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Hikers' winter havens

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Hikers' winter havens

Postby ERIC » Fri Feb 08, 2008 12:35 pm

Hikers' winter havens

By MAREK WARSZAWSKI ; McClatchy Newspapers
Published: February 7th, 2008 01:12 PM
Link to Article


With all the best trails buried in snow, winter can be a frustrating time for hikers who don't want to cool their heels.

Thank goodness for the Sierra Foothill Conservancy.

This winter and spring, the nonprofit land trust is inviting hikers to explore each of its four preserves located on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada in Fresno and Madera counties in California.

Image
The Sierra Foothill Conservancy led a group of
hikers including. from left, Jane Pritchard,
Bob Carter, Caroline Dezan and Robin James,
through the McKenzie Table Mountain Preserve
in California on Jan. 12, 2008.
(Darrell Wong/The Fresno Bee/MCT)


All hikes are free and led by docents who can answer most questions on the land's fauna and history.

The SFC's four preserves - McKenzie Table Mountain, Fine Gold Creek, Black Mountain and Tivy Mountain - each offer a different flavor.

Covering nearly 2,700 acres, the McKenzie Preserve is the largest and consists mainly of grasslands, blue oak woodlands and flat volcanic mesas. Be sure to summit the tabletops for a chance to examine vernal pools that provide a seasonal home to fairy shrimp and several rare plants.

Across the San Joaquin River, Fine Gold Creek is the SFC's newest addition. The preserve protects 718 acres of land and 1 { miles of the seasonal creek essential to many foothill animals.

The 992-acre Miller Preserve, on Black Mountain, is home to the rare flowering shrub carpenteria (also called tree anemone) as well as 20 other wild plants.

Image
Larry Hawkins walks by a pool of water
during a hike with the Sierra Foothill
Conservancy in the McKenzie Table Mountain
Preserve in California in January.
(Darrell Wong/The Fresno Bee/MCT)


Further south, the 825-acre Tivy Mountain Preserve towers over the lower Kings River near Piedra, Calif. The peak boasts outstanding views - your reward for a burly 2,000-foot climb.

Hikes range in difficulty from easy 3-mile strolls on established trails to strenuous marches that require up to 6 or 7 hours of steep cross country.

All hikes begin at 9 a.m. and are scheduled through April 20. Although reservations are not required, be sure to bring water, lunch and sturdy shoes. Dogs are not allowed. Call (559) 855-3473 for possible weather cancellations.

FROLIC IN THE FOOTHILLS

The Sierra Foothill Conservancy is offering free hikes through April 20 on its four nature preserves. Here's the schedule:

Feb. 9: Table Mt. tabletop
Feb. 16: Fine Gold Creek
Feb. 23: Table Mt. loop trail
Feb. 24: Black Mt. summit
March 1: Table Mt. tabletop
March 2: Black Mt. summit
March 8: Table Mt. loop trail
March 9: Fine Gold Creek
March 29: Table Mt. tabletop
March 30: Tivy Mt. peak
April 5: Table Mt. tabletop
April 6: Black Mt. summit
April 12: Tivy Mt. peak
April 13: Table Mt. Discovery Trail
April 19: Black Mt. summit
April 20: Table Mt. tabletop
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ERIC
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Re: Hikers' winter havens

Postby TehipiteTom » Fri Feb 08, 2008 3:56 pm

Cool article, Eric--thanks for posting it. Looks like those folks are doing some good work.

Anyone who hikes out of the central westside trailheads (Edison to Wishon) will recognize Table Mountain. Going up to the trailhead, you drive right past the entrance to the preserve. I didn't know that before.
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