As many of you who follow me on my Live For It All Facebook Page, or who are in my Trainer In Your Back Pocket program know, my goal has been to add more adventure into my life this year. So, with my husband being deployed to the middle east, I have taken it upon myself to plan a new adventure each week while he's been gone. So far I've adventured out to explore Mount Diablo, Angel Island, Skyline Park, and Alston Park, all within about an hour of where I live in Northern California. (Blog posts on each adventure will be linked soon when I write them.) In addition to each adventure hike (or run or walk), I try to find a new restaurant or place to get a healthy meal as part of the adventure.
So, that brings me to today's adventure out to Moore Creek Park, near Lake Hennessy in the St. Helena, CA area. This park was recommended to me by our friend, Taylor, from Conn Creek Winery (a great place to taste some delicious red wines from each appellation in the Napa Valley.) She mentioned that her dog (also a boxer) loves to hike up the trail, and there's a great pool at the top for the pups to play in.
In my quest to find an adventure that Timber (my 6 year old boxer) could join me on, I thought I'd give this park/trail a try. I did my research on the trail system, where to park, etc. I always recommend doing your research especially if you're going out by yourself. I found the park very well marked from the road and it was easy to find the parking lot and the trail heads. Lots of signage to where the trails begin. Since we drove about 45 minutes to get there, I was glad to see there was a port-o-potty in the parking lot! The parking is free, but there is a donation box if you feel so inclined to donate.
Our goal was to take the Moore Creek Trail up to the end (I think about 2.5 miles each way) up to the pool of water at the top. What I didn't plan for was for Timber, a non-swimming dog, to NOT want to cross the creek crossings! We've had a lot of rain this month, so there was extra fast flowing water to cross. Boxers in general do not like water. The first two crossings were shallow enough that she could see the bottom and she followed me across. But at the third crossing that was about calf-deep, (if she could talk) she said Hell No! I didn't want to pick up a 60lb dog either and carry her over. Apparently this was not the trail for us to attempt this day. She did thoroughly enjoy drinking from each creek as we crossed though!
So, we turned around and backtracked to where the trail crossed the Valentine Vista trail.
The Valentine Vista Trail is a 3.1 mile trail that "ends" or for us today "started" at about the 1 mile point of the Moore Creek Trail which we had already done. So by the time we backtracked to this crossing, my GPS had us at 2 miles. This would give me a total of 5 miles back to the parking lot, which seemed perfect for the day's adventure. We adventured up the V-V trail which was quite steep with lots of switchbacks. The land was super green right now after all of our springtime rain, and the views were gorgeous! Not as much water for Timber to drink from creeks, since we were going up the side of the mountains, so if you have a dog, make sure to bring enough water for them. Timber is trained to drink water from my camelback ;)
The trail was super easy to follow. At one point I did consult Google Maps just to make sure I was going in the correct direction after one split that wasn't well marked, but I didn't really need to.
It was a cool 60 degree morning, and the sky was sunny! Couldn't have asked for a better day for a trail run!
After our run, I swapped shoes and headed off down the road toward St. Helena. I had in mind to find a juice/organic restaurant, but after searching the area and yelp, I couldn't find the one I was looking for. So I planned to just go to Dean and Deluca to pick up some healthy salads from the deli. First, however, my plan was to stop in at our favorite spot in Napa, Flora Springs Tasting Room for a wine tasting. I parked Timber out on the patio by a tree, and went in for a tasting. What I didn't plan for was for the butcher shop/catering restaurant next door to Flora Springs to be serving it's delicious lunch at the same time! (I guess I never come down to Napa during lunch time on weekdays!) They only serve one item each week, so if you don't want that item, then don't go there! Today's item was roast beef sandwich with a pesto aioli. I decided I would give up my gluten-free eating for one meal and dig in to the deliciousness. So, Timber and I sat out on the patio, enjoyed our wine tasting and roast beef sandwich to end our adventure of the day with an amazing vineyard view.
All in all, I'd say it was a successful adventure!
Abby Malmstrom M.S. is an exercise physiologist, certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor, wellness coach, and "real food" nutritionist. Her life as an active duty military spouse takes her all over the world, allowing her to influence, teach, and connect with folks in communities she never even dreamed of reaching. Life's an adventure, so stay tuned for the ride! It's time to "Eat Well, Move Well, Think Well, Be Well."