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Editor's View: Day at the office takes editor afar

By: Don Chaddock, Telegraph Managing Editor
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Sometimes, the job of an editor takes me outside my comfort zone. That’s the zone that includes a steaming pot of hot coffee, my comfortable desk chair and e-mail. That’s the zone that also includes air conditioning and my coworkers. Last week, this intrepid desk jockey found himself in an RV with state senate candidate Roger Niello, trudging through waist-high star thistle with Alan Ehrgott and Noelle Robinson, sipping coffee with five school district superintendents at Bella Bru in El Dorado Hills, enjoying a barbecue dinner with local Interact and Rotary members at the new Play for All park in Folsom and eating lunch with the Folsom High School Principal Kathryn Allaman and amateur filmmaker Craig Covello to discuss a documentary they’ve made that will make its big-screen premiere this week (see story on page A11). It was a busy, but satisfying, week. Let’s talk about that new stretch of trail opening up Oct. 1. Thanks to the good folks at the American River Conservancy, the trail system comprises 25 miles and offers some breathtaking scenery. While Ehrgott drug me to the top of a hill through the aforementioned thistle, hikers will not have to brave such dangers. That was an off-trail exercise to allow me to see the trail system from a decent vantage point. The trail hugged the rushing South Fork American River while Ehrgott pointed out areas of interest, such as where they filmed parts of “Memoirs of a Geisha.” Ehrgott fell in love with the river years ago when he operated a tourism business. He saw the river canyons from a much better vantage point than I ever could — a hot air balloon. “I would ride over this canyon,” he said. “I’ve seen some amazing wildlife encounters.” He said he saw a cougar chase a deer, only to stop dead in its tracks when the big cat came to the water’s edge. “I guess it didn’t want to get wet,” he laughed. “I saw a bear lumber across a hill. We’d hover above a cottwood tree and see a ringtailed cat. It would look up, be startled to see us, and have to climb up the tree to get out. It was amazing.” He said he’s proud of the work the conservancy has done. “For me, it’s knowing this corridor is protected. It goes from the Folsom State Recreation Area all the way up to the Forest Service,” he said. Well said, Alan. And as a regular hiker, I say thank you for spending three hours with this ink slinger. Don Chaddock is the managing editor of the Telegraph. He can be reached at donc@goldcountrymedia.com.