Patterns painted by water

More fall leaves

A closer view

Dick's Winter 2014 Hikes

  

Links to Photos, related links, and More Travel Reports at bottom

  

Millerton South Shore Trail     Clovis Trails     Hite's Cove Trail

 

Millerton Lake South Bay Trail: Often when I plan a short hike or some other low-key trip, I think "I'm not going to send out a report on this." Then as I'm walking along, I find myself writing part of the report in my mind and making up photo captions. I guess I will stop writing about hikes and trips when they pry my cold, dead fingers off the keyboard.

So here's the first report of 2014, a hike that is really just a slightly enhanced part of my regular daily exercise.

I try to walk every morning, following one of several routes around my neighborhood. Last August I started increasing the length of my walks, with the goal of completing the recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week. I also started driving to various places where I can get on to the Clovis trail system, where I try to walk for at least 45 minutes.

And once in a while I drive farther to where I can walk longer, such as my two hikes in Sequoia Park last year, and my accidental 40 minute walk in Denver. In the fall of 2012 I made my first trip to a trailhead at the upper end of Millerton Lake, about 20 miles from home. This is what I call the Finegold Trail, officially the San Joaquin River Trail, which I wrote about at least twice.

The only problem with this trail is that the first mile is 99% uphill, some of it fairly steep. By the time I get to the top of the ridge, I don't feel like going any farther. So, looking for a good, long, not too steep hike, I remembered a trail I walked on with my daughter many years ago that mainly followed the shore of Lake Millerton, closer to the dam. I looked on line, and found that what I was looking for was the South Shore Trail. The lake itself, plus a narrow strip of land around much of it, constitute Millerton State Recreation Area. Above the park land in some areas there is residential development, mostly large homes, spaced well apart from each other.

With no rain forecast and highs in the low 60s, January 14 seemed like an ideal day, so I drove west from my house about a mile, then north on Willow Avenue until it ended at Friant Road. This leads to the small town of Friant and the dam, and runs into Millerton Road, which runs roughly east and west. After a short drive on this road I arrived at the park entrance gate.

The trail begins a short distance off Millerton Road at the Blue Oak Picnic Area. However, the web page said that the first two miles just run along the internal park road, and most people start at the South Bay picnic area. Driving in to this location, I could see the trail along the road, and also noted that it was directly adjacent to the residential development.

I found the South Bay parking area, and was soon on the trail. The first half mile or so also parallels the road. There are no houses in this section, but there has been a lot of earth moving on the private land above the trail, so development may be planned. A better idea would be to continue past the South Bay Picnic area about a half mile to where the road dead ends at a parking lot, and join the trail there.

Past this point there were no more roads or houses, although homes can be seen in the distance, mostly the Sky Harbor area at the upper end of the lake. The road to that area comes off Millerton Road a mile or so past the park entrance.

This is a perfect hiking trail for me, with lots of up and down. There is never more than a hundred feet or so of either before it changes, and there are no really steep places. Since the trail follows the lake shore, there are always views of the lake. The water is low, but very blue, and there's still enough to offer some good photo ops.

As happens near most fishable streams and lakes, there are informal trails right next to the edge of the water, or at least the edge of where the water has been when the lake is full. There are also little paths from the main trail down to these, so where the connection was easy, I walked on the lower trails part of the time. In some places, this "fisherman's trail" is just a couple of inches from a sheer drop-off of six to fifteen feet. It occurred to me that these "cliffs" were dirt, and that water had been lapping at them for 80 years or so. Would they suddenly cave in? None of them did, but I was very careful and limited my "off-trail" walking.

At one place I could see some posts sticking up on the hillside above the trail. There was also a clear path and a hole in the fence that allowed easy access. This seemed like an invitation to explore, so I made my way up to the mysterious artifact. I'm not sure what it was; it's about 30 feet long, with heavy boards all along both sides at just the right height for sitting. It could have been a very long table of some sort, possibly with a canopy over the top, but if so, the "table" and canopy are long gone.

Since this trail goes around the lake and ends at Winchell Cove, I didn't worry about getting to any particular destination, but turned back after I had walked "far enough." Actually I made it to a point of land where you can see up river into the lake near were Finegold Creek runs in, and to the cove on the south, which has a marina, and is reached by a road that comes in from Millerton Road south of the park road that I took.

At several places during the hike I could see Shuteye Peak and the Eagle Beaks, which are part of a ridge at the 8,000 foot level on the west side of the San Joaquin River, a number of miles upstream from Millerton.

