2020 Rambler Hikes Page 1

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Rambler Hikes 2017          Rambler Hikes 2018         Rambler Hikes 2019          2020 Page 2

      

Sky Harbor          Dry Creek Preserve

     

Sky Harbor
(by Dick and Wes)

Dick: To kick off 2020 the Ramblers enjoyed a short, easy hike near Sky Harbor beside Millerton Lake. I had made this hike twice recently, in November and December, and some of the photos here are from those earlier hikes. The "trail" is actually a combination of cow paths, fishermen's trails and an old road. From the parking area it goes down by the water and around a low ridge that divides the main lake from a small cove. Our numbers were small - just Wes, Sue, Gloria and Dick, but our enthusiasm was high and our enjoyment all we could ask.

(The San Joaquin River Trail also starts at this point, but goes in the opposite direction.)

Wes: In the winter fog, Dick took us on a short hike at the end of Sky Harbor Road.  Many of our members stayed home due to illness including cold and flu.  But four of us were determined to set a new year's pace of one hike each month.  So we wrapped ourselves in multiple layers of coats and gloves for a one-mile hike to a vista point overlooking Millerton Lake.  The fog bank restricted our vision to the immediate area of the water's edge.  It was a stark beauty we saw with the fog adding an element of mystery.

      
Finegold Bay Dick, Gloria and Sue on the trail
    
A gnarly blue oak above the lake A misty hilltop
    

Dick: Near the start of the trail a dead blue oak had fallen over the trail, creating an easily navigated "tunnel." When I hiked in November, this tree was still standing. Of course, we had to take a photo here. When we checked our mileage at the end of the walk it was just over a mile. We were moving for only 32 minutes, but we spent an hour and a quarter in total.

    
Dick, Sue and Gloria at the  tree tunnel The base of the fallen tree

       

Wes: We were in good spirits as we completed our walk and decided to celebrate over lunch at the Pizza Factory in Friant.  Along the way we visited the native cemetery at Table Mountain Rancheria and talked with a county worker checking the wastewater treatment plant at Sky Harbor. After 31 years of service, he was looking forward to joining us in retirement.

    
Like a ghost, Wes appears out of the mist Wes Thiessen, Sue Wirt, Gloria Jackson, Dick Estel
      
Our trail is the black line on the left
  
More photos
       
Dry Creek Preserve
(Photos by Wes, Ardyss, Dave & Dick)

We had a good group of Ramblers for this short hike that followed a long drive. Four years ago Wes and I drove to Visalia and the hamlet of Lemon Cove, then followed a road up Dry Creek, a tributary of the Kaweah River. We stopped and did a short hike at the Dry Creek Preserve, but our main goal was to drive along the creek, enjoying the copious fields of fiddlenecks, poppies, and other flowers.

The flowers are late this year (and rain has been mostly absent), so the floral display was nothing like our previous trip, but we did a longer walk through the preserve. We had a group of eight - regular Ramblers Wes, Sue, Ardyss, Allen and Dick, my daughter Teri, an occasional Rambler, and Dave and Jeff, people I have known for many years through the Fresno Commodore User Group.

     
Sue, Allen, Ardyss, Jeff, Teri, Dick, and Wes at the trailhead Wes and Teri
    

From the parking area the trail winds down to the creek, a short distance past an unlocked gate. There is a sort of bridge across the creek, consisting of a long panel laid more or less on the water. Once through the gate we were sharing the land with a herd of cattle, who kept a watchful and curious eye on us.

This land is a reclaimed gravel mine, and beyond the creek crossing the trail went past a pond, home to several ducks. We also heard frogs in the creek and pond several times during our hike.

   
Crossing the creek Cows keeping a watchful eye on the hikers
   

The trail went away from the creek, but ran parallel to it for a ways, then crossed back on another, slightly more stable bridge. A final short uphill stretch took us back to our start point, after a total of 1.64 miles.

Jeff has had some recent mobility issues, and Dave has not hiked for a number of years, but this was a mostly level trip, and gave them a good chance to see what they can do. Both passed with flying colors and will soon be regular Ramblers.

