Recently I ran across
some entries in my journal regarding earlier Frog Camp outings (the
first one I wrote about formally was 2007). Although not in the
style I would use for public consumption, I decided to post this
report on my early trips with Mikie to what became Frog Camp. Later
outings are linked on the Travel Report menu below.
April 6-9, 2003
: Mikie and I went camping on April 6 through 9. Teri (his
mother) came up on Tuesday and stayed for the night. We went to
Kirch Flat on the
just above Pine
Lake. Although it was cloudy Sunday night, after that the weather was
perfect, and everything was green, with lots of flowers.
As soon as we got there Mikie wanted to ride his bike, so I got them
out and rode with him to show him where he could go. Coming back, we
came down a steep driveway, and he crashed, getting some scratches
and knocking the handle bars off kilter (easily fixed with a
wrench). He recovered and had a great time riding around the camp
(avoiding the steep hill). He learned better how to use his brakes
on some gentler slopes.
drove up to Goofy Smith Flat along Mill Flat Creek on the south side
of the river Sunday; and up to the top of Secata Ridge on Monday,
where we walked and gathered wood. Then we went up the north side of
the river a few miles, to a place we have camped in the past. Coming
back we saw a gopher snake in the road, and got out and had a good
look at it.
When Teri came up, we went up to
Reservoir, hiking down
to the river, and then down the stairs to the dam.
Down the bank below camp ran a tiny section of the river. Someone
had built a rock dam across it, creating a perfect frog pond, and as
soon as it got dark Sunday, they started in. We had no luck trying
to see them that night, but the next night we were able to
shine the flashlight and watch them. They were so loud you could
hear them up by the trailer with the generator running, but they
were barely an inch long. They were the kind that puff their throats
way out when they croak. We also saw a larger frog that came
swimming across the pond both nights (Monday and Tuesday). Tuesday
afternoon before singing time Mikie was able to catch and release
six of the little ones.
We also saw ladybugs, beetles, a salamander (in Salamander Creek
below Trimmer Springs), big yellow butterflies, lots of ground
squirrels, and an animal that looked like a fox, but did not have a
long tail, on the Black Rock
road above Balch
Camp. It could have been a dog, but acted wild.
There were some people rafting who got out at the camp Sunday, and a
couple of parties who stopped for lunch; otherwise there was no one
there. However, the raft companies were setting up their camps
across the river and upstream a little ways.
12 - 14, 2004: Mikie and I went camping April 12 – 14 at Kirch
Flat, where we went last year around this same time. We got the same
spot, which is a quick and easy walk down the bank to
pond. The first night we caught a frog, but did not see any more,
although we heard them and knew they were close to us, hiding in the
weeds at the edge of the water. Teri & Mikie set up a nice
aquarium for Hopper after we got back home.
We took a drive up above Balch Camp to where Patterson Creek crosses
the road. Stopped a couple of places to take pictures, and Mikie
captured some bugs.
On the way back we saw a rattlesnake in the road. He started to
crawl away so we got out of the truck to take a look, although Mikie
was very careful not to get very close.
The next day we went up the north side of the river to the Bear
Wallow trail. I have hiked in there a few times, so I went up the
trail about a quarter mile to see what it was like and to see how my
leg held up. We had a snack in a picnic area there, then drove back
down past the camp toward Fresno and up to the top of the ridge,
where we could use the cell phone.
That evening there was a family camped near us who had a six year
old boy, so he and Mikie played together a little.
We had very warm weather the first day, but the second day cooled
off a lot, and it was 38 degrees Wednesday morning.
31 - April 2, 2005: Mikie and I went on our annual camping trip
to the frog pond (Kirch Flat Campground above Pine Flat), March 31
– April 2. We had great weather, and there are many wildflowers,
thanks to the heavy rains this year. Mikie caught and released a
frog, and we saw a dead snake. We drove up past Balch Camp to a
vista point where you can see a sliding waterfall on the north fork
Kings River. There is lots of water; Dinky Creek was especially big (bigger
We got back
Saturday, and Tim and Teri came by to get Mikie. We had pizza. After
I arrived I discovered that a bolt holding the trailer suspension on
one side had come loose, allowing the tires to rub against each
other. I need to get it fixed at least in time for the Parkfield
Bluegrass Festival in May.
2006: Guess I
didn't write about this one, or maybe we didn't go.
(Pictures open in a new window)
The road from Balch Camp to
Patterson Bluffs &
waterfall on Black
Wren Peak in Kings Canyon
National Park from the road to Kirch Flat
Mikie at the frog pond 2003
Sitting on the penstock
near Kings River Power House