The vegetation along the trail is almost 100% dry grass and blue oaks. This is a type of scenery that can be enjoyed, but it also reminds us of how badly we need rain. Normally there would be a good growth of new grass by this time, but I saw only a few shoots here and there along the trail.

There are a lot of ground squirrels active in the area, and I saw quite a few hawks. I also saw signs of one of the more disgusting animals, the graffiti artist, which had marked benches, rocks and even trees.

However, it was a very good hike overall. I walked for a total of almost 90 minutes, enjoyed views of the lake and Sierras to the east, and built up an appetite for a stop at Sweet Tomatoes on the way home.

Millerton South Bay Photos

--Dick Estel, January 2014

  

Clovis Trails: While I'm at it, I'd like to write a few words about the Clovis trail system. We are fortunate to have an extensive system of trails within the City of Clovis, CA, where I live. Some of them follow old railroad beds, some wind along a creek, and some are just tucked behind a row of trees along a main road.

I first learned of these trails in 2009 when my grandson and his wife, Johnny and Brittany, invited me to join them for a walk. I drove to the corner of Clovis and Alluvial, about four miles from my house, where I found a park with a trail coming in from across the intersection, and leading north along Dry Creek. A little less than a mile north of this point the trail forks, and you can also go off the trail and follow the bank of a canal where it goes through open land and orchards.

We hiked and rode bikes in this area a few times, and I walked parts of the trail by myself a time or two, but it was only in the last few months that I started exploring the trail system more extensively. Again, this was part of my project to increase my exercise time.

About once a week I drive to an area where the trail is accessible and walk for a half hour or so, then turn around and return to my parking spot. So far I have hiked from three "jumping off" places:

1. Downtown Clovis: The Clovis Old Town Trail runs through this area just east of Clovis Avenue and goes south for nearly three miles. It also goes north, then northwest, but it's hard to find where it goes in the downtown area. I hike this route in connection with visiting the Saturday morning Farmer's Market. After my shopping, I walk a block or two toward the Clovis Rodeo Grounds, then take the trail south. I've also tried going north, but could not see where the trail ran through the center of town. This is pretty much a business/industrial area, but the trail is lined with trees and shrubs.

2. Dry Creek Park at Clovis and Alluvial: The trail here is the Dry Creek Trail, which leads southwest from this area to join the diagonal portion of the Old Town Trail. Heading  north it runs to a point about a mile north and a mile west, winding along the bank of Dry Creek. At this point it joins the Enterprise Trail, which runs southeast along a canal. Although this section is near a major street, the east side has the creek, then an area of large, secluded lots and big homes, mostly screened by the vegetation along the waterway. Just past Dry Creek Park is the Clovis Botanical Garden, which emphasizes drought-tolerant trees and plants.

3. John R Wright Rest Stop: This area has a tiny parking lot next to a fire station just off the place where northbound Villa Avenue jogs to the east and becomes Minnewawa. From here you can follow the diagonal portion of the Old Town Trail to the northwest or southeast. You can also cross the street and take the Dry Creek Trail toward Dry Creek Park. I've walked northwest, and have also taken the trail to the park, but have yet to explore the southeast section. Along the section I've walked there are a number of concrete markers giving the dates of various significant events in Clovis.

All the trails have places where you cross a road, most with little traffic. Busy streets either have a traffic light or pass under the street through a tunnel. Like the trail at Millerton, Clovis also has "side trails," small paths that have been worn in the dirt area next to the paved trail. I sometimes walk on these since dirt is easier on the feet than asphalt.

One of my more interesting experiences occurred on the Dry Creek Trail between the Wright rest top and the park. About half way along there is a large ponding basin, occupied by ducks, seagulls and egrets. There was a duck up near the fence, which is about 30 feet from the water right next to the trail, so I stopped to take a closer look. I noticed a duck on the water swimming directly toward me. Then I realized that every duck on the pond was swimming in my direction, and soon they were all up by the fence, expecting a handout. The next time I hiked this section I brought some old bread and soon had 30 or 40 birds of various types battling for the crumbs.

Over the coming weeks I expect to explore other parts of the trail system. I'll add any interesting new information to this page.

--Dick Estel, January 2014

January 20 Update: Today I walked the Old Town Trail southeast from the Wright Rest Stop, and in the process learned how to follow the trail through downtown (from Bullard east of Clovis Avenue, just head for Clovis and Sierra).

