Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Kern National Wildlife Refuge

Due to weather predictions of 40 mph wind and heavy rainfall with possible flooding, we decided to extend our stay in Bakersfield for a couple of days.  This area had already been getting lots of rain as we were seeing flooding in the fields.

The Kern National Wildlife Refuge is about an hour from us and we thought we could get there and back before the bad weather rolled in.

There are 2 roads into the Refuge, we took the one closest to us.  Along the way we saw lots of agriculture.
Flowering fruit and nut trees.
 Grape vines.
Feed lots.

We were also starting to see birds in the flooded areas.
Long-billed Dowitchers
We passed a sign saying the road was closed.  We kept going.  About another mile we saw another sign saying the road was flooded and closed.  We still kept going.  The only other option was to backtrack many miles to get to the other road going into the Refuge.  The road seemed fine although the surrounding fields were flooded.

Sure enough, we finally got to the actual closure.
We turned around, reprogrammed the GPS, and headed to the other road.  By this time it was starting to sprinkle a little and the clouds were getting pretty dark but we finally made it to the refuge.
The Kern NWR is 1,249 acres in the southern portion of California’s San Joaquin Valley.  We went into the small headquarters building and were told that, even though the signs have blown down, one of the driving loops was closed but the other was open.

The brochure states “The refuge auto tour route is a 6-mile all weather gravel road open daily from sunrise to sunset.” 
Very good advice! 
All weather gravel tour loop.
The road might have been advertised as “all weather” but it probably should have been closed.  It was quite soft. We saw a couple of birds perched up on wires and fences.
Loggerhead Shrike

Savannah Sparrow
There were lots of birds but with the rain getting heavier, we weren’t able to roll the windows down to see much.
Bufflehead pair
Ruddy Duck male
We drove back to the RV and settled in for a long day of wind and rain. We seem to have arrived in California just in time to see the long drought broken!


  1. Since you two might be partially responsible for the end of the drought, CA should give you free fuel through the state.

  2. We did your "just keep going and see" thing once in a snow storm in Washington. Sure enough, we eventually had to turn around and back-track.

    1. I figured that since it was a "road flooded" situation u'd give it a look. I was going to go on across until I saw that a section of pavement had actually washed out and I couldn't tell how deep the hole was. So close!!