Waking up too late to check out the approach, and possibly climb Snow Mountain (7,056') in the Coast Range, I also figured not to try, yet, to motor up to Eureka, CA, for a few days, and climb King Peak along with hiking trails through the Redwoods.

Dining and walking about town, I took off, after a late lunch, to head southbound on Interstate 5, and shortly come to the Cosumnes River Preserve. You take Twin Cities Road Exit, turn left (east), and then right (south), in a mile or so, to the Preserve. There have been some changes. The former gravel parking at the north end of the paved trail is signed "no parking," now, so I parked at the Preserve Headquarters. The signs say the gates close at 4 p.m.

By 2:30 p.m., I sauntered across the slough bridge, and took the dirt trail right (south). The light was a bit hazy, and I was surprised that the red colors of the profuse sumac leaves made such a good photo subject. The former route of the trail had been changed, and I hiked under the railroad bridge. Coming then to the oak riparian forest, I delighted in shooting many an image. They had placed many bird houses, and then I came to the Cosumnes River. Two great blue herons flew up, and this was the first time I had seen them so closely.

Meandering through the forest, I snapped several photos. The late afternoon light streamed through the trees, and I managed to compose a panorama of a nice spot. Some egrets flew about the further slough, and I had seen many mallards and terns back at another wetland area. Winter is a great time to view wildlife!

The trail extends across a plain, with solitary oak trees, and many types of plants. It loops back to the main trail along Willow Slough, and then I briskly hiked back to the headquarters, to avoid being gated in. The visitor center was now closed, and it was only 3:50 p.m. Two other visitors were disappointed.

I motored over a bit, and observed a larger egret in a nearby slough, then many smaller waterbirds. It was then 4 p.m., so I departed from the area.

This proximate jaunt uses only a gallon of fuel, for me, and I managed to do some shopping on my way home. Too bad the local clubs refuse to have any such carpool ops for others to enjoy the beauty of nearby nature.

My stats were about three miles hiked, and no gain. I shot more than 150 images, and wished for a good digital recorder to capture the sounds of birds, frogs, and other animals. Entry to the Preserve is still free, and they are busy doing plenty of work.