This and other parts of the trail system offer a number of amenities, including benches for resting, signs commemorating various events in Clovis and area history, plaques identifying tree species, poop bag dispensers, mileage markers, walkways to access the trail from residential and business areas along the way, an occasional drinking fountain, and even a compass etched into the pavement at one point. There are very few bathrooms, but in a number of places, the trails pass through parks that have facilities.

Along one 100-yard stretch of the trail, there are five or six signs warning against giving food or water to feral cats. There is also at least one cat per sign along this stretch, as well as a place where there are dishes containing food and water.

Since my main interest is in logging the requisite number of exercise minutes, I rarely pay attention to the distance I walk. However, the sign at the rest area gives the mileage to Old Town as 1.3 miles, and since I walked to that point and back, I did a little over two and a half miles. The weather was quite cool when I started, but I was plenty warm at the end, and it was an enjoyable walk.

--DE


February 3 Update: Today was my day to drive to where I could walk a section of the Clovis trail system, and the location I chose was the Enterprise Trail. Running eastward parallel to Shepherd Ave and the Enterprise Canal, this section of the trail then takes a jog to the southeast, ending after a half mile or so. Officially this trail does not connect to any of the other trail segments, although the map shows "future trails" leading several miles further. Where I parked on Shepherd between Clovis & Fowler Avenues, the Dry Creek Trail comes to an end. To get to the official start of the Enterprise Trail, you walk along a canal bank for close to a half mile. Here the paved trail begins abruptly in a corner where fences behind the adjacent houses form an "L."

When I first started down the canal bank I was not sure if this was the right way, but as soon as I came to the paved trail I recognized it from hiking and biking here with Johnny and Brittany and their dogs in 2009.

Along both the canal bank section and the official trail there are large homes on the north side, part of recent development, while the area along the other side of the canal is more open, mostly former ranch and farm property with a few older houses, sheds, barns, and some industrial areas. Just before the point where I turned back a major development of some type is underway, probably houses.

This trail is more "primitive" than those closer to downtown - no center line, and no signs except for mileage. Driving the 4.8 miles from home to where I parked I had some good views of the Sierra covered with recently-fallen snow. I hoped to get some nice photos from the trail, but the view was blocked by the large homes.

As usual on these walks, I hiked for about a half hour, then turned back, getting in a total 60 minutes, worth two days of my minimum requirement. Before heading home I went to Denny's and rewarded myself with a grand slam.

--DE


February 20 Update: Continuing my quest to hike all segments of the Clovis trail system, today I drove west to Willow Avenue, then north toward Shepherd. Looking at the map, it appears that the Old Town Trail has its northern terminus somewhere along Willow between Nees and Shepherd.

I spotted the place where the trail went through a tunnel under Willow, but there was no parking in this area, so I continued north and made a U-turn at Shepherd. I could see the trail along the western side of Willow in this area, and finally found a side street where I could turn in and park. From here I had two choices - cross busy Willow Avenue, or walk north on a side walk, then double back on the trail just at the start of its passage through the tunnel. 

I chose the latter course, and followed the trail southeast, walking my usual 30 minutes out. I soon saw that it would be possible to get to the trail by parking in a shopping center on the northeast corner of Willow and Nees, so that will be my future starting point if I walk this area again. The trail here is mostly between residential developments, with a tunnel crossing at Nees, and a slightly busy surface street crossing at Peach Avenue. This is where I turned back, but Google maps shows the trail going through a park on the other side of Peach, so I will try hiking from that location some time.

Although the trail along here is lined with trees, in some way it was the least interesting section of trail so far. Of course, my purpose is exercise, not scenery, but it it's possible, I'd like to have both. I did enjoy observing that there are a number of large, old eucalyptus trees in one stretch of newer houses, trees that were obviously planted in an earlier time, long before the current development was built.

And I learned that the trail has a dual purpose - having been built largely along an unused railroad right of way (which I knew), part of the purpose of preserving it was to have a corridor for future light rail. I hope it stays a walkway for the rest of my lifetime.

My trip also gave me the opportunity to add to my collection of photos of old barns, although this one was along Willow at Nees, on my driving route rather than the walk.

--DE

February 27 Update: Today I hiked the only segment of the Clovis trail system that I had not previously explored, the southern end of the Old Town Trail. Actually I didn't get quite to the southern end, because I didn't have my trail map, so wasn't sure exactly where the end was. As it turned out, I was about a quarter mile from that point.

