PATTERSON — Heart-pumping climbs, dog-friendly paths and walks for the kids are some of the activities that Frank Raines Park has to offer local hikers.
Located just 18 miles west of Patterson, Frank Raines is 2,000 acres of trails, hill climbs, washouts, rocky creek beds, and rutted all-terrain-vehicle trails. FR also has a softball diamond, volleyball courts, a horseshoe pit and campsite areas.
“It’s a great place to be active and enjoy the beautiful scenery,” said Patterson resident Priscilla Camacho. “I visit the park about three times a week to take my dog on walks and get in touch with the beautiful scenery Mother Nature has to offer.”
FR not only has hiking trails, but a newly developed playground area has been restored in the park with artificial trees made of concrete that serves as a slide, artificial rocks for climbing, a tree-trunk tunnel and climbing poles with faux trees.
“Kids really enjoy themselves in the playground,” added Camacho. “It’s like a little obstacle course.”
Some visitors to Frank Raines take the idyllic scenery to a whole new level.
“We get a lot of middle school and high school kids dressed in different costumes battling it out in LARP (live action role playing),” said Patterson resident Billy Keehner. “It’s really cool to watch. It’s like watching a live action movie in front of you.”
LARP, where normal people dress up in homemade armor and pretend to be inhabitants of a fantasy realm, fight battles over pretend land in a made up country that has its own culture and customs.
“Frank Raines is extremely popular for LARPing because the park gives an illusion of a fantasy place,” said Keehner. “My cousin and his high school friends play it all the time and I’m usually just there to watch. They use the playground as equipment and the tress as protection against attackers. A lot of them go all out with the costumes and paint their faces and really get into character. It’s amazing!”
Many LARP games played at FR are medieval or fantasy themed, said Keehner, and feature knights, castles, wizards, dragons, and of course, dungeons.
“You see players from different ages and genders that LARP,” said Keehner. “I’ve also