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Outdoors: Hiking in Sonoma Valley, June 15-30

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The biggest hike of summer is fast approaching, the one where hikers climb Bald Mountain at sundown to see fireworks from Windsor to Oakland. Yes, it’s the annual 4th of July Fireworks Hike, a strenuous scramble covering 6.5 miles with a 1,500-foot elevation gain to the spectacular vistas at the top. Upon arrival at the summit, enjoy a sumptuous mountaintop reception with hearty snacks and sweets, lemonade, libations and water, and wait for dark.

Then kick back, relax and enjoy the sunset and then beautiful sights of fireworks display that span the Bay Area from Windsor in the north, Berkeley, and Oakland in the east, San Francisco to the south, with possibly into the south bay. Space is limited for this annual Bill & Dave Hikes and Team Sugarloaf fundraiser, and it is expected to sell out. Price per ticket is $50, and 100 percent of proceeds support Team Sugarloaf’s operations of Sugarloaf Ridge State Park. Tickets at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3453621.

You don’t have to hike every time you go outside. In fact on a hot summer morning going paddle boarding sounds more fun, doesn’t it? This weekend get on the road early for Spring Lake Regional Park’s swimming lagoon (391 Violetti Road), where you can find a stand-up paddleboard for rent and a willing teacher. Saturday is your basic beginning paddleboard course, starting at 9 a.m. for $65.

But Friday, June 15, kick it up a notch with Stand-up Paddleboard Yoga, of all things. Increase your focus and concentration, balance and core strength while connecting with nature. The peacefulness and tranquility of floating on the water complements the meditative nature of yoga. Cost is $45 and registration is required. Parking is $7 or free for Regional Parks members. For more information about both these opportunities, call Rubicon Adventures at 823-1661.

On Saturday June 16, head for Sugarloaf Ridge State Park for the latest in their Caminata por la naturaleza (Spanish Language Nature Walk). Vengan todos para una caminata por 1.4 millas de la naturaleza a lado de Sonoma Creek cada tercer sábado del mes. El líder de la caminata le enseñará sobre las plantas, los animales, y la vida acuática de Sonoma Creek. La caminata comenzará en el Centro de Visitantes. La caminata es gratis. Hay cargos de estacionamiento de ocho dólares.

(Join us for a 1.4-mile nature hike along the Sonoma Creek every third Saturday of the month. On the hike your leader will teach you about the plants, animals and aquatic life of Sonoma Creek. The hike starts at the visitors center. No fee, but $8 parking charges apply.)

Sunday, June 17, rediscover the merits and qualities of the state tree, the Coast Redwood. From 10 to 11:30 a.m., celebrate the Save the Redwoods League Centennial by learning about the natural and cultural history of this famous forest giant on a 2 to 3 mile, bilingual family hike. It’s at North Sonoma Mountain Regional Park and Open Space Preserve, 5297 Sonoma Mountain Road off of Bennett Valley Road. Hike is free, parking is $7 or free for Regional Parks members.

Saturday, June 23, from 10 a.m. to noon, join Sugarloaf historian, Larry Maniscalco on a history hike about its early residents the Wappo. Their village of Wilikos was located at the headwaters of Sonoma Creek until the first Spanish settlers came to California; their homes were dome-shaped huts surrounding a sweat house in the center of the village, and they subsisted primarily on acorns and game.

This 2-mile, moderate hike with a 250-foot elevation will take the Hillside/Meadow loop. Meet at the White Barn; hike is $5 for adults, free for students, Sugarloaf members, volunteers, and those under 18.

On Wednesday, June 27, make a date for the Full Moon Hike at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park. The hike begins at the White Barn and heads up to Bald Mountain, where hikers will see the moon rise over the Mayacamas and the sun set over Sonoma Valley. The hike will cover 6.5 miles with 1,500-foot elevation gain, including some steep sections. Bring water, snacks and dress in layers — it could be cool and windy at the summit. Cost is $10, reserve at brownpapertickets.com/event/3457331.

Bay Area butterfly expert Dr. Don Mahoney will lead a summer Butterfly Walk throughout the Quarryhill Botanical Garden on Saturday, June 30 from 10 to 11 a.m. Mahoney is the curator at San Francisco Botanical Garden, and president of the Hallberg Butterfly Gardens in Sebastopol. He will help butterfly enthusiasts identify the many butterflies that flutter throughout Quarryhill this time of year. Among them: Pipevine Swallowtail, Painted Lady, Red Admiral, Buckeye, Skipper, Tiger Swallowtail, and West Coast Lady.

The walk will be leisurely with some uphill; wear good walking shoes. Bring binoculars, if you have them, and water.

Advanced registration is required. The fee is $15 for members, $20 for non-members. To register, go to www.quarryhillbg.org/page160.html. Quarryhill Botanical Garden is located at 12841 Sonoma Highway, Glen Ellen; 996-3166.

Contact Christian at christian.kallen@ sonomanews.com.