Owens Mountain P750

Fri, Nov 28, 2014
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Owens Mountain lies just NE of Fresno and Clovis, one of the first Sierra foothills encountered when driving Auberry Rd. I was in the area with the family for the High School Cross-Country State Finals to be held the next day. I had just completed a three-day feasting/gorging session around the Thanksgiving holiday and was feeling in need of some exercise, looking around to see what might be available for a night hike. With a half moon overhead, Owens Mountain seemed a good objective. There is a gravel/dirt road leading from Auberry Rd to the summit, a little over three miles one-way. The route passes through private ranchlands, the nearest home about a quarter mile from the route. The land was parched and vacated in late November, awaiting seasonal rains to provide fresh grass for grazing. The 1,600-foot summit with nearly 800ft of prominence provides views overlooking the Fresno area. I imagine on most days haze obscures much of the view, but at night the city lights can be seen during much of the hike. I found a small gravel spot off the north side of Auberry to park just off the road, then hopped the first of two fences found on the dirt access road. Auberry Road is very busy at all hours, with fevered gamblers driving to and from the Table Mountain Casino found about 4 miles further up the road. Noise from the roadway is heard during most of the hike. I took a little over an hour to reach the communication towers found at the summit, and just over half that time to jog back down. The family was surprised to see me back before 10p, several hours sooner than the time I'd told them to expect me - maybe I should have looked for another mountain?

The next day my son and his Bellarmine teammates ran in the Division I race at Woodward Park in Fresno. The team finished 6th overall out of a field of twenty teams, Ryan finishing 6th among the seven team members (54th out of a field of 200). It was an exciting day for all of us and we were happy to be part of his last high school XC race. My next random city visits will be for my daughter's club VB team. :-)


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