The Alpha Blonde


This article was written on 03 Jul 2010, and is filled under 31 days of Fresno: Summer Edition, The 168.

31 Days- Summer Edition: Day 3- The 168

Okay, so this is something I haven’t done much of- you know the whole argument that Fresno is a great place to be because of it’s proximity to other places…

But really…

I’m just putting it out there, I LOVE the 168.

I love that it just skims the edge of town and then poof, you’re headed off into happy camping/hiking/fishing/skiing land. I love that on a clear day you can see the mountains it leads you to so clearly and enticingly. Every time I drive across town on it I think to myself “Who would miss me if I just stayed on this freeway and went and made some s’mores and rocked out with the granite up near Huntington for the night.”

My favorite part about the 168 is that it leads to my favorite place worth packing a bag for- Camp Tamarack. It’s just below Huntington Lake and it is the place I spent all of my summers as a kid, and I’ve spent all of my summers directing camps as an adult. I can’t look at the 168 without nostalgia washing over me and making me want a crisp Sierra meadow filled with lupine and evergreen and self discovery.

I can point out all of the places my old Accord broke down on that road while trying to get up there- and all of the places the Sheriff stopped to make sure everything was okay. I can show you the turns we always had to take SO SLOW because my sister would get motion sickness. I love this one particular flat slab of rock along the road on the mountainside and I smile whenever I pass it.

And I love the quirky places along the way like that one place with the chainsaw carved wooden bear.

I know it isn’t technically IN Fresno, but the 168 is definitely a huge part of my Fresno experience, and I wouldn’t let someone visit our part of the state without a drive or two up that highway to see some of the unbelievable beauty our region has to offer.

Where is your favorite place to camp/fish/ski/veg the heck out with a mug of hot cocoa along the 168?


  1. Jay
    July 3, 2010

    Love the Dam Diner!

  2. Smokey Behr
    July 3, 2010

    Yeah, Kim and Jay, but the Dam Diner isn't on 168. Hit Velasco's for some killer Mexican, or MarVal for a huge sandwich on the way up. Stop at The Point for some grub, and music on the weekends. It's a great mountain-style dive bar, and there's always a rockin' cover band on Friday and Saturday nights.

    I love the 168, too, but a smoother drive is to take Willow to Copper to Auberry and head up. Auberry and Morgan Canyon (168) meet in Prather, and you don't have the twisty, narrow, 2-lane stuff like on MC.

    You can't beat Camp Edison for that back-to-nature-but-not-all-the-way camping experience. If you're really adventurous, take Kaiser Pass Rd past Huntington up to the high mountain lakes. Both Florence and Edison lakes have campgrounds, and it's at least 20-30 degrees cooler there than on the valley floor.

    My family would escape the valley heat (before there was AC) by going up to the family cabin in Alder Springs. I have pictures of my grandmother as a teenager, and of my dad as a child, in front of the old cabin, hanging on the walls of the new cabin.

  3. Kim Burly
    July 3, 2010

    This is what I get for blogging late at night, thanks for the heads up!

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