2018 Ramblers Hikes Page 1

    

The Ramblers are Carolyn Amicone, Julie Hornback, Wes Thiessen, Don McClellan, Sue Wirt, Elsa Sweeney, and Dick Estel, former colleagues at the Fresno County Department of Social Services. Every month or so we get together for a short hike, good conversation, and lunch.

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San Joaquin River Trail West

 

San Joaquin River Trail West

2018 marks the fifth year of Rambler hikes, although we only did four hikes in 2014, with a three-month break between the first and second outings. Since then we have been out on the trail a total of 45 times, although one outing was mostly driving in the rain, with a quick jaunt on a trail for ten minutes between showers. The group has grown from the original four to the seven listed at the top of the page, with occasional guests. We almost never have more than four or five members on any one hike, but everyone gets in on a few trips each year. Dick and Wes can claim perfect attendance. 

For the first hike of 2018, Wes, Carolyn and Dick met at a shopping center in northwest Fresno on January 10, and walked down a pedestrian-only road to the San Joaquin River bottom, an area known as River West. The property has been controlled by the San Joaquin River Conservancy for 15 years, with the intention of developing an extension of the existing Lewis S. Eaton Trail. The delay has been mostly over where to allow access. The river bluffs are occupied by upscale shopping centers and homes, and the owners have resisted allowing access through their neighborhoods, or even the idea of such activities on public land within view of their property. Recently a decision was made to build the access road near where we parked at Palm and Nees Avenues, with the City of Fresno contributing financially to construction and maintenance. (Note: As this is written the website makes reference to several alternatives, but the vote has been taken and alternative 5b chosen.)

But all this was far from our minds as we descended the old road and began walking along the river among trees and bushes. First we went west or downstream, stopping to chat with two men who were fishing. 

Wes had scouted the area twice recently, once on his bicycle, and had noted that there are some homeless people in tents, usually almost hidden in clumps of brush. Although we saw one tent and a sign that said "sidewalk closed," the only people we encountered were fishermen and fellow hikers or joggers.

A short distance past the fishermen the "Sidewalk Closed" sign gave warning of a homeless camp area that did not welcome any disturbance. We took an alternate route, but soon found our way blocked by trees and brush, so went back toward the east. Eventually we came to a place where the trail goes all the way around a large pond, separate from the river. We took the clockwise route, eventually reaching a spot where we could see a dozen or so egrets along the bank or perched on old fence posts in the water. We took our group photo there, then turned back, but took a different road up the bank, one that ran parallel to our downward path. From here we had a nice overall view of the area below. For a few moments it looked like our way back to the shopping center was blocked by the fence that ran along the side of the road, but we came to a place where it had been cut apart, and we were soon back in "civilization."

By good fortune we were parked right in front of Popolo's Pizza, so we didn't have to use up any brain power deciding where to eat. They have a very reasonable  lunch special featuring a large pizza slice, with soup or salad as an option. "How large," you ask? Carolyn and I took half our pizza home with us.

Although we could have walked another mile or so by going all the way around the pond, we did manage a 2.2 mile hike, pretty much the norm for most Rambler hikes. Our only regret was that none of the other members of our group were able to join us. Wes summarized our adventure as follows:

On January 10 a small contingent of Ramblers braved the elements to explore River West, that part of the San Joaquin River west of Highway 41. We started this trek in a light mist with cold temperatures. But the rain soon dissipated and the temperature moderated to the extent we could remove our gloves. We followed the trail along the riverbank until we saw a large sign near a homeless encampment stating: "Sidewalk Closed". We had fun speculating where the homeless found or stole such a sign. We showed respect (or fear) of that encampment and turned around to walk east near a fishing pond. We found great promise in this area when developed as part of the larger Eaton Trail. But don't hold your breath, since the conservancy has owned this property for 15 years without movement. Who knows, we may live to see a beautiful riverbank below those towering bluffs. In the photos below we have tried to avoid the trash and deserted encampments to show you the amazing potential of this riverbank.


--Dick Estel, January 2018

River West Photos

 

Photos (Click to enlarge; pictures open in new window) 
(Photos by Wes Thiessen, Don McClellan, and Dick Estel)

  

River West

 

River West

   
Sign at the beginning of the road Eucalyptus have been planted among the native trees Part of Sycamore Island
   
Carolyn and Dick on the trail Erosion from high water has exposed these roots The message here is "stay out!"
   
Plants grow in a quiet pool separated from the river Leaves from the valley oaks in the river bottom carpet the ground Wes getting the perfect shot
Homes on the river bluff The egrets are not concerned about the politics of river access and preservation View of the river from the road back up the bluffs
The Ramblers: Wes, Carolyn and Dick
  

Related Links

   

River West

Lewis S. Eaton Trail San Joaquin River Conservancy

 
Travel Reports
   
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Before 2002
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1961 Monterey Jazz Festival Bluegrass Odyssey
   
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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
Adventures of 2017 Part 3 Rambler Hikes 2017 Page 3
Adventures of 2017 Part 4 Hiking and Hockey
Adventures of 2017 Part 5 Lake Almanor
Adventures of 2017 Part 6 Northern California Redwood Hike
Parkfield Bluegrass 2017 Stargazer Rock Camp 2017
Travel Blog 2017 (an experiment) Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks
  
2108
Adventures of 2018 Part 1 Rambler Hikes 2018 Page 1
Adventures of 2018 Part 2 Rambler Hikes 2018 Page 2
Parkfield Bluegrass 2018    
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 January 15, 2018