   
Allen, Sue, Teri, Dave and Dick at the creek Cows headed somewhere important
       
Sue crossing the bridge Dave, Jeff, Allen, Sue, Dick, Ardyss and Teri on the 2nd bridge
    

We drove up the road a mile or two to the Homer Ranch Preserve, another hiking area along Dry Creek, but it was not open, so we turned back, enjoying a few fiddlenecks and poppies that had opened up as the day warmed.

On our way back to Visalia we stopped briefly at the Kaweah Oaks Preserve, a 350 acre section that protects one of the last remaining valley oak riparian forests in the San Joaquin Valley. The walking distance into the actual preserve was longer than we wanted to tackle this date, but we hope to explore it someday.

Allen lives in Visalia, and we had met him there, sparing him his usual 45 mile drive. As a bonus, he led us to the local Black Bear Diner, one of our favorites, where we enjoyed a fantastic lunch.

   
Homer Ranch Preserve Teri, Allen and Sue at the Black Bear
       
The area was dotted with big valley oaks Wes on the trail
        

As usual, Wes had some final words:

It's still winter but almost spring. On February 19 the Ramblers traveled to Tulare County in search of the first signs of wildflowers. On the drive, we saw fields of white flowers of the almond trees. We also saw a few fields of pink flowers on the peach trees. But as we drove east out of Visalia, we saw only the beginnings of the fiddleneck flowers. We arrived at the Dry Creek Preserve near Lemon Cove. In years past, these foothills were covered with California Poppies, popcorn flowers and lupine of various varieties.  Not so this year. The hills were green but almost devoid of wildflowers. We enjoyed a mile and a half hike in the preserve along Dry Creek. It was a beautiful day and great company. but few wildflowers. We welcomed new Ramblers including David and Jeff, who added insight and joy to the journey. We all look forward to foothill hikes next month where we may see more of those elusive wildflowers.

After lunch we said our goodbyes and headed back to Clovis and Fresno, looking forward to the three spring hikes we are planning to do in March and April.

--Dick Estel, February 2020

More Photos

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

    
Photos (Click to enlarge; pictures open in new window) 
     
Sky Harbor          Dry Creek Preserve
     
Sky Harbor
      
An artistic design in dried grass Lake Millerton in early December Wasp galls, commonly called "oak apples"
  

Dry Creek Preserve

    
Heading up the final hill Dick steps with care A lone valley oak
      
Jeff enjoys his first outing in a long time The view to the east Gravel mining operations
scooped out a place for this little pond
 
Related Links
   
Lake Millerton Dick's November Hike San Joaquin River Trail
Kaweah River Dry Creek Preserve Visalia
Lemon Cove Homer Ranch Preserve Kaweah Oaks Preserve
Black Bear Diner    
   
 
Travel Reports
   
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Before 2002
Early Trips Later Trips
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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
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
  
2018
Adventures of 2018 Part 1 Rambler Hikes 2018 Page 1
Adventures of 2018 Part 2 Rambler Hikes 2018 Page 2
Adventures of 2018 Part 3 Rambler Hikes 2018 Page 3
Adventures of 2018 Part 4 Parkfield Bluegrass 2018
Adventures of 2018 Part 5 Northern California Journey 2018
Adventures of 2018 Part 6
  
2019
Adventures of 2019 Part 1 Rambler Hikes 2019 Page 1
Adventures of 2019 Part 2 Rambler Hikes 2019 Page 2
Utah National Parks Rambler Hikes 2019 Page 3
Adventures of 2019 Part 3 Parkfield Bluegrass 2019
Adventures of 2019 Part 4 Adventures of 2019 Part 5
   
2020
Adventures of 2020 Part 1 Adventures of 2020 Part 6
Adventures of 2020 Part 2
Adventures of 2020 Part 3 Rambler Hikes 2020 Page 1
Adventures of 2020 Part 4 Rambler Hikes 2020 Page 2
Adventures of 2020 Part 5 Rambler Hikes 2020 Page 3
  
Other
Fresno Area Canal Walks Clovis Trail Walks
Butch's Blog Walker Family Trips
Parkfield Earthquake Kim & Morgan Brown Trips & Photos
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Updated February 27, 2020