Anyone who exercises before dawn or after the sun sets understands the importance of being visible to cars and trucks. That’s why reflective gear has become so popular in recent years to runners, walkers, bicyclists, skateboarders and others who put on miles in the dark.
Reflective gear is particularly noticeable when it moves, which makes Road ID’s High Visibility Reflective Wrist and Ankle bands — in motion with each step or pedal you take — a good choice (you’ll be seen by motorists from more than 700 feet away). Made from sturdy, neon-yellow, military-grade elastic, the bands have a wraparound super-bright 3M Scotchlite reflective silver stripe that offers 360 degree visibility.
The straps can be attached to backpacks, used as bicycle pant-leg clips or even wrapped around your upper arm.
Road ID’s wrist and ankle bands can be worn in all weather conditions and are cleaned with simple hand-washing in mild detergent. One size fits all, as Velcro straps wrap securely around ankle or wrist. $9.99 per wrist or ankle pair. Visit roadid.com for information.
TAYLOR MOUNTAIN REGIONAL PARK AND OPEN SPACE PRESERVE
EASTERN ROUTE/SKY LUPINE TRAIL
Distance: 3.2 miles, 4.2 using Sky Lupine Trail switchbacks
Elevation gain: 1,000 feet
Time: 30 minutes to an hour to the top
Difficulty: moderate to strenuous
Exposure: mostly open hillside with a few shady groves of oak and laurel
Dogs: allowed on leash
Maps: USGS Santa Rosa, park map, Maplets app
The hike: From the Kawana Terrace parking lot, head to the left of the water tanks onto the Eastern Route Trail, an old farm road. Following the road without diverting onto smaller trails will take hikers directly to the summit. The small oak-topped hill to the left at the hike’s beginning offers a nice picnic spot with a view for those short on time.
At 0.3 miles, the start of the hike’s two steep sections, those looking for an easier way to the top can take a right onto the single-track Sky Lupine trail, which crisscrosses the main trail. The Sky Lupine Trail ends where it rejoins the Eastern Route at the top of its two steepest sections, at about 1,000 foot elevation.
From here, the trail heads south along the mountain’s flank for a third of a mile in mixed oak and laurel shade before hitting a pair of switchbacks. Past the switchbacks, the trail heads south again for a quarter mile before sweeping east and up a rocky notch that delivers hikers onto the open summit area beyond an old freestone wall. In wet weather, the Sky Lupine Trail provides a less slippery descent past the main trail’s two steep areas.
Source: “Day Hikes Around Sonoma County” by Robert Stone (Day Hike Books)