Date: November 4, 2017
Place: Mokelumne River Day Use Area, Clements, California
Coordinates: 38.222577, -121.033918
Length: about 2 miles
Last November my family went to the Annual Lodi Sandhill Crane Festival again, three years after the last time we participated. As always it was a beautiful, highly educating, and a well coordinated event. Apparently it had also become more popular in the last three years because more than a month before the festival nearly all of the tours I wished to sign for were already fully booked. So we ended up doing tours we had already done before, and had a great time nonetheless. I posted here about this festival on the first year we attended it. This time I post on specific trail we took a tour on last November - the Mokelumne River Trail.
We arrived at the trailhead early in the morning and the air was still cool. The sky was overcast and remained so throughout the hike. Our guide gathered everyone and we descended to the riverfront to take a look.
A few mergansers were swimming at the edge of our view. Closer to us swam a coot. Pappa Quail spotted a great blue heron in the nearby vegetation.
|Great Blue Heron|
|Our hike as captured by Pappa Quail's GPS|
|Common Madia, Madia elegans|
|Swamp Verbena, Verbena hastata|
|Moth Mullein, Verbascum blattaria, non-native|
At the base of the Comanche Dam that locks the Camanche Reservoir of the Mokelumne River there is now a fish hatchery facility to facilitate the ongoing procreation of steelhead trout and chinook salmon.
The fish, desperate to get to their spawning site jump rapids and waterfalls on their way upstream, but jumping at the man-made barriers is futile.
|The holding pools|
|Turkey Vultures having sushi|
|Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni var. wislizeni|
|Ruby-crowned Kinglet on a Coast Live Oak, Quercus agrifolia|
I would have loved to see this place the way it was before the damming of the river, but that is only for the imagination now. The area, lovely as it is today, is heavily man-managed. The river course, the fishery, the vegetation, and through those - the birds.