FAIRFIELD — An ominous rainbow and eventual downpour didn’t deter a group of hikers Saturday from tackling the rugged terrain of the future park at Rockville Trails Preserve.
The Solano Land Trust hosted a docent-led hike Saturday morning that focused on the geology of the hills between Suisun Valley and Green Valley. The nonprofit recently purchased the 1,500-acre property near the city-owned Rockville Hills Regional Park for $13.5 million in its effort to preserve the land.
“We are blessed in this area here that we have a lot of open space around us,” said docent Lorenzo Burch, of the Solano Land Trust.
Still in its infancy, the open-space property lacks a parking lot and proper hiking trails. A 19th-century rock wall aligns a portion of the park’s perimeter near the front gate, and cow trails provide paths around the oak trees and boulders. Not yet open for public use, docent-led hikes are the only way for local residents to catch a glimpse of the area.
Burch led a group of 22 people through the property Saturday, pointing out the different rock formations that cover the landscape.
“We are standing on 600 feet of solid rock . . . (which is) on top of sediment . . .” he said.
The hills are littered with tuff and andesite – rocks that geologists say likely appeared 3-4 million years ago during volcanic eruptions, Burch said. Embedded in the ground are massive slabs of tuff, which originated from volcanic ash, while andesite, formed from lava flows, dots the landscape.
Aside from the abundance of volcanic rocks, the property also features a clear view of the Cordelia Fault line. A nearby cliff visible from a hill near the front gate shows a discolored “gouge,” which formed when the fault moved, Burch said. “The little, short” Cordelia Fault runs north through the park and is located near the longer Green Valley Fault line.
As Burch led the tour through the open space, stopping at vista points that show Suisun Valley to the northeast and Green Valley to the south, rain started to soak the paths – and the hikers.
Ray Brun, of Green Valley, used his hiking sticks to navigate the muddy trail of Rockville Trails Preserve.
“I have been hiking (Rockville Hills Regional Park) about four days a week for about six years, and this is the first time I felt a drop of rain,” said the 65-year-old. “That shows you how unusual this is.”
Hikers will have another opportunity to join a docent-led tour of the area Sept. 28. Next week’s forecast calls for 80-degree temperatures and sunshine.
Outdoors enthusiasts Richard and Roxana Russo, of Fairfield, joined Saturday’s hike out of curiosity and liked what they saw.
“There are so many views that you just don’t see in Rockville Park,” said a soaked Richard Russo from the shelter of his vehicle. “There are more trees . . . more hills.
“. . . You don’t see tract homes,” he said. ”You really feel like you’re in nature.”
Next Saturday’s hike will focus on the area’s ecology and ecosystems. The group meets at 8 a.m. at the red Icehouse building at the intersection of Rockville and Suisun Valley roads.
For more information about the Solano Land Trust, visit www.solanolandtrust.org.
Reach Adrienne Harris at 427-6956 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/aharrisdr.