hour.

"Bill & Dave Hikes" are often sponsored by Sonoma County Regional Parks, Team Sugarloaf, and Valley of the Moon Natural History Association. Check Bill and Dave Hikes website for more info.

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY: Sat. February 15, 8:30 A.M. The Lafayette Hiking group goes to Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge, Newark (Alameda County). Meet in the parking lot out from Lafayette BART’s main entrance at 8:30 a.m. We form carpools to the trailhead. Bring lunch or snacks, water, layered clothing, good walking shoes, sun protection and money to contribute (any gas, bridge tolls and parking. ($5).

From Don Edwards’ visitor center, leader Alison Hill will take participants up a moderate hill to get an overview of the area. The hike starts on the 5-mile loop of the Newark Slough trail, viewing salt ponds, salt marshes, mud flats and shore birds. The refuge provides habitat for nine species of Federally-listed threatened or endangered species and is home to 227 species of birds. Easy, mostly flat 6 miles.

SOLANO COUNTY: Sat., Feb. 15, 9:30 A.M. -12:30 P.M. Rush Ranch Presents the Patwin Perspective of the Suisun Marsh. An easy, slow-paced hike. Participants will learn about the Patwin Indians who were the first human inhabitants of the Suisun Marsh and surrounding Solano County. "Discover how they didn't just survive, but thrived by building their communities in and around what is now known as Rush Ranch. See an outcropping used for grinding fish and/or acorns, an example of a Patwin dwelling, and find out what a typical day in the life of the Patwin might have been like."

Bring water, snacks, sturdy closed-toe shoes, layered clothing and protection from the elements. If desired, bring binoculars, cameras, insect repellent. No RSVP is necessary. Meet your guides in the brick courtyard and native plant garden, next to the Nature Center exhibit. For questions, call 707-432-0150 x200 or email volunteer@solanolandtrust.org.

Directions: Rush Ranch is located at 3521 Grizzly Island Road near Suisun City, about 2 miles south of the Highway 12/Sunset Avenue/Grizzly Island Road intersection.

MARIN COUNTY: Sat., Feb. 15, 9:00 A.M. - 1:00 P.M. Olompali State Historic Park. A volunteer opportunity working on pruning fruit trees in the historic orchard. Basic pruning technique training will be offered. Teens 14 and up welcome with a legal guardian. Go here for more info.

SAN FRANCISCO COUNTY: Sun., Feb. 16, 10:30 A.M. Bay Area Ridge Trail visits San Francisco’s Lake Merced “Measured Mile.” The San Francisco Committee is hosting an outing to showcase brand new Lake Merced “Measured Mile” signs, with an urban hike leaving from West Portal on Sunday morning. (Many thanks to San Francisco Recreation and Parks for great support on these signs!)

The 5-mile walk will pass by the historic Trocadero Clubhouse, meander through Stern Grove and Pine Lake Park, and continue along the shore of Lake Merced to the Daly City border. Note: Space is limited and outings up quickly, so don’t delay! Click here to register.

Read backpack45's previous article for more info about hiking this weekend, click here.