|BILL & DAVE HIKES|
Sugarloaf Ridge, Jack London, and
Annadel State Parks
Hood Mountain, Shiloh Ranch, and
Spring Lake Regional Parks
Valley of the Moon Natural History Association
Sonoma County Regional Parks
Please join us on Saturday, June 11, for a North Sonoma Mountain Ridge Trail hike. This nine mile strenuous hike requires climbing a total of 2000 feet in elevation and will last approximately five hours. Meet us at the trailhead (5297 Sonoma Mountain Road) at 9:45 AM for a prompt 10 AM departure. Wear sturdy hiking shoes, bring a lunch with plenty to drink, and wear appropriate clothing for the weather, rain or shine. This hike is held in partnership with Sonoma County Regional Parks' Trails Challenge, as their special invitation to explore Sonoma County's parks from June through September. Park Ranger Assistant Matt Reid will join us on this hike, along with our good friend Sandy Larsen. This park is the newest addition to Sonoma County's park system.
If you would like to be added to our e-mail list for monthly announcements, please send your request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Both of us are relative newcomers to Sonoma Valley having spent much of our lives in the flatlands of Michigan and Ohio. As a result we are fascinated with the Bay Area Mountains and want to introduce their beauty to others. The views from the Mayacamas and Sonoma Mountains are stunning. We graduated on March 25, 2000 from the Valley of the Moon Natural History Association and the California State Parks volunteer training program and have been leading free monthly hikes ever since. In December 2005 we became volunteer hike leaders for the Sonoma County Regional Parks. We strive to acquaint hikers with the natural beauty and resources of the more than 15,000 acres in our county parks and three local state parks, and attempt to interpret their important historical and cultural significance.
Our hikes usually begin at 10 AM on Saturdays with the following exceptions: In May, we take our annual road trip to Yosemite with varying start times. In July, we hike to the top of Bald Mountain beginning at 7 PM to view over a dozen different fireworks displays on the 4th of July, weather permitting.
Space is limited for our annual "Brunch on Bald" fundraiser hike and reservations are required. 97 people people attended in 2015.
Space is limited for our annual "4th of July Fireworks Hike" fundraiser and reservations are required. Ninety people attended in 2015.
Many of the hikers who join us each month have been participating for several years and attendance averages approximately 30 people. It has become a social event as much as a hiking event. Our moderately strenuous hikes are good for both the body and soul. We hike rain or shine, so be prepared.
For those of you who need to plan ahead, our remaining 2016 hike schedule is 6/11, 7/4 (Bald Mountain Fireworks), 8/20, 9/10, 10/15, 11/12, and 12/3.
Funky Fridays is an annual summer concert series fundraiser designed to support our local musicians and keep our beloved local parks beautiful and open to the public. Enjoy your favorite local bands and musicians as they bring live music to an outdoor setting. A family-friendly event: Kids (18 and under) are FREE and adults only $10. Food is available at the event or bring your own picnic. Visit our website at Funky Fridays for information about the 2016 season. Also, see pictures and 'LIKE' us at FACEBOOK.
Please click here on Cold Weather Hiking to view a Press Democrat winter hiking article featuring Bill & Dave Hikes.
"Bill & Dave Hikes" (excluding the Kunde Hikes, the Yosemite Road Trip, and the San Francisco Road Trip) are sponsored by Sonoma County Regional Parks, Team Sugarloaf, and Valley of the Moon Natural History Association.
Each May we take a road trip to Yosemite for three days of hiking. This is NOT sponsored by the Valley of the Moon Natural History Association, the County Parks or the State Parks, but you are welcome to meet us at the trail head each morning at 8:45 AM for a prompt 9 AM departure. These day hikes are more strenuous than our regular hikes. If you've had trouble hiking with us to the top of Hood Mountain, Bald Mountain, or Sonoma Mountain then you are not quite yet ready for this adventure. On Friday we hike to the top (1872' gain) of Nevada Falls. On Saturday we relax with an easy hike past Mirror Lake and along Tenaya Creek. On Sunday we hike to the top (2558' gain) of Yosemite Falls. The Saturday hike route may change depending on road accesssibility. Please make your own room/camping reservations anywhere in the park by calling 888-413-8869. Yosemite room reservations should be made one year and one day in advance at 7 AM for best selection. We hope you will join us for one or more of these great hikes. Our 2017 Yosemite hike days are May 19-21.
