Tony Krizan

Backyard hikes

I presented a slide show on a series of area hiking trails at the Forks Resort on the south shore of Bass Lake last Saturday evening, introducing easy-to-strenuous adventures from Bass Lake to Yosemite National Park.

The presentation was made at the invitation of owners Ron and Leslie Cox on the Forks dock overlooking the still surface of the lake. Seating was conveniently provided by the picnic tables on the dock - some patrons brought their own chairs. A fantastic setting facing the lake’s north shoreline with all the lights shining like diamonds on a black velvet cloth.

Since we were within walking distance to the Forks, someone stated they came for dinner and a movie - not a bad idea.

The audience seemed to be made up of people looking for new trails, and those who rekindled memories of past hiking experiences.

The presentation begins with the introduction of the Forks Trail and Spring Cove Trail leading to the Goat Mountain Lookout Tower. The Forks Trailhead is located left of the Forks Resort behind the Forks Campground. This moderate to strenuous hike has a gradual increase in elevation from 3,400 feet to 4,670 feet at the Goat Mountain Lookout Tower.

The first three miles will have the bulk of elevation increase until reaching the utility road. This almost level road skirts across the ridge before the final push in elevation to the Goat Mountain Tower at 4,670 feet. The Spring Cove Trail is 1.7 miles shorter after intersecting the Forks Trail. Willow Creek, Lewis Creek, Corlieu Fall, Chilnualna Falls, and Alder Fall are also typical mountain trails that increase in elevation and can be considered moderate to strenuous hikes.

Always check your map, and if confused, contact the area Forest Service Station.

The next highlights included Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, Clouds Rest, Liberty Cap, and Yosemite Falls ... all of which dazzled the audience with their breathtaking views. These trails were just a few during the show beginning from the floor of Yosemite Valley. Most of the trails that lead out of Yosemite Valley are strenuous hikes.

During the presentation, I responded to many questions that made for a fun, although longer-than-normal evening. We also experienced another surprising delay from Mother Nature ... a few unscheduled gusts of wind.

Another distraction was the sound of gun shots (my first impression) from across the lake. By the time we reacted the sky lit up with fireworks. I turned to the audience and stated, ‘there is no extra charge for this added entertainment’ - entertainment that is probably not the greatest of ideas, considering the extra dry conditions of the surrounding area, and the fact that fireworks are illegal in Eastern Madera County.

As stated earlier, this 30-minute show lasted almost an hour with a delightful audience sharing their experiences within the wilderness of our Sierra Nevada Mountains. Looking forward sometime in the future to meeting a few of these hikers along our mountain trails.

NOTE: If any private party or group is interested in a presentation of this program, contact Tony Krizan at