Good clean fun from Russian River to Ft. Ross
The Sportsmanís Report
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By Bill Hanson  June 7, 2013 12:00 am

Looking west to the coast, there are some great day trips for locals. One of my favorites is the Russian River Rodeo at Duncans Mills, just a few miles upstream from the ocean. 

Good clean fun awaits, even if your family are not cow-types. The rodeo will be June 22-23. Visit them at: WWW.russianriverrodeo.org. Just across the river is Casini Ranch. It’s hard to get a camping reservation on busy weekends or holiday weekends, but the day use option is a great day on its own. There are ducks to feed and ice cream to be eaten at the general store. The river runs by it with rocks to throw and wading for those who are good swimmers. 

Back across the river on July 20-21 is the famous Civil War Days. Grown men dress in accurate Civil War uniforms and shoot cannons, ride horses with sabers raised and generally raise a lot of dust. This event is one you will return to year after year. Visit them at: www.civilwardays.net.

Heading north on the coast highway, be sure to stop at the seal overlook pullout. It is about a mile from ‘downtown’ Jenner on the seaside. Although it is an unmarked, funky, rutted dirt wide spot, it is a very cool stop. At the top of a sheer cliff you will overlook the mouth of the Russian River and the seal rookery. Although they are a few hundred yards away, the kids will see baby seals cavorting in the brackish water. Their huge parents cook their blubber on the sand spit and keep an eye on the young ones. 

Another twisty, winding 20 minutes north will bring you to Fort Ross, the jewel of our coast. Kids can run loose, check out the cannons in the blockhouses and look at the amazing displays. The barracks look as though the occupants have left for a few minutes to take in the day. 

The storehouse is filled with period accurate goods including an armory. The site also offers an excellent picnic area and trails along the ocean. The cliffs are dangerous, so keep an eye on things. The walking trail follows the old Highway 1 for a short distance and a view of the sheltered cove. Fort Ross is an all day outing and about an hour and a half from Rohnert Park.

Bill Hanson is a Sonoma County native and a lifelong sportsman. He is the former president of the Sonoma County Mycological Association. Look for his column in The Community Voice each week.

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