2023 Rambler Hikes Page 1

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Blue Oak Trail

     

Blue Oak Trail

January 2023 came in like a whole bunch of lions, with record rainfall, chilly winds, road closures due to rock sides, deadly flooding in parts of California, and a mid-January snowpack at 250% of normal. However, the 23rd was sunny and cool, with just a few clouds, almost no wind, and a reservoir that had gone from 60% to 80% of capacity since mid-December.

Five Ramblers met at the town of Friant, in front of Friant Dam, where Wes, Dick, Carolyn, Allen and Sue squeezed into Wes's Highlander for the short drove into Millerton State Park, to hike the Blue Oak Trail along the edge of the lake.

We were delighted to see the water so high, having walked here a number of times when the lake was dozens of yards below the high water mark, with lots of bare soil marked with ridges that recorded the changes in level, as in this photo from 2018..

This trail goes to a marina at Winchell Cove, a distance of a little less than two miles. Most of us are not up for a four mile round trip hike, but at least once in the past we placed cars at both ends of the trail, making for a two mile hike. This is a hassle and requires payment of the $10 entrance fee at both ends. Being retirees on fixed incomes we are frugal, and contented ourselves with an out and back hike that was probably about 1.9 miles.

   
Just under a half million acre feet of winter runoff,
ready to water the crops of the San Joaquin Valley
The lake level is the highest of any Rambles hike
    

This is alleged to be a prime location for spotting bald eagles, and though we have looked in every tree on previous trips, we had never seen one. This time we were lucky and a huge bird posed in the top of a blue oak for a few photos before soaring off to take care of official eagle business.

    
After many hikes with no eagles, we saw two on this outing He posed for awhile, then took flight

       

With all the rain, the foothills were a brilliant green, and we even saw a few wildflowers just starting what should be a spectacular bloom. Hawks flew overhead, and ground squirrels scampered among the rocks below the trail. All in all, we could not have asked for better conditions or better companions. What we didn't see were people. We met one hiker on the trail and had our group photo taken by a couple who were sitting on a bench at the trailhead.  

   
Lots and lots of rain has produced early green grass all over the foothills One of a dozen or so ground squirrels we saw
   
Ramblers at the Blue Oak Grill: Dick Estel, Sue Wirt, Carolyn
Amicone, Don McClellan, Allan Ward, Wes Thiessen
Sue, Dick, Allen and Carolyn on the trail
    

As usual, Wes had a few post-hike thoughts: "Just a few miles from the city, we found a quiet place in the country with very few people around. It was so relaxing I could go back time and again. We finished this adventure with lunch at the Blue Oak Grill at Table Mountain Casino, where Don joined us. I can report we only ate lunch. The 'one armed bandits' did not take any of our hard earned cash (ha!). In a couple of weeks, Dick is taking us to another quiet place in the country. You won't want to miss it."

You also don't want to miss Wes's video of the Ramblers on the trail. By the way, if my count is correct, this was our 97th hike, meaning we will hit 100 in March. Stay tuned!

--Dick Estel, January 2023

More Photos

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    
Photos (Click to enlarge; pictures open in new window) 
     
Blue Oak Trail
     
Blue Oak Trail
(Photos by Wes & Dick)
      
The Ramblers, at the end of the hike Wes captured a beautiful scenic view Wes, Sue, Allen and Carolyn pause and pose
      
 A common sight - a tree down across a trail Carolyn makes her way under the barrier We always enjoy seeing this unusual rock formation
 
Related Links
Millerton Lake Millerton State Recreation Area Millerton Eagle Tours
Table Mountain Casino Blue Oak Grill Friant Dam
Blue Oak Trail Video (You Tube)
 
Travel Reports
   
Before 2002     2002     2003     2004     2005     2006     2007     2008     2009     2010     2011

2012     2013     2014     2015     2016     2017     2018    2019     2020     2021     2022     2023     Other

   
Before 2002
Early Trips Later Trips
Camping Trips Backpacking Trips
Early Stargazer Rock Camps 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 5
Adventures of 2020 Part 2 Adventures of 2020 Part 6
Adventures of 2020 Part 3 Adventures of 2020 Part 7
Adventures of 2020 Part 4 Rambler Hikes 2020 Page 1
  
2021
Adventures of 2021 Part 1 Adventures of 2021 Part 5
Adventures of 2021 Part 2
Adventures of 2021 Part 3 Rambler Hikes 2021 Page 1
Adventures of 2021 Part 4 Rambler Hikes 2021 Page 2
 
2022
Adventures of 2022 Part 1 Rambler Hikes 2022 Page 1
Adventures of 2022 Part 2 Rambler Hikes 2022 Page 2
Adventures of 2022 Part 3 Rambler Hikes 2022 Page 3
Adventures of 2022 Part 4 Utah Parks
  
2023
Adventures of 2023 Page 1 Rambler Hikes 2023 Page 1
Adventures of 2023 Page 2 Rambler Hikes 2023 Page 2
Dinosaur National Monument
  
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 27, 2023