I could have walked south to the southern end, but chose to go north instead. However, I didn't go very far or very long. This is the least enjoyable part of the entire trail system, because it runs parallel to Clovis Avenue where it is a busy six-lane, 50 MPH thoroughfare. It was very noisy, and I'm sure the CO2 level was well above a healthy number.

The place where I started was north of Dakota Avenue, just south of the Clovis Recreation Center. It was a cool, crisp morning, following a fairly heavy rain the night before. The one really nice part of the route was a planting of about a half-dozen tulip trees, which were just starting to blossom. There was also a marker showing the location of Tarpey Station, which now serves as the Chamber of Commerce office in downtown Clovis. That, the tulip trees, and getting a good look at the architecture of the rec center building were the only redeeming qualities of today's walk, and I will let this short segment stand in for the entire southern section from Shaw to just north of Shields.

Clovis Trail Photos

--DE

 

Hite's Cove Trail: This journey involved an exchange of information. Although I grew up in Mariposa County and have ties there to this day, I visited an area I had never seen before. At the same time I was able to show my hiking companion something he had no knowledge of.

But before going ahead, I have to go back in time a bit. During my early years at the Department of Social Services, I was slightly acquainted with Wes Thiessen, a social worker. He left to work at a private agency, then went into private practice, but recently started coming to the county retirement association lunches. He also became part of a group of county retirees that meets for lunch every Friday. We discovered a mutual interest in hiking, and he suggested a March hike on the Hite's Cove Trail, in Mariposa County.

Going back even farther, John Hite was a prospector who established a mine on the South Fork of the Merced River in 1862, where he operated for 17 years, becoming a millionaire in the process. There's a lot more John Hite history, which you can investigate here, here, here, and here, but it's not pertinent to this report.

(Note: The current official name of the area and trail is Hite Cove, but in my youth it was always Hite's Cove, and I'm not changing.)

Rising in the high ranges of Yosemite, the South Fork crosses Highway 41 at Wawona, and ends at the main river and Highway 140, site of the Savage Trading Post.. As a kid I had fished and picnicked at that location, about 20 miles from Mariposa, but had never been up the river from the highway.

The Hite's Cove Trail runs along the east side of the south fork, a round trip of seven miles to the site of the mine. It is also possible to hike the entire 22 mile trail into Yosemite, but this is a trek requiring significant time and effort, and not for weekenders such as myself. Even the seven mile version is a bit too much for me (Wes has done it and could do it again with ease).

After a planning session that consisted of two minutes during one of our Friday lunches, we settled on March 11 as the date. Wes arrived at my house at 7 o'clock that morning, and we set out up Highway 41 to Oakhurst, where we turned west on Highway 49 into Mariposa. Here we took the Yosemite All-Year Highway, State 140, toward Yosemite, descending to the Merced River canyon at Briceburg, and following the river for the short drive to the South Fork.

With the gold rush long ended, the treasure in this area consists of California poppies, fiddlenecks, and other wildflowers, and the profusion of flowers is the trail's main claim to fame.

Despite our early start, it was nearly 10 a.m. when we got on the trail. Our plan was to hike about an hour, then turn back. With the dry winter, there has been a shortage of wildflowers, but a series of storms in February brought green grass and some flowers to the foothills, and we hoped that would be the case here. A short way up the trial we encountered the first stands of poppies, but they were not open (poppies normally close up at night). It was still fairly cool, and we hoped by the time we walked back out it would have warmed up enough for them to open.

However, the first points of interest involved three man-made objects. First, we had a good view of the Highway 140 bridge that crosses the south fork, with the main river just beyond. Above this area is one of the large towers of an electrical transmission line that runs up the canyon. My father helped construct this power line and the towers in the early 1940s. The first 3/4 mile of the trail is private land, then it enters the Sierra National Forest. In this section, just around the first bend, and across the river from the trail, is a dramatic multi-story house, built to take advantage of the steep hillside.

The trail itself has only a few steep areas, especially the very beginning, where you walk up a concrete driveway to get on the route. Most of the way the trail runs along the canyon about 100 feet above the river, with a steep drop-off on one side, and cliffs or steep slopes on the other. It has a lot of easy up and down, just perfect to put various muscles to work. It's fairly narrow, and it would be unwise to walk and look at the scenery at the same time, but it's not dangerous as long as you pay attention to what you are doing.

As we continued our walk, we ran across more and more species of flowers. One that usually comes out earlier, and that I had not seen on any of my previous walks this year, was the spectacular shooting star, of which there were substantial numbers in many places along the way. There were also plenty of popcorn flowers and fiddlenecks. There were lesser numbers of small lupines, daisies, baby blue eyes and redbud. However, nothing matched the poppies, which are known to be the most common and spectacular flower along the Merced River canyon and its tributaries. And they were indeed open when we walked back out.

