I thank back tracked a little to Gates, and took Gates to the the highway 132 (Maze), turned right, crossed over the river, turned left onto River Road, then left on Dairy and found the parking area very quickly. I got there at a good time, there were no other vehicles in the parking lot. There is a small picnic area, and a four mile nature trail. This park is noted for riparian bunnies. I didn't think I would see one, but saw two within a couple seconds on the trail, but skirting into the bushes ahead of me. No was to get a picture. However I continued on. The lower trail follows a slough, and in that slough I saw the biggest bird I have seen in the wild, reminded me of an ostrich but of course much smaller. I think they are blue herons. I also saw plenty of great egrets, some in flight. There were smaller birds, and plant life different than I see normally. The trail goes around the slough so I saw the egrets from another angle as well.
While going around the slough, one of those bunnies came out of the thicket, and seeing me froze, hoping I wouldn't notice him. I got a couple of pictures. Later a big squirrel did the same thing, and then I saw another bunny way in front of me hopping down the trail.
The riparian forest is =incredible. Everything is off limits except the trail--the are protecting wildlife.
The amenities are an out house at the parking lot. I am glad it was there. As noted I turned back before completing the trail. If you walk far enough the map shows you coming up on the San Joaquin River, old channels and new channel. Also the Tuolumne River flows into the San Joaquin in the refuge.
I returned home a different way. Followed Dairy until it hit Center Street and took that back to River Road. I crossed the 132 onto Kasson which goes through San Joaquin City (an old ghost town with nothing there any more but a monument where the plaque use to be. Then I got on Airport and returned home. It was a fun couple hour diversion. And for me it was a terrific discovery.
|From the platform|
|Nature Hike, bird of prey|
|Blue Herons is my guess, very large birds|
|Great White Egrets|
|Little bird in the reeds|
|riparian Brush rabbits are endangered species in the refuge. I don't think this is a sample as has a white butt|
|What is that in the bush?|
|tree samples of the riparian forrest|
|barbed wire from San Joaquin City; alas the city is gone|