April 14, 2015

Calm Within The Chaos

Driving down the six lane city road you would hardly guess that just three blocks away is a 396 acre county park with miles of trails, river access, an 18 hole golf course, picnic areas, a nature center and a nature preserve.  Yet, here it is.   

amid homes is the main entrance to Ancil Hoffman Park

Ancil Hoffman Park is just off a busy metropolitan road in the heart of Carmichael.  It's a quick half hour drive from our home.  I decided to take Rufus there this past Sunday to check it out again.  The last time I was here was with my daughter's fourth grade class, many years ago.

big enough for many activities or none at all
I pay my $5 entrance fee and park in the first lot on the left.  Already I see the golf course- green grass, golf carts, and plenty of shade trees.  There are even a few wild turkeys milling around.  The lot is empty, maybe 4 or 5 cars total.  Next to the lot is a huge field.  There is a lone picnic table under a tree.  No one is at the table but there is a couple nearby lounging in their chairs enjoying the quiet sounds of nature.  Since we're here for a walk, off we go...

can you see me now?!
Rufus and I reach the far end of the field.  There's a creek bed with a foot path over it.  As expected, the creek is dry.  I suppose once this awful drought is over, the water will be flowing once more.  At the other end of the foot bridge is the Effie Yeaw Nature Center.  This is a great place to learn about the regions wild life, Nisenan Maidu Indian culture and local flora & fauna.  Dogs are not allowed in this area so Rufus and I can not explore this area of the park.  Oh well.  We'll go make new discoveries of our own.

We are basically the only people here.  We pass a few people on the trail, some with dogs.  Rufus is shy.  Maybe he's scared because the other dogs are bigger than he is.  The trail is smooth and easy to walk.  Dogs must be on a leash at all times.  It's a good time to teach Rufus 'heal'.  He does a pretty good job.

the trails are smooth and nearly deserted today

My stomach tells me it's approaching lunchtime.  There's a shady spot under that large oak tree over there.  We amble our way over a dry river bed full of rocks and come to a scenic area few people see.  The poppies are in full bloom.  They grow like weeds but they're pretty in their own way. 

groups of California Poppies dot the landscape

Rufus waits for more treats :-)
our lunchtime view
the best way to spend a sunny afternoon!

With our appetites satisfied, we head out in a slightly different direction.  I know there is a river here somewhere and I'm determined to find it!  At last, the river comes into view.  I think I'm more excited than Rufus.  The river is low, but that doesn't stop families from visiting on this warm spring day.  More people and dogs for Rufus to meet.  The large Great Dane puppy towers over Rufus.  He's okay with the smaller Chihuahua.  They play for a bit until the other dog decides food is available for him.  That's fine with Rufus.  He's happy laying down and watching the ducks in the water.
pay no attention to us...
Walking back to the car, we once again pass by the golf course.  This time we see two deer enjoying the ample shade away from the action.  The golfers don't seem to mind either.  According to their website, Ancil Hoffman Golf Course is nationally ranked in the top 75 public golf courses by Golf Digest.  If I enjoyed golf, I would certainly like to play a few rounds here.

daffodils as tall as me!
One more stop before we get to the car.  I spy a marsh area just off the trail.  Among the cattails, there is a group of wild daffodils that is nearly as tall as me.  I had to get a closer peak.

All in all Rufus and I walked a little over three miles.  We had a fun time together.  Ron and I are planning to take another walk with Rufus next weekend.  Ron missed out on this one, but there will be plenty more chances in our future! 





  1. I'm always so grateful for city and county parks and any other green areas within the city. We are fortunate that near our apartment there's a nice walking trail to a park with beautiful oak trees. Tessa is mixed on her meeting of other dogs, doing better with larger than smaller most of the time. Glad you two had a nice day out in nature!

    1. The abundance of parks is part of what drew us to this area when we relocated from San Jose. Just to relax and enjoy the sounds of nature for awhile is enough to calm my mind.
      Once Rufus is better at paying attention to us, we plan to take him to an off-leash dog park. Then we'll get to see his true dog to dog reaction.


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