Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve

About a half of an hour north of Santa Rosa is the Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve in Guerneville. It was one of the first places I visited (thanks to Terrie) when I came up to see the area and ponder moving out west. I remember it being really quite beautiful in March. The trees are of course unfathomably tall, but my favorite part was how everything was covered with moss and lichens. This time of year is actually quite similar to March: misty, raining, and cold.

East Ridge Trail at Armstrong Woods State Reserve
Here’s a view from the beginning of the East Ridge Trail

Well, poison-oak be-damned, Mark and Monica’s brother were planning on going for a hike Sunday, and I tagged along. I applied my first treatment of Calamine lotion just before heading out, but even so, all that skin movement had me itching like crazy. I’m starting to believe the healing process is going to require a lot more self-restraint than the initial allergic reaction.

Mossy Tree at Armstrong Woods State Reserve
Here’s a great closeup of a moss covered tree. That’s a seriously dense case of moss.

I snapped this next picture looking almost straight up because I liked the contrast of the yellow leaves against the dark green pine needles. But I took the picture in motion which created an unintentionally impressionistic blur.

Impressionistic leaves at Armstrong Woods State Reserve
Impressionistic foliage

The East Ridge trail itself is only like a mile and change long, but it’s got a 3 mile spur that heads up into the hills, which would have added 6 or so miles to our excursion (more than we had bargained given our Sunday evening obligations). So we headed out and back to Santa Rosa, bid Monica’s brother adieu, and I suggested to Mark that we spend the remaining daylight (it was just before 4pm) over at Annadel.

Unfortunately these days the sun sets at like 5:15pm, so towards the end we were pretty much hiking in the dark, without a map. In fact we ended up at a neighboring county park, where a ranger thankfully gave us directions back to my car.

Sunset at Annadel State Park
The waning light did provide ample opportunity to capture a sliver of the sun setting on the Pacific coast


that sunset shot is gorgeous


For those who weren’t counting, that’s 3 parks in 1 day — unplanned. Top that.

(Justin, since you’ll probably see this after 12am, Happy Birthday!)


Ahhhhh! I hiked through this forest in a pouring rain. Afterwards, the bratwursts and Racer 5 IPA’s at Bear Republic made it all better:)


If you know that you are going on a hike through poison oak, take a waterbottle with half water and half ammonia, within two hours of coming in contact with pioson oak spray this mixture everywhere, clothes hair face etc. you will not get poison oak. the ammonia neutralizes the oils in the poison oak. IT WORKS! I grew up in Sonoma county and I’ve never had poison oak.


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