Monthly Meetings

First Monday of every month
Next meeting: October 7, 2019 (no Sept meeting)

1st Monday each month (Except February)
7:00 pm.
Meetings are held in the cafeteria conference room
Vaca Valley Hospital,
1000 Nut Tree Rd, Vacaville.

For all planned walks in Northern California

Planned Vaca Valley Volks walks for 2019

• February 2019 - Mare Island
• April 2019 - Rush Ranch
• July 2019 - Martinez
• September 2019 - Skyline Park
Historic Martinez

LOCATION:741 Green St, Martinez, CA

START TIME: 8:00 a.m. - noon




You are invited to join the Vaca Valley Volks on July 20 for a walk through the historic city of Martinez. Martinez was a commercial, agricultural and government center from the beginning and one of the oldest Anglo cities in California before California became a state. The Railroad arrived in 1877, and in 1879 Martinez obtained the world's largest ferryboats ("Solano" and "Contra Costa") to transport trains across the Strait from Benicia to Port Costa. The De La Salle Novitiate was the original home of the Christian Brother Winery in the mid 1880s, Alhambra Water was established in 1903, and Joe DiMaggio was born in Martinez in 1915.

Muir Home The walk passes many historic homes and landmarks. One of them is the John Muir mansion, built in 1883 by Dr. John Strentzel, Muir's father-in-law. John Muir played many roles in his life, all of which helped him succeed in his role as an advocate for Nature. As America’s most famous naturalist and conservationist, Muir fought to protect the wild places he loved, places we can still visit today. Muir’s writings convinced the U.S. government to protect Yosemite, Sequoia, Grand Canyon and Mt. Rainier as national parks. John Muir worked, raised a family and wrote in his Martinez, California home.

The Martinez Historical Society is housed in the historic Bortland House (1005 Escobar St), a cottage built in 1880. The Martinez Historical Society was created in 1973 to save this 1890 cottage and its site Carquinez plaque from becoming another parking lot in downtown Martinez. The society has developed a comprehensive county history library and newspaper clipping file for serious researchers.

There are markers commemorating the Martinez ferry. The first ferry service was started in 1847, with ferry vessels powered by oars or sails and no regular schedule. They were later replaced by a rope pulled boat and finally steam power. In 1854, a brand new boat, the “Carquinez”, was placed in service. It was a large vessel, designed to on/off load from either end so it didn’t have to turn around. Her image is depicted on the new monument to the ferry service.

The Pony Express was started in1860 to speed mail service across the country by having a network of young, lightweight riders who galloped across the Plains, Rockies, Great Basin, and Sierra Nevada, changing horses at relay stations spaced 10 - 15 miles apart. Pony Express plaque Riding day and night, they were able to deliver the mail from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California in only 10 days. At Sacramento, the mail bags were tossed on a river steamer which left for San Francisco every day at 2:00 p.m. However, when the rider missed the steamer he (or a fresh replacement) galloped on to Benicia and took the Ferry to Martinez. A Pony Express plaque is at the Corner of Main and Ferry.
There are these, and many, many more historic plaques, homes and places identified on the Martinez walk. Join us and add to your history of the area

Walk for credit only. You may participate free if no credit is desired. No refunds. The event is open to everyone.

Dogs OK with cleanup and on leash. Water available at the Start Point.

From 680S, take exit 56. Turn left on Marina Vista Ave and continue to Court St, turn left on Court St and then right on Green Street.

Skyline Wilderness Park, Napa
Sept 21, 2019

LOCATION:2201 Imola Ave, Napa, CA 94559

START TIME: 8:00 a.m. - noon




You are invited to join the Vaca Valley Volks for an exploration of the undeveloped lands of Skyline Wilderness Park in Napa, CA. Skyline sits at the edge of Napa and is neither a state or federal park, but 850 acres of private, volunteer-run and maintained wilderness, undeveloped except for the trail system and which takes in numerous natural features

Lake Marie Trail and ecological habitats. The trails are well laid out, but are gravel or hard packed dirt with hills. Skyline is a great park for hikers with trails of all difficulty levels set in a wide variety of settings like oak woodlands, grasslands, chaparral, and even hardwoods and ferns along the creek. Our walks stay on the moderate trails. The main and most heavily used trail is the Lake Marie Trail which begins in the sparse, sun-beaten oaks nears the park's entrance and ends in the cool, shaded Bay Laurel forest adjacent to Lake Marie. The destination and namesake for the trail makes for a nice picnic spot and rest point for the walks.

Old quarry Keep your eye out for caves and other “mysterious” old ruins and quarries throughout the park, remnants that may predate Napa State Hospital ownership, which began in the 1870s. Or look for a well-preserved stone fence dropping down the flanks of Sugarloaf Mountain, one of several stone walls in the park, constructed at an unknown date, perhaps by Chinese or Italian immigrants. But if you are going to investigate, also keep a wary eye out for snakes. Sightings of mountain lion, peregrine falcon, rattlesnakes, coyote and bobcat are often reported.

Lake Marie The information site states the dominant plant community at Skyline Park is oak woodlands, including valley oak, coast live oak, blue oak, black oak, California bay and madrone. The buckeye trail is lined with its namesake, the California buckeye. The northern flat portion of the park is primarily open grasslands consisting of mostly of non-native annual grasses and a variety of native and non-native flowers. Patches of open grasslands are also found at various locations elsewhere in the park. Chaparral is found primarily along the eastern edge of the park, and includes such characteristic plants as chamise, manzanita, sticky monkey flower and coyote bush. Riparian vegetation extends along the length of the creek feeding into Lake Marie at the southeast end of the park, through the length of the park into Lake Camille and eventually into Tulocay Creek northwest of the park.

Walk for credit only. You may participate free if no credit is desired. No refunds. The event is open to everyone.

Dogs are not permitted on the trails which are shared with horse riders and mountain bikers. Skyline Wilderness Park charges a $5.00 entry per vehicle to enter the park. That is a $5.00 per vehicle, not per person. Motorists should be prepared for heavy traffic especially in the afternoon. There are numerous dining options in the area. Skyline Park is a Wilderness Park. Both the 5K and 11K continue on gravel and dirt trails to Lake Marie and return. There are rest rooms at the start/finish. Elevation rise over grades ranging from 6 to 20%. All walkers are advised to wear appropriate clothing and carry water. The park advised sightings of snakes, mountain lions and wildlife indigenous to the wilderness are not uncommon.

Skyline Wilderness Park, 2201 Imola Avenue, Napa, CA 94559.
FROM THE SOUTH (San Francisco Bay) I80 to CA 37 then CA 29 (Sonoma Blvd.) to Napa. At the split stay to the right onto CA 221 "Napa Lake Berryessa" and continue to Imola Ave. (Napa State Hospital, on corner(. Turn right onto Imola and continue to park.
FROM THE WEST take CA 29 or CA 12 to Imola Ave. and continue to Park.
FROM THE EAST (Sacramento) take I80, I5 or CA 99 to CA 12 West towards Napa. Continue to junction with CA 29 (Sonoma Blvd.) Turn right (N) towards Napa to split onto CA 221 "Napa Lake Berryessa". Continue to Imola Ave. Turn right on Imola Ave. to park.

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This page last updated June 10, 2019

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