Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Woodward Park Fresno, California The MacMichael Loop Trail

Woodward Park Fresno, California

The MacMichael Loop Trail

Dale Matson

Click On Photographs To Enlarge

Many mornings on my daily walks with my Airedale Susie I head for the MacMichael Loop in the lower section of Woodward Park. Much of the 1.5-mile loop follows closely along the San Joaquin River as it flows through the north section of the park. The river also is the boundary between Fresno County to the south and Madera County to the south. Before Friant Dam was constructed, this was part of an annual flood plain.
As of this writing, the San Joaquin is about as high, wide and fast as I have ever seen it during my 25 years in Fresno. I have included a video clip of the river in my morning photos with my Sony RXIR.
As of this date (03-07-17) The Fresno Bee indicates Millerton Lake at 74% capacity, inflow at 5,942 cubic feet per second and combined outflow (San Joaquin River, Friant Kern Canal and Madera Canal) at 10,755 cubic feet per second. So, about twice the inflow is being released to accommodate anticipated future inflow because of lack of storage upstream.
In the early mornings, as the sun is coming up one can see the outline of the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the east. There can be varying degrees of fog in this lower area year round but fog is guaranteed in the winter season. This brings with it a rather mystical feel as you walk in the silence of the morning hours. It is usually about five degrees cooler down below year round in the early morning and in the summer runners appreciate that.
Sometimes you can see the distant headlamps of hikers and runners as they also travel the  loop trail. Susie insists on causing a commotion as other dogs pass by. This cannot be trained out of an Airedale. It is part of their nature. At times she will become beside herself because she is aware of other creatures in the area. We have seen Bobcats, lots of Coyotes and Deer, Eagles, Owls, Geese, Great Blue Herons, Egrets, Ducks and Osprey along the river and once a shadowy blur of a mountain lion passing out of sight into the fog. My headlamp will often catch the glow of eyes in the dark and it is somewhat disconcerting to see several pairs of what I know are Coyotes sizing us up. I am thankful Susie is on the leash.
Although there are some sections where there is obsessively redundant and annoying fencing, the foggy views are wonderful and ever changing. On the return toward home I we usually head up to the ponds where hopeful fishermen are patiently waiting to land a planted trout.

I have written previously about Woodward Park, which has several other venues to recommend it.  If you want to find out additional information just type “Woodward Park” in the Mid Sierra Musings search box or ‘Google’ the name.  

YouTube Video From Today

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