BILL & DAVE HIKES
Sugarloaf Ridge, Jack London, and
Annadel State Parks
Hood Mountain, Shiloh Ranch, and
Spring Lake Regional Parks


Sponsored by
Valley of the Moon Natural History Association
Team Sugarloaf
Sonoma County Regional Parks

Our Next Hike

On Sunday, August 24, join Bill and Dave Hikes for our annual picnic with a speaker and mini-hike. Meet us at the Shady Oaks Picnic Area of Spring Lake Regional Park. The Park is located near the end of Violetti Road off of Channel Drive, just before the entrance to Annadel State Park. We will have grilled sausages ready to serve at 4:30 PM. Please bring either a salad or dessert to share and your own drinks. All table service and condiments will be provided, and a $5.00 donation is requested. At around 5:30 Tim Mayer, chair of the Board of Directors of the Sonoma County Trails Council, will talk about the various trail work being done at our local parks. Finally at 6:15 the mini-hike will begin. This pleasant three mile hike will meander around Spring Lake and will finish around 7:30. Don't forget the vehicle admission fee. This outing is jointly sponsored by the Valley of the Moon Natural History Association and Sonoma County Regional Parks.

About Bill and Dave

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 2014 hikes begin at 9 AM on Saturdays with the following exceptions. The Kunde Family Estate hikes begin at 10 AM. 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. In August, we have our annual afternoon picnic with evening hike.

Space is limited on July 4th and reservations are required. Reservations open for the 4th of July hike at 10 AM the day after our June hike and are usually filled within 24 hours. Eighty people attended the 4th of July Fireworks Hike in 2013.

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. We usually bring a cooler filled with potables to facilitate "tailgate socializing" in the parking lot after the hike. 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 2014 hike schedule is 9/13 (Red Barn at SLRSP), 10/11 (Hood Mountain Regional Park), 11/15 (Annadel), and 12/6 (East Slope of Sonoma Ridge Trail at JLSHP).

Funky Fridays is a summer concert series held each week at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park's amphitheater from June 6 thru August 29, 2014. These fundraising concerts help us keep our beloved State Park beautiful and open to the public. Enjoy your favorite local bands and musicians as they bring music to the meadow. 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 detailed information and to purchase tickets in advance. Also, see pictures and 'LIKE' us at FACEBOOK. This is a great opportunity for all of us to show Sugarloaf a little love by coming out to support the park while enjoying the best in live music.

Please click here on Cold Weather Hiking to view a Press Democrat article featuring Bill & Dave Hikes.

Bill also leads monthly "Hike & Taste in the Vineyards" at Kunde Estate Winery in Kenwood. Details about these relatively easy four hour, four mile, 500 foot vertical hikes can be found at Kunde.

"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.

Annual "Road Trip" to Yosemite

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. Registrants are required to sign a Release of Liability form.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 will hike to the top (1872' gain) of Nevada Falls. On Saturday we will relax with an easy hike past Mirror Lake and along Tenaya Creek. On Sunday we will hike to the top (2558' gain) of Yosemite Falls. You can make your own room/camping reservations anywhere in the park by visiting www.yosemitepark.com or calling 801-559-5000. 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 2015 Yosemite hike days are May 15-17.


Annual "Road Trip" to San Francisco

Each April we hike in San Francisco. This 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. 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


Kenwood Press

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.

Dave and Bill


Send Bill and Dave an e-mail.
Visit the state parks website
Visit the county parks website

Last Revised 7/6/14