In addition to flowers, we saw two animals that are not encountered that often, a salamander on the trail, and two wild turkeys beside the highway near Midpines.

Although our planned walk was supposed to be two hours total, we didn't hurry, I walk slowly on uphill stretches, and we stopped to take many photos, so it was nearly three hours before we got back to the car. We then returned to Mariposa and had lunch at the Miner's Inn Cafe, one of the town's oldest restaurants.

Then it was my turn to show Wes something new. We drove out on State 49 North through the little towns of Mt. Bullion and Bear Valley, which was where John C. Fremont had his home during the time he spent in Mariposa. He acquired a large tract of land, the Mariposa Grant, and started several mines, including the Pine Tree, which is just north of Bear Valley, about 12 miles from Mariposa.

There's a nice overlook just above it that gives a view of the winding Bagby Grade, the upper end of Lake McClure, and the high bridge that crosses the lake/river there. Near the mine there is a ridge that you can walk out on, and see into Yosemite Valley, about 32 miles away. If you didn't know what you were looking at, it would be easy to overlook it, but armed with advance knowledge, it's easy to spot the top half of El Capitan, Half Dome, and Cloud's Rest, which was buried under snow. Wes was suitably impressed.

We took a number of photos here, observing some different wild flowers, as well as an area where cans and other trash had been dumped. From the looks of some of the items, they almost surely dated from mining days.

My father worked briefly at the Pine Tree in the early 1940s, but it has been closed for many years. There has been talk and even attempted plans to re-open the mine, but environmental problems put a stop to these efforts, at least for now.

Once we had seen all we wanted of this area, we drove back toward Mariposa and on down Highway 49 through Oakhurst, then back home, both of us enriched by the new territory we had explored.

--Dick Estel, March 2014

  

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

Millerton South Bay Trail          Clovis Trails          Hite's Cove Trail

 

Millerton South Bay Trail

  

The starting point of my hike

Blue oaks have turned to gold Rocks, grass and trees
The starting point of my hike Blue oaks have turned to gold Rocks, grass and trees
   
Friant Dam with Little Table Mountain in the background A closer view Shuteye Peak and Eagle Beaks on the horizon
Friant Dam with Little Table Mountain in the background A closer view Shuteye Peak and Eagle Beaks on the horizon
   
Patterns painted by water Triceratops log An invitation to explore
Patterns painted by water Triceratops log An invitation to explore
   
The mysterious artifact Universal symbol for "Assholes were here" Triumph over the elements
The mysterious artifact Universal symbol for "Assholes were here" Triumph over the elements
   
Looking toward Sky Harbor Winchell Cove This post marks the point where I turned back
Looking toward Sky Harbor Winchell Cove This post marks the point where I turned back
   
A typical section of the trail Boat tracks The work of water
A typical section of the trail Boat tracks The work of water
   
Lots of different ingredients in this rock The official trail above and the fisherman's path below The "top" of this tree is lower than the base
Lots of different ingredients in this rock The official trail above and the fisherman's path below The "top" of this tree is lower than the base
   
Yes, I walked along this "cliff" Beyond the fence, a resting place Heed this warning sign!
Yes, I walked along this "cliff" Beyond the fence, a resting place Heed this warning sign!
   
   The black X marks my starting point; the red one is the turn-around point   
   The black X marks my starting point; the whtie one is the turn-around point   
  

Clovis Trails

  
Johnny, Brittany, Crosby & Faith on the trail in 2009 Sunlit leaves Signs of fall
Johnny, Brittany, Crosby & Faith on the trail in 2009 Sunlit leaves Signs of fall
   
Bottle brush bloom over a long period The road and the trail Cattails by Big Dry Creek
Bottle brush bloom over a long period The road and the trail Cattails by Dry Creek
   
Into the tunnel Looking out from the tunnel Historic marker along the trail
Into the tunnel Looking out from the tunnel Historic marker along the trail
   
Water tower in downtown Clovis, constructed in 1913 Bull rider stands guard at the Rodeo Grounds entry More fall leaves
Water tower in downtown Clovis, constructed in 1913 Bull rider stands guard at the Rodeo Grounds entry More fall leaves
   
The trail near Minnewawa Waiting for a handout Ruddy ducks
The trail near Minnewawa Waiting for a handout Ruddy ducks
   
Sycamore leaf, nearly 12 inches across Exotic grass by the trail Backlit sycamore leaves
Sycamore leaf, nearly 12 inches across Exotic grass by the trail Backlit sycamore leaves
   
Rest stop next to the Minnewawa parking lot The Internet could not tell me who Spud was The spur itself - a short trail that leads in from a residential area

Rest stop next to the Minnewawa parking lot

The Internet could not tell me who Spud was

The spur itself - a short trail that leads in from a residential area

   

There are five of these signs in a 100-yard stretch

"I am NOT a feral cat - feed me!"