In April we usually hike in San Francisco but it is NOT currently scheduled for 2016. The hike is not sponsored by Sonoma County Regional Parks, California State Parks, or Valley of the Moon Natural History Association, but you are welcome to register for it and join us when it is announced. This walk is often in a residential area and includes a number of hills and stairways. While not as strenuous as the Yosemite hikes, the same prerequisite applies. If you have trouble hiking with us to the top of Hood Mountain, Bald Mountain, or Sonoma Mountain then you are not ready for this adventure. Registration is required and the number of registrants is limited. Registrants are required to sign a Release of Liability form. Links to our past San Francisco hikes can be found at 2011 Hike 2010 Hike 2012 Hike 2013 Hike
Bill & Dave - Ten Years Later -- By Jay Gamel -- Reprinted by permission from the Kenwood Press -- story published May 1, 2010
It's been 10 years since Dave Chalk and Bill Myers attended classes to become State Park docents and were looking for a way to volunteer four hours a month to the park system. They decided organizing and leading hikes would be a good way to accomplish this. Despite scoffing by professionals who didn't think the public would take to it, the monthly hikes have become a huge success.
Bill and Dave are an unlikely pair. Dave was a high school mathematics teacher from Michigan who grew up in a suburban setting, participating big time in Boy Scouts. He and his two sons are Eagle Scouts. As he was growing up, "Go outside and play!" was the first thing Dave heard in the morning. "I was outside much of the time, sometimes more than I wanted to be, but gradually grew to love it," Dave recalled.
As a teacher, Dave spent most of his week days indoors, but come the weekends and summers, "I was a Boy Scout leader and spent time with my sons on camping and High Adventure trips."
Dave and his wife Joan retired and relocated to Oakmont in 1998 as a temporary move to help his father. Dad rallied with his family around, and the couple liked the area enough to stay. Though his father eventually passed away, the Chalks live here full time and travel to the Midwest as often as possible to visit family. Besides their two sons, the Chalks have a daughter and four grandchildren. In addition to the Dave & Bill Hikes, Dave also volunteers with LandPaths and as a math tutor at Santa Rosa High.
Bill Myers comes from a very different life path, growing up in Ohio and finding success as an engineer working with electric utilities throughout the country. He started his own business in 1986. After living many places in the United States, he wound up in San Francisco, moving to Novato and then Petaluma before a real estate agent showed him property in Kinnybrook, high on the hill behind Kenwood Winery, in 1994.
"I fell in love with it instantly." Myers said. "I just had to have it." Surprising to some, but not to those who know the 61-year-old Myers, there are no panoramic Sonoma Valley views from his home. He won't cut down the mature oak and madrone that surround the place. Myers lives with his high school sweetheart, Linda Pavlak, the couple reuniting after more than 30 years apart.
Never an avid hiker, Myers was literally scared outdoors. "To be honest, it was a heart scare, angina and angioplasty in 1991, that motivated me to start hiking," Myers said. "Up to then, it was all business, cigarettes, pizza, and no exercise. I had my epiphany after that. I also realized it was time to pay back by giving people from the Kenwood area encouragement to get out and see the area."
The Bill and Dave combination has proved to be durable and successful, with other spin-off groups now offering organized hikes throughout local parks. Bill and Dave are docents for state and regional parks, guiding hikes at Jack London, Sugarloaf, Annadel, Hood Mountain, Spring Lake, and Shiloh. They also organize an annual three day road trip to Yosemite and recently held an inaugural city hike in San Francisco.
While staying healthy and enjoying the beautiful scenery is a big plus, it's the people who make the job worthwhile. "The thing that means the most to us is the people we've met and long lasting, good friendships we've developed," said Dave. There are over 1000 names on their e-mail list, with an average hiking group of 40 people. Over 80 joined in the San Francisco hike last month.
As in any groups, surprising connections develop. There have been at least two marriages and several long-term relationships that have begun on the trail. Most hikers are between 30 and 70, with kids joining in on occasion. Hikes run from the very tame - at Spring Lake - to extremely hardy - from the valley floor to the top of Yosemite Falls or up Goodspeed Trail from the entrance at Sugarloaf to Hood Mountain.
Bill also leads monthly hikes through the Kunde Vineyards. "Kunde hikes have grown into something cool," he said. "I put several bottles of wine in my backpack and as we pause in a vineyard, we uncork a bottle and drink the wine that came from those vines."
The California State Parks will honor the intrepid hikers' ten year anniversary at a May 15 ceremony in the picnic area across from the day use parking lot at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, starting at 10 a.m. Then they will lead a hike to Bald Mountain, duplicating their inaugural May 20, 2000 hike. If you're interested in joining Bill and Dave Hikes, check out their website at www.billanddavehikes.com.
Please call Dave Chalk at (707) 539-8847, Bill Myers at (707) 833-6288, or contact us at the link below for further information or to be added to our e-mail list.