Honey's Treasures

Honey's Treasures

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Guided Nature Hike

We signed up for a hike in Rockville Trails Preserve with our friends, Jan and Gary.  It was put on by Solano Land Trust and was today between 10 and 2.  Everyone met at the old Ice House on Rockville Road and we drove the short distance to the preserve from there.  It's behind a locked gate and the only way to visit the preserve right now is by going on a docent led tour.  He said in a couple of years it's going to be open to the public for hiking.
You can see their calendar of events HERE.

These rock walls are all over the Green Valley area.  I knew they're protected and it's illegal to take or remove any rocks but I didn't know they go back to the Civil War days. 
At this point, we're standing on some volcanic rock deposit and he's explaining a little about where the rocks and hard sediment came from in regards to volcanic activity.
Our docent, Lorenzo, said that at some point in history they quarried the rocks out of here. 
Back in the 1930's they also took out a bunch of oak trees for firewood use.  There are no new (young) growth trees because of the cows.  Mostly all the blue oak trees here are around 100 years old.
Blue Oak
California Live Oak
Stopped for lunch in a somewhat more wind protected area. 
Of course, Mike is eating a donut.  He bought one at the coffee shop near the Ice House and kept it in his pocket and nibbled on it during the hike and then finished it off at lunchtime.  He cracks me up.
A rancher's pond with some palm trees and vineyard.  His little section of paradise.
These horses went wild when they saw us.  First they went this way.
Then they went thataway.
Then they stopped and stared at us.
The horses then became braver and came in closer for a better look at our large group.
And then they said, nope, we're outta here.
California Buckeye Tree.  The large modern gray house in the distance seems out of place to me in such a natural rustic setting. 
I posted a little about the buckeye tree in a previous post about Pena Adobe Park, I think.  Anyway, I did learn some new things.  First of all, the fruits are poisonous, don't try to eat them!  They flower in early spring but by July they lose all their leaves and pretty much look dead because they go dormant.  The American Indians would grind them and leach the poison out with water and ash and grind into a meal to make tortillas.  They also would cut them into little wedges and put into the water to stun the fish and then simply gather the fish to eat.  An easy method for fishing.  The buckeye tree is also excellent to grow in hilly areas because it acts as a soil binder and helps prevent erosion.
Almost there, Mike. 
A beautiful preserve and I'm anxious to visit again when the wildflowers are in bloom.  Honestly, we're very fortunate to live where we do in Solano County.  There are so many wonderful preserves to visit and I'll be sharing some others with you this coming year.  To name a few, we not only have this one which is Rockville Trails Preserve but directly across the street is the famous Rockville Hills Park and people travel from all over to hike and mountain bike here.  As you know, Pena Adobe is one which we've been spending a lot of time hiking very recently and Lynch Canyon is just down the freeway and is among rolling pastures and hillsides.  Rush Ranch is another good one for some easy hiking along the wet marshlands area of Suisun.  As we do some of these hikes, I'll be sure to take pictures to share.

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