Saturday, July 18, 2009

Swimming Pools on No-Name Creek

About an hour northeast of Fresno, Caifornia, up past Shaver Lake and then above Dinkey Creek Campground is a stream that has no name on any map that I have seen. The thin blue line that marks its position is apparent enough, but even the Dinkey Creek Quadrangle map doesn't condescend to give it a name. This is a bit odd because it is known by a lot more people than many of the bigger streams in the area. I don't mean to imply that it is a well known stream. It isn't. But any summer weekend there will be a handful of hikers doffing t-shirts and jumping into one of the many refreshing pools. It's a great place for a swim. This picture is of one of my favorite pools. Occasionally I get up the nerve to jump in from the 10-15 feet edge off to the right. There are lot of other pools with swimming, sliding and diving opportunities depending on your level of interest.

We learned about the place from some friends while camping near Dinkey Creek last year and decided to check it out. The road (10S36) heads north from Camp Fresno less than a mile east of the Dinkey Creek bridge (on the road to Courtright Reservoir). It's a dirt road that climbs over a thousand feet to a dead-end a few miles up the mountain. About a mile after you pass Reese Creek (and maybe two miles after you pass a gated road to the east) you come to a bank of earth across the road that prevents you from driving any further. Park here and then walk less than half a mile along this road to where it ends. This is the point of the pink line on the map.

The road/trail ends below an incline. If you climb to the top, you can see the stream a few hundred feet down a steep canyon. It's tempting to descend from this point - and in fact, this is what we did last year with a handful of young teenagers. It took us a while to get to the stream because of the steep rock face. This descent is not for faint hearts. I should also mention that there are no trails down to the stream. You have the option to go down here or take the longer rout.
This year we followed the longer rout (the pink line on the map) and went around the rocky area. It is still a tiring hike through pines and over boulders but it is doable for anyone who doesn't mind fairly steep climbs or descents. Anyway, the hike only makes you eager to jump into the pools when you get there. You won't want to leave. (But don't go without sunscreen if you have light skin. The sun shines bright at 7,000 feet.). This last picture is of the rocky descent from across the canyon to the north (looking south). You can see a couple of the minor pools at the bottom of the canyon.

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