Friday, March 31, 2017

Art Sallee Memorial Service Northwest Church Fresno CA

Dale Matson

Today was a celebration of Art’s life and selfless compassionate service to others. It was a service designed and requested by Art before his passing. Many members of the Mountaineering Unit and ‘Jeepers’ of the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office attended along with family and friends. Those paying tribute included Art’s pastor, Trent, Art’s best friend of 40 years, Daughter Pam, Son Marc, Grandson Mitch, Lieutenant Curtice and Sheriff Mims.
Retired Sheriff’s Deputy Curtice was accompanied by guitar and sang a request from Art. There was also a video slide retrospective of Arts life. There was a display of Art’s awards and memorabilia including Art’s prized jeep. The final hymn was “Amazing Grace”
Following the service, there was a buffet meal prepared by the Northwest Church parishioners. It was good to greet old team members and Art’s family members.
That Art, “What a guy”.  

Click On Photographs To Enlarge

A Brief Tribute/Remembrance Can Be Found Here:

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Winchell Cove Cemetery At Millerton Lake

Dale Matson

Click On Photographs To Enlarge

So, you thought that the only thing preserved from the original Fresno County seat town of Millerton was the historic courthouse. Fort Miller (named after Major Albert S. Miller) and the town of Millerton have been below the waters of Millerton Lake since the dam was completed in 1942.

The occupants of the Winchell Cove Cemetery are listed in one article as deceased soldiers from Fort Miller.
However the link which actually names many of the deceased
suggests that there were also residents from the town of Millerton near the fort who were also buried there. The cemetery plaque simply states “Pioneers of the Millerton area”. The hospital at Fort Miller was later used as the Millerton School.,_California
Millerton was the original Fresno County seat when Fresno County also included what is now Madera County and parts of other counties. Millerton was conveniently located along the banks of the San Joaquin River and near the Los Angeles to Stockton road. (The memorial refers to the “Visalia to Stockton Road”). I remember reading a story from Clarence King’s book, “Mountaineering In The High Sierra,” where he wrote of traveling from the village of Visalia to Millerton and having to outrun two bandits who dogged his heals most of the way.
The demise of Millerton was the result of being flooded by the San Joaquin River (1867) and the establishment of a railroad station near what is now central Fresno (1872).,_Madera_County,_California
The cemetery is not an easy place to locate. I paid $20.00 at the Winchell Cove pay gate to gain entry to the marina parking area. The ‘official fee’ is $10.00 but the machine rejected every bill I inserted except a $20.00 dollar bill!
The cemetery is located on a small peninsula that juts out into Winchell Cove and is accessed by following a dirt road that dead ends and turns into a use trail up to the top of the hill. The cemetery is near that area.
Why does this story have particular meaning for me? My Father’s family immigrated to Quebec from Ireland in 1832. They settled in a place near Quebec City in a place called Cranbourne. The Matson’s that died there were buried in the St. George’s Anglican Cemetery in Cranbourne. That cemetery existed from 1851 to 1973. Eventually the town of Cranbourne became predominately French. A French landowner wanted the land were the cemetery was located. The deceased were exhumed and relocated to the cemetery at Christ’s Church of Springbrook near Frampton Quebec. My wife and I viewed the graves of my family who hopefully will continue to RIP there.    

                        View Of Peninsula And Marina Beyond From East Side Of Cove. Far Right Above Is Winchell Point.

Winchell Creek Waterfall As It Flows Into The Cove

Here are two photographs of a historical marker of personal interest to me on a hill near the Millerton Courthouse. They were sent to me by good friend Fr. Van McCalister

Friday, March 17, 2017

Millerton Lake: The Blue Oak Trail

Dale Matson

Click On Photographs To Enlarge
The Portion Of the Trail We Traveled Today

The Blue Oak Trail begins about a quarter mile past the entrance booths to Millerton Lake State Park off Friant Road on the Fresno County side of the lake. The first two miles of the trail run parallel to the road as the road travels north. There is a small parking area and potty at the trailhead. It is a popular trail for horseback riders, mountain bikers, runners and hikers and consists of gentle ‘rollers’ for the most part. This time of year there are no mosquitos but beware of Poison Oak in some places alongside the trail and rattle snakes. If you begin at the trailhead and go all the way to Winchell Cove, the total distance is about 8 miles round trip (out and back).
We chose to begin at the end of the road where there is also parking and potties. There is no potable water at the trailhead or where the road ends and trail continues. Our hike took us about 3 miles round trip. We had a very casual pace while looking for wildlife and taking photographs.
I recommend an early start since the sun quickly warms the exposed trail that runs along the rim of the lake. There are also fewer travelers early. At some places the trail is at the very edge of the drop-off. There is one place as you are approaching Winchell Cove where the trail requires a bit of scrambling and all but the best mountain bikes dismount and walk their bikes through this area. There is a nice big rock just past Winchell Point that provides a nice resting place. Also, if you have binoculars or a spotting scope, you can see the Bald Eagle sitting in a tree across the cove to the east by the white rectangular home (north side of house) at the tip of the peninsula. There is a nest nearby.
I would have to say that every time I’ve traveled this route I have seen at least a Red Tailed Hawk. You may also see an eagle perched on one of the trees overlooking the lake or have one fly overhead as we did this morning. I have seen some folks pass unaware underneath eagles on the trail, as the eagles remain perched above them. I have never seen deer but I have seen their tracks. I assume they go down to the lake for a drink from the woods above. There are also possible sightings of coyotes, bobcats and a rare sighting of a mountain lion. There is also an occasional home above and the area above the trail is all private land.
Today I used a Sony RX1R 35mm camera with a fixed f2 lens and my Sony A7R2 camera with an adapted telephoto Canon 400mm f4 D.O. lens. My wife took photos of wildflowers. If you are fortunate, you may get close enough for cell phone eagle photographs. My wildlife photographs were taken with the Canon lens. The photograph of the historic Millerton Courthouse from the trail is also a telephoto shot. You can also see snow covered mountains to the northeast but that view was hazy because of the stale air today. If the lake  level looks low, it is because it has been lowered intentionally in anticipation of a large snow melt this year. It is currently only about 50% of capacity.

 Millerton Courthouse From Trail (Telephoto)

 Crow In Nest Hidden By Leaves

 Tree Trunk With Hole

 Winchell Cove Marina
 Poison Oak Along Trail

 Bald Eagle Across Cove
 Young Bald Eagle In Flight

Large Flock Of Seagulls Near Dam (Telephoto From Trail) 
 Hawk In Flight

 Close By Red Tailed Hawk
Tiny Hummingbird
Red Tailed Hawk
Young Eagle Below Trail On 03-24-17
Osprey Along Trail 04-16-17