Compass etched into walkway

There are five of these signs in a 100-yard stretch

"I am NOT a feral cat - feed me!"

Compass etched into walkway

   

Benches honor donors who support the trail system

Mileage signs appear ever quarter mile

From the Marriott you can walk out the back door to the trail

Benches honor donors who support the trail system

Mileage signs appear ever quarter mile

From the Marriott you can walk out the back door to the trail

   

Forty years later the population is just under 100,000

Trail sign at Clovis and Sierra Avenues

Was the center line painter drunk?

Forty years later the population is just under 100,000

Trail sign at Clovis and Sierra Avenues

Was the center line painter drunk?

   

Dry leaves along the trail

Despite its present size, Clovis honors its cowboy beginnings

A charming scene on the edge of downtown

Dry leaves along the trail

Despite its present size, Clovis honors its cowboy beginnings

A charming scene on the edge of downtown

  
This control system sends water in two directions Looking west along the Enterprise Canal Housing development north of the trail

This control system sends water in two directions

Looking west along the Enterprise Canal

Housing development north of the trail

  
Plaque on bench next to the trail The trail "officially" starts here You have to walk on the canal bank to get to the starting point
Plaque on bench next to the trail The Enterprise Trail "officially" starts here You have to walk on the canal bank to get to the starting point
    
The tunnel under Willow Avenue Official start of the trail The reason for the trail
The tunnel under Willow Avenue Official start of the Old Town Trail The reason for the trail
  
Some of the trail landscaping This tree does not understand its position in life Not every trail walker meets the definition of considerate
Some of the trail landscaping This tree does not understand its position in life Not every trail walker meets the definition of considerate
  
Ancient eucalyptus, here long before the houses The piney woods part of the trail Known as oak apples, these develop when a wasp injects its egs into the tree
Ancient eucalyptus, here long before the houses The piney woods part of the trail Known as oak apples, these develop when a wasp injects its eggs into the tree 
   
It's a weed, but looks good when young and green Some unexpected flowers The old barn at Willow and Nees Avenues
It's a weed, but looks good when young and green Some unexpected flowers

The old barn at Willow and Nees Avenues

   
A trailside observer Where the trail crosses Peach Avenue Tulip tree blossoms
A trailside observer Where the trail crosses Peach Avenue Tulip tree blossoms
   
Part of the Clovis Rec center; the building's original purpose is unknown to me Where the Tarpey Station once was; now it's downtown There's no bench, but I guess you can stand under it
Part of the Clovis Rec center; the building's original purpose is unknown to me Where the Tarpey Station once was; now it's downtown There's no bench, but I guess you can stand under it
   
Dramatic clouds provide a backdrop for a new housing development, just under way
Dramatic clouds provide a backdrop for a new housing development, just under way
 
Hite's Cove Trail and Highway 49 (WT = Wes Thiessen photo)
  
The hike starts with a walk up this driveway to the trail Wes by the Merced, ready to go South Fork, Highway 140 bridge, and main Merced River (WT)
The hike starts with a walk up this driveway to the trail Wes by the Merced, ready to go South Fork, Highway 140 bridge, and main Merced River (WT)
  
Rugged Merced River canyon from the trail Location, location, location Dick on the trail
Rugged Merced River canyon from the trail Location, location, location Dick on the trail (WT)
  
Wes on a ledge at the edge A still reflecting pool in the river Cliff, poppies and river
Wes on a ledge at the edge A still reflecting pool in the river Cliff, poppies and river (WT)
   
Wes gets the perfect shot And so does Dick The reason for the hike - flowers and other scenery
Wes gets the perfect shot And so does Dick (WT) The reason for the hike - flowers and other scenery (WT)
   
A typical stretch of the trail A closer view Pure poppy field
A typical stretch of the trail (WT) A closer view Pure poppy field (WT)
   
