EL DORADO TRAIL 2X AND THE COSUMNES RIVER PRESERVE November 18-19, 2003
Taking advantage of the fine weather between the storms, I motored, on Tuesday, in the afternoon to Placerville, CA. I wished to check out the lingering fall colors on this relatively new bike trail. Exit off U.S. 50 on Mosquito Road, or take Broadway exit and drive back west to get to this road. A short way north is Placerville Station, with facilities and a bus stop. I parked here, and began my 6 mile walk.
First going through a tunnel, the paved, 8 foot wide path leads along the freeway. Going over a small bridge, I was assailed by sights of good color. Amidst the pines and firs, big leaf maple and black oak made a spectacular, fall sight of nature. I'd say it was at peak. I snapped away, and many users were enjoying this fine, sunny day. Many walk their dogs, with poop bags and disposal cans available at points along the trail. The locals must keep this trail pretty clean, and free of litter.
Some roads are crossed, then a series of small plaques are situated along the trail, honoring various persons. To another major side road, I went left to walk along this paved road, then to come to the big, official parking lot with the sign, "El Dorado Trail." The trail continues east, climbing gradually. Before the pavement ends, a concrete pedestrian bridge crosses over U.S. 50, and the trail continues further along as dirt. I will have to check this out sometime later.
I turned around at 3:01 p.m. The sun was getting lower, and I knew to go check out the sunset. High clouds promised a good one.
Back to my car by 4 p.m., I motored off. Westbound on U.S. 50, I took the El Dorado Hills Boulevard exit to head north. I found that Olsen Lane goes up to Gillette Drive, then to Ridgeview. Kalithea Park offers a place to park, and walk out and enjoy the view to the Sacramento Valley. I snapped a few photos of the sunset. The electric lights of the new Folsom city were winking on.
Motoring about this beautiful, and no doubt expensive, neighborhood, I found other side streets to take me to other views. This area is still in the process of being developed. Once, I mourned the loss of the oak woodlands and the end to the undeveloped nature of this whole area. Happy for the people who now live here, I guess if I ever won Lotto big-time, I also might consider some property here, too.
I did some 6 miles with 400' gain. I shot 66 digital images, and spent nothing except for fuel. A light jacket was comfortable, with unzipping, while walking up the easy grade, in the sun.
With more fog free weather on Wednesday afternoon, I motored the short distance on Interstate 5 to Twin Cities Road exit. Headed east, then south, I came to the gravel parking for the Willow Slough Preserve, or also, the Cosumnes River Preserve. The managing agencies have now built a concrete sidewalk, in place of the dirt trail, for the first quarter mile or so. Speaking with another user, he said they had just completed this construction a few weeks ago. I was too rushed, later, to speak with the people in the Preserve office, so I am unable to confirm this. The planted oaks, near the start, are now up to 20 feet tall. They are of a rare species, growing only in California.
The concrete sidewalk ends at the big bridge over to the main visitor center. I headed further along the dirt trail, and saw that the trail has been extended far along the Cosumnes River, past the railroad bridge. Having the time, I followed the new trail through more oak woodlands. There are not the vibrant, fall colors to view, with mainly only the willows, and perhaps sumac, that are turned. The still waters of the river reflected the colors of the cottonwoods and willows.
I had spotted a large bird in a sort of "mangrove" swamp, and later snapped pictures of a cottontail rabbit. Additions have been made to this preserve, and now this trail is put in. Kayaking is supported, and it seems some minimal impact camping, whenever they would allow that, might be fun to do.
The trail goes out, then turns to loop back on itself. I saw a few other hikers enjoying nature, and then I headed to the visitor center. Donating a couple coins, I sought to get information, but the attendants were busy. Back to the trail, I came back to my car in time to wait for the sunset. There is another concrete trail over to the extensive, wetland side of the preserve. Several cranes and geese were about. A warning sign cautions about disturbing the birds after dusk. I needed a 10X zoom, but I walked back away from them rather than try to get close with only my 3X zoom.
The sunset wasn't a really good one, so I motored off at 4:50 p.m.
I'd say the total loop distance is now some 3 miles. I shot some 100 digital images. I was fine with a heavy pullover.
As the environment gains more attention locally, money comes in to support habitat. Once a member of The Nature Conservancy, whose extensive holding of preserves, world-wide, is the result of perhaps the biggest fund raising effort to save the planet, I am too strapped for cash right now to afford the dues. But, it is a blessing to have local, natural, areas to be set aside to allow the enjoyment of wildlife and some planetary ecology.
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