2023 Rambler Hikes
Hikes 2017 Rambler
Hikes 2018 Rambler
2023 Page 1
2023 Page 2
2023 Page 3
2024 Page 1
San Joaquin River West
(Photos by Wes, Dave and Dick)
Ramblers finished up 2023 with two hikes in December, one of which I
missed due to a bad cold. We could not find a date that worked for
everyone, so we decided to have two hikes, six days apart. This gave
everyone a chance for an outing, and some were able to make both of
first adventure was on December 7, with our destination the one-mile
Po-ho-nichi Trail at Hensley Reservoir in the Madera County
foothills. Six Ramblers met at the trailhead - Wes, Dave, Bruce, Susan, Jackie
and myself. Wes and I were the only ones who had hiked here, at
least in recent memory.
trail goes up, then down, then up, then down, repeat, repeat,
repeat. It's a good workout for all your hiking muscles, and my
claim has always been that just when you are tired of going up, the
trail starts down, and vice versa. One of the best things
about this trail is that there are several resting benches along the
typical foothill country, with granite outcroppings, trees and at
this season, dry grass. To be more specific, much of it is blue
heading up the first hill
very welcome first downhill section
and Dick enjoying a resting bench
and granite outcroppings dot the dry hills
trail is a loop that starts and ends at a parking lot a short
distance from the park entrance. There is a day use fee, which is
waived for holders of Federal recreation passes. The property is
managed by the Army Corps of Engineers, who have never seen a place
they did not think they could improve. Hence the planting of
eucalyptus trees, when the native ones would do just fine. However,
it is a great place to camp, with electrical hookups and water at
many sites, and an RV dump station which is sometimes open. I've
camped there a number of times with my trailer and motor home.
Jackie and I plodded along, resting often and eagerly occupying the
benches. Wes went off trail to get just the right photo, and Bruce
and Susan took a side trip down by the lake, rejoining us when we
were approaching the last hill before trail's end.
Estel, December 2023
deep erosion ruts in many places on the trail
Reservoir with low water level
searching for the perfect angle for his photo
enjoyed fascinating cloud shapes
And now a few words from Dave:
As I have done in the past, I have put together another album of some of the photos taken on these hikes.
link will take you to my Google Photos account where they can be viewed.
This hike was on the Po-ho-nichi Trail located at Hensley Lake. The day use fee was $10 but Wes found out that having a Golden Eagle Pass and placing it on your dashboard would suffice (according to a conversation he had with a worker). The hike was posted as being a mile, but with so many hills going up and then down, it felt much
longer. This was one of the most difficult one-mile trails Iíve hiked lately (or
it's just that Iím getting older), but the cool temperature did make it bearable. I strongly suggest avoiding this trail during the summer but suspect it would
be enticing to visit during the spring. In any case, do not hike this trail without taking water with you.
As always, we all gathered afterwards for a relaxing picnic lunch before returning home.
You will see a lot of soil erosion of the trail due to the heavy rains in the past.
By the way, I can never take enough photos of clouds, trees and rocks when Iím doing these hikes.
I would like to return to this lake in the spring as the area should be carpeted with all types of flowers and new growth.
view east of the trail
Bruce, Susan, Dick, Dave and Jackie
Joaquin River West
was another hike I missed due to illness. Although I've hiked on
several trails in the San Joaquin River bottom just north of the
metro area, I have never gone in this way. Access to the starting
point is via the Children's Boulevard off ramp from Highway 41 just
past the river bridge. You then cross the river on the old
(pre-freeway) bridge and go under the roadway to get to the hiking
area. All hikes in the river bottom are part of the San
Joaquin River Conservancy.
A quiet stretch of the San Joaquin River
Susan, Ardyss and Bruce
hikers were Ardyss, Bruce, Susan and Dave, who provided a short report, as well as a nice batch
Wednesday, December 13, we had our group hike to the San Joaquin
River bottom at Highway 41.
had parked just before 10 a.m. when Ardyss pulled up and several
minutes later Bruce and Susan arrived on foot, having decided to
walk in from their nearby home. I didnít see the email yesterday
that Dick would not be making the hike due to illness, but we
figured we wouldnít get ourselves lost without him, at least this
time. The walk was uneventful, giving us time for casual
conversation and to get to know one another a bit more. Unlike the
last hike at Hensley Lake, there were no hills to ascend which made
me realize how out of shape I was. We avoided the trails next to the
river as parts appeared to be somewhat washed out due to last
yearís heavy rains. Fortunately, Wes had earlier noted that there
was also a nearby dirt roadway/trail that we could take without any
our hike back to the cars, we came across a young lady with two
unleashed but very well-trained dogs as you can see in the
photo. Believe me, we kept our distance even though one of the
dogs decided to follow me just for a brief moment as we continued
the hike lasted a little more than an hour. Thanks
again to Ardyss, Susan and Bruce for taking time for this hike.
Smith, December 2023