Up close Shooting stars, the most beautiful of all wildflowers Baby blue eyes
Up close Shooting stars, the most beautiful of all wildflowers Baby blue eyes
  
Nature's amazing landscaping abilities (WT) A rare section where the trail goes through trees (WT) A stand of shooting stars (WT)
Nature's amazing landscaping abilities (WT)

A rare section where the trail goes through trees (WT)

A stand of shooting stars (WT)
   
Just poppies and rock outcroppings Just poppies and rock outcroppings 2 Just poppies and rock outcroppings 3
Just poppies and rock outcroppings (WT)
  
A zig zag arrangement Bagby Grade on Highway 49, just north of Bear Valley Dick and Wes at the Bagby Grade overlook (WT)
A zig zag arrangement (WT) Bagby Grade on Highway 49, just north of Bear Valley

Dick and Wes at the Bagby Grade overlook (WT)

  
Yosemite Valley from near the old Pine Tree Mine site Chemise brush and rugged hills of the Merced drainage Closer view of chemise
Yosemite Valley from near the old Pine Tree Mine site Chemise brush and rugged hills of the Merced drainage Closer view of chemise
  
Wes and Dick with Yosemite in the distance Indian paint brush Good spot for archeological study

Wes and Dick with Yosemite in the distance (WT)

Indian paint brush Good spot for archeological study
     
Related Links
  
South Shore Trail Info Map & Info South Shore Trail Map
Winchell Cove Marina Millerton State Recreation Area Sweet Tomatoes
Clovis Trail System Clovis Trail & Park Map More Trail Info
Biking the Trails Botanical Garden Hite Cove Trail
More About the Trail Trail Map USFS Information
Merced River Canyon Photos Merced River South Fork
Mariposa Grant Pine Tree Mine The Story of John Hite
     
Blue oaks have turned to gold

Pure poppy field

 
Travel Reports
   
Before 2002     2002     2003     2004     2005     2006     2007     2008

2009    2010    2011    2012     2013     2014     2015     2016     2017     Other

   
Before 2002
Early Trips Later Trips
Camping Trips Backpacking Trips
1961 Monterey Jazz Festival Bluegrass Odyssey
   
Multi-Year Compilations
Fresno Area Canal Walks Clovis Trail Walks
   
2002
Journey of 2002 (Ohio & Back) Logandale & Utah Parks 2002
   
2003
Arizona & Bluegrass on the River 2003 Grand Canyon & Logandale Bluegrass 2003
Parkfield & Huck Finn 2003 Early Frog Camps (2003-2005)
   
2004
Paso Robles & Parkfield 2004 Road Trip 2004 (Ohio & Back)
Bullhead City Bluegrass, Mesa, Superstition Bluegrass 2004 Bluegrass in the Foothills 2004
   
2005
Arizona-Southern California 2005 Huck Finn Bluegrass 2005
Morro Bay 2005 Stargazer Rock Camp 2005
Parkfield Bluegrass 2005    
   
2006
Huck Finn Bluegrass 2006 Las Vegas Commodore Expo 2006
Rock Creek Non-Camp Stargazer Rock Camp 2006
Parkfield Bluegrass 2006 Oregon 2006
Bluegrass in the Foothills 2006    
   
2007
Bullhead City, Bakersfield, Joshua Tree 2007 Frog Camp 2007
Eastern Sierra Journey 2007 Las Vegas Commodore Expo 2007
Stargazer Rock Camp 2007 Roundup #1
(Mother Lode; Kings Canyon, Yosemite)
Bluegrass in the Foothills 2007    
   
2008
Nevada-Arizona Hockey & Bluegrass 2008 Parkfield Bluegrass 2008
Frog Camp 2008 Las Vegas Commodore Expo 2008
Stargazer Rock Camp 2008 Bluegrass in the Foothills 2008
Hobbs Grove Festival 2008     
   
2009
Roundup 2009
Las Vegas, Mariposa, Table Mountain, Orange County
Frog Camp 2009 Southern Journey 2009
Parkfield Bluegrass 2009 Stargazer Rock Camp 2009
Bluegrass Tour 2009
Brown Barn, Plymouth, Hobbs Grove
Hensley Lake Camp
   
2010
Mojave National Preserve & Havasu Bluegrass Roundup 2010
Hensley Reservoir, Mojave Preserve 2 & 3
Parkfield Bluegrass 2010 Lake Almanor & Mt. Lassen 2010
Las Vegas Expo Summergrass
    Brown Barn, Watsonville & Hobbs Grove
   
2011
Roundup 2011
Mariposa, Hensley, Table Mountain
Frog Camp 2011
Parkfield Bluegrass 2011 Frank, Pat, Dick & Ted's Excellent Adventure
Northern Coast Journey 2011 Las Vegas Commodore Expo 2011
Good Old Fashioned Bluegrass Festival Chilkoot & Stargazer Rock Camp
Kings River & Brown Barn Bluegrass Festivals Hensley Camp 2011
    
2012 
Parkfield Bluegrass 2012 Four Squaw Leap Hikes
Northern Coast Journey 2012 Las Vegas Commodore Expo 2012
Stargazer Rock Camp 2012 Bluegrass in the Foothills 2012
A 3-Event Weekend
Farmer's Market, Kings River Bluegrass, Antique Fair
2012 Las Vegas CAN AM Hockey Challenge
Fall Hikes
Finegold Trail; Bower Cave
Into Los Gatos Canyon
  
2013
Silver Stick Tournament - Canada Sierra Foothills - Winter 2013
Finegold Trailhead, Hensley Lake, San Joaquin Gorge
Death Valley - Alabama Hills - Whitney Portal Sierra Foothills - Spring 2013
San Joaquin Gorge Hike, Big Creek Drive
Parkfield Bluegrass 2013 Shaver Crossing Station & Big Creek
Lake Almanor & Caribou Crossroads Mono Hot Springs
Good Old Fashioned Bluegrass Festival A Wedding in Duluth
Sequoia Park Hiking Roundup 2013
Kings River Bluegrass, Buena Vista Peak Hike, Hensley Lake Camp, North Fork Mono Museum, White Rock Road, Hockey in Denver
     
2014
2014 Winter Hikes
Millerton South Bay Trail, Clovis Trail, Hite's Cove Trail
San Joaquin Gorge Campout
Colorado Springs Hockey Tournament Lake Havasu Bluegrass
2014 Spring Hikes
Stockton Creek Preserve, San Joaquin River Trail, San Joaquin Gorge, Millerton Lake, Sycamore Creek, Buena Vista Peak Again
NORCAL Hockey Playoffs and Santa Cruz Visit
Greeley Hill Road Trip Parkfield Bluegrass 2014
Journey of 2014 Journey of 2014 Photos
Nelder Grove Hikes 2014 Sentinel Dome Hike
2014 Fall & Winter Hikes
San Joaquin River Trail South & North, Red Rock Canyon Nevada, San Joaquin South Again
California Flat Campout
Snow Day with the  Upshaw's   
 
2015
Rambler Hikes 2015 Part 1 Rambler Hikes 2015 Part 2
Adventures of 2015 - February to May
(Goofy Smith Flat, Coast Redwoods & Big Sur, Pine Flat, Finegold Trail, Edison Point Trail, Nelder Grove)
Adventures of 2015 - June to December
(Lewis Creek Trail, Kaiser Pass, Kaiser Pass Again, Taft Point, Kings River Bluegrass, Shaver Logging Road, San Joaquin River Trail, Lewis S Eaton Trail, San Joaquin River Gorge, Thanksgiving at the Gorge)
Lake Tahoe & Virginia City Parkfield Bluegrass 2015
Colorado Springs Cousin Convention 2015 Las Vegas Commodore Expo 2015
Stargazer Rock Camp 2015 Grand Canyon & Arches National Parks
  
2016
Adventures of 2016 Part 1 Rambler Hikes 2016 Page 1
Adventures of 2016 Part 2 Rambler Hikes 2016 Page 2
Adventures of 2016 Part 3 Rambler Hikes 2016 Page 3
Adventures of 2016 Part 4 A Pennsylvania Adventure
Adventures of 2016 Part 5 Parkfield Bluegrass 2016
Adventures of 2016 Part 6 Las Vegas Commodore Expo 2016
Adventures of 2016 Part 7 Stargazer Rock Camp 2016
     
2017
Adventures of 2017 Part 1 Rambler Hikes 2017 Page 1
Adventures of 2017 Part 2 Rambler Hikes 2017 Page 2
Hiking and Hockey
Parkfield Bluegrass 2017 Stargazer Rock Camp 2017
Other
Fresno Area Canal Walks Clovis Trail Walks
Butch's Blog Walker Family Trips
Parkfield Earthquake Kim & Morgan Brown Trips & Photos
Travel Report Menu Estel Home Page
Photo Albums Slide Shows
Laurie Lewis' High Sierra Hikes Email
   
 

Updated December 14, 2015