COSUMNES RIVER PRESERVE November 5, 2004
Finished mostly with the tumult and excitement of the big election, I was ready for a respite from the news, mostly bad for enviros. I chose to motor south on Interstate 5. Exiting at the Twin Cities Road, I headed east to turn south on the signed side road to the Cosumnes River Preserve. This would be, probably, my twentieth, or so, visit.
There by about 1:30 p.m., I looked forward to a short hike and fall colors. The planted, rare oaks, near the northern trailhead parking, have grown, up to about twelve feet tall. They seem to have done more concrete work, making strolls better for casual, non-hikers. The trail junctions are now better signed, with perhaps dozens of new PVC signposts. They do need a good trail map, somewhere, though.
I walked along the little slough, with most of it covered by green algae. Nature at work, I suppose. There were good leaves of turned foliage, and I looked for reds. There looked to be regular lawn grass, along one section, along the concrete walkway. A little more work, and it'll look like a regular city park! There are several benches for resting, and a couple footbridges still there.
I detoured to the Visitor Center, over the rusting iron bridge. It was locked up, with a few visitors reading the signs. By them, there is a Sandhill Crane Festival ongoing in nearby Lodi, CA. Not enough time, or much knowledge of details, for me to visit, also.
Back to the dirt trail, I sought to find what was new. There were a few patches of mud, easily avoided. I saw plenty of pale yellows, and they have put up many a new bird house on the trees. Some trails are now signed "closed" due to areas being sensitive wildlife habitat. I walked forward on the signed "trail," across the grassy oak plains, and thought of how some hikers would enjoy the six foot wide trail/track. They can walk side by side, holding hands, even, rather than single file on a narrow footpath.
Out to the far side of the preserve, I snapped more pictures of the oaks, and noted the river to the south. I saw a rabbit, and heard plenty of birds. The trail loops back on itself, and I explored some more on the six foot wide track. Green grasses were sprouting up, and soon it will all be verdant green! Hiking under the railroad track overcrossings, I finished the loops, and then found a few leaves of wild grape, deep red. These will be found more quickly by turning left (headed in) at the overturned bench, with the right fork climbing the wooden stairs.
Some children were being conducted by adults, and they were stopped to look at tiny fish. I soon returned to my car at 3:18 p.m., and motored off for home. No spectacular sunset for today! I had been fine in my jeans, trail polyester T, and vest. The black fabric really absorbs the sun, keeping me warm.
I have to guess at how far it all is, now, once three miles before the trail closures. The area is completely flat. I snapped almost 100 digital images.
I expected not to see many birds in the wetlands across the road, and anyway, they are usually too far away for my limited zoom lens. I'd say this area is losing its once wilder appeal, for me, and thusly geared for more non-hiker types. There is some animal scat on the trails, and there were lots of gnats. I saw no ticks or mosquitoes.
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