Dan Wheeler Photography & Custom Framing | Tolay Lake Petaluma, Ca.

Tolay Lake Petaluma, Ca.

January 17, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Today was another foggy morning here in Petaluma Ca., I was originally going to catch the sunrise on Tomales Bay in Inverness. When my alarm went off at 4:45am I checked the weather on my phone it was 45 degrees and foggy so I went back to sleep until 7am. I decided to head out to Tolay Lake which is a seasonal lake off of Lakeville Highway here in Petaluma Ca. if you have never heard of it you have to get a permit by attending a 1 hour class which goes over the do's and don'ts of the place. So off I went to Starbucks and a hike at Tolay when I got there it was completely fogged in which is actually quite nice for this place it just makes it so peaceful and quite.

There are 3 different trails that you can take out of the main parking lot I took the Cause way Trail which is a Levy thru the lake. I came across these guys when you first start on the trail.


After going down the trail a little further I seen a Hawk going back and forth across the the marsh he was obviously looking for food and he landed on a post on the fence line. I thought to my self how perfect but he was to far away from me to get a picture so I tried to creep up on him but he flew off dang it!! He landed on another fence post about 50 yards down and this time I tried my best to sneak up on him and it worked!!

After passing the Hawk the fog started to clear up a little bit but not much, there are cattle gates on the trail that you will come across and when you pass thru be sure to leave them as you found them. There are a lot of cattle on this old ranch and you need to be sure  they stay in there designated areas. There was one little cow right on the edge of the trail and I didn't want to startle her so I stayed to the far left of the trail she had a few calves with her also. When I got up beside her she raised her head and looked at me she didn't care I was there so I had to take her picture.

I wanted to check out Three Bridges Trail supposedly you can see the Richmond San Rafael Bridge, Bay Bridge, Petaluma River Bridge at Highway 37 and supposedly you can see the top of the Golden Gate Bridge it would have to be a super clear day considering it is 32 miles away. I knew I wasn't going to be able to see anything because the fog was so thick, but I have never been on this trail and wanted to see what was there. This point in the trail about a mile from the main parking lot it starts heading up hill so it is a bit of a climb which is a nice change from the flat valley your in for about a mile or so. The trail winds up thru a wooded area and at this point I decided maybe I should turn around and head back I wouldn't see much at the top anyway due to the high fog layer I also forgot my water in the car. It was about a 2 mile hike on the way back I didn't notice passing by this lonely tree in the middle of the valley and there is this one cow eating under it. I thought to my self that looks like the best part of the bare pasture right under this tall tree.

This is only my second time being here and it was foggy last weekend as well but it doesn't ruin the hike it actually adds a very peaceful feeling. By this time I am thirsty and my feet hurt I wore a pair of boots because last weekend my friend Scott and I were out here and I wore tennis shoes and my socks were soaked due to the damp grass. I was back on the Causeway Trail this part of the trail is my favorite it has water on both sides of the trail  and trees line both sides as well. While walking I noticed this huge bird flew out of one of the trees and flew out over the water I started taking pictures as fast as I could but I couldn't get him he was gone. I watched him fly way off in the distance and he started to turn back toward me and he came and landed in a tree about 50 yards from where I was standing. I was able to get some very nice shots of him while he was coming in for a landing!

That made a perfect ending to a perfect hike after seeing that!! I made it back to the car but my boots were covered in mud and I am driving my wife's car! There is a hose we discovered over by one of the barns the previous weekend so i went to clean my boots off and there was a Ranger feeding the chicken's and 1 rooster was sitting up on the fence crowing away! I love this place! If you have never been here it is worth taking the hour class and coming out. Hope to maybe see some of you out here.


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