Dick's Adventures of 2022 - Part 1

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Adventures of 2016         Adventures of 2017          Adventures of 2018          Adventures of 2019

Adventures of 2020          Adventures of 2021          2022 Part 2

Lewis Eaton Trail          Tesoro Viejo Preview
Lewis Eaton Trail

After a long dry spell, the final days of 2021 brought rain in the Valley and snow in the Sierra Nevada, a series of storms off and on over the final two weeks of the year.

This greatly interfered with my morning walks, and from the start of winter to New Year's Eve I managed only two very short walks around the neighborhood. In 2022, with a short neighborhood walk and a longer outing on the Clovis Trail System already in the books, I was ready for a real hike on January 5. I chose a nearby location with an easy, mostly level trail, but at least it was 2.14 miles in length.

My destination was the Lewis S. Eaton Trail, which runs parallel to the San Joaquin River north of the Fresno-Clovis metro area. It goes from Woodward Park east to the Hallowell Center for River Studies, but you can access the trail at several points. My normal starting point is a parking lot at Friant Road and Copper Avenue. The trail goes along the top of the river bluffs for a short distance, then winds down to what I would call the highest flood plain.

There is a series of ponds between the trail and the river, left from gravel mining in the past. When I hiked with the Ramblers in November, these ponds were almost all dry. Now they are filling up, although the most scenic one, next to the river center, is still empty.

I did not take many photos this time, but you can see plenty here and here. One thing I did photograph was a place where the rains had washed out a lot of dirt from the bank. Over the years informal trails have developed in the bank that rises above the trail. People ride their bikes up and down them, and in some cases run up and down. Water naturally washes down these places, and at least two of them had a major washout this year.

A new delta of soil at the base of the river bluff Extensive wash-out half way up the bluff

The weather was fairly good - sunshine and haze. The usual view from the trail of the snow-capped mountains was obscured, but I enjoyed views of the bluffs across the river. When I reached the dry pond next to the River Center, my back was bothering me, so I did not go all the way around to the center, but sat on a bench and enjoyed being out in nature before starting back.

--Dick Estel, January 2022

More photos

Tesoro Viejo Preview

For the next Ramblers hike, Wes and I have been discussing several nearby, low-elevation locations. Tesoro Viejo is an upscale housing development (prices from "as low as $300,000") that has sprouted in former ranch land in Madera County, about six miles north of the Fresno-Madera County line, on the east side of Highway 41. Part of the requirement for approval of the project was to provide many miles of public hiking and biking trails. Wes has biked extensively in the area, but was concerned about how some of the Ramblers would handle a couple of steep spots. He suggested a test walk for the two of us, probably assuming that if the oldest Rambler could handle the trail, the rest could.

As in the old bluegrass song, a mansion on the hill Wes and Dick at the trail entrance

Wes picked me up at 1 p.m. on January 12 and we drove out Highway 41 to the entrance of the development, and on some dirt roads to the trailhead. It was a very pleasant day - we left our jackets in the car and were comfortable in t-shirts. Although the highway and the entrance roads are in the flat valley floor, the trails quickly take you into a land of rolling hills, little green valleys, and unique rock formations.

The scenery reminded Wes of the green hills of Ireland River rock fused in sediment left by receding waters in ancient times

The hilly parts of the trail seemed quite gentle, and the one steep spot offered good footing. I declared that our members could navigate this route with no major problems. As we went farther east, we had a panoramic view of the high Sierra, covered in welcome snow from the big storms of December. To the southeast was the San Joaquin River bottom, in the area between Friant Dam and Woodward Park.

In addition to enjoying the green grass and scenic views, I was glad to see that benches had been placed beside the trail in several locations, providing much more comfort than the rock or fallen log I usually have to rely on for my many rests.

With the snowy Sierra beyond, the flat area in the middle of the
picture is the mouth of Little Dry Creek just before it flows into the river
Dick enjoyed a rest on each of several benches along the trail

Near the end of our hike, Wes saw a coyote in the field near us. We also spotted several hawks in the trees in a small drainage, and ground squirrels were active all around us.

We saw only three other people on the trail. Two women had hiked up from the river bottom and would be completing a loop that must have been at least five miles. When we came out to the trailhead, we talked with a cyclist whom we recruited to take our photo. He was unfamiliar with the area, and had some questions that Wes was able to answer. Like the ladies, he would also be covering quite a few miles, down into the river bottom and across to Friant Road.

Our own outing was somewhat less ambitious - we walked a little over a mile and a quarter round trip, but we certainly had a great time and got a nice dose of fresh air and sunshine.

--Dick Estel, January 2022

More Photos



Photos (Click to enlarge; pictures open in new window)


Eaton Trail          Tesoro Viejo


Lewis Eaton Trail

Pelicans are regular visitors to our area People ride their bikes up and down this "trail" The River Center (From 2015)
Tesoro Viejo
(Photos by Wes and Dick)
River rocks fused together in sediment
that was once at the bottom of the river
Wes stands above a drainage along side the trail  Rocky aggregate in the drainage
The late afternoon clouds formed rays Beyond the green foothills, snow blankets the Sierra "Artsy-fartsy" shot of power transmission
poles receding into the distance
Related Links
Lewis S. Eaton Trail Hallowell Center for River Studies San Joaquin River
Tesoro Viejo Tesoro Viejo Trail Guide More About TV Trails




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Updated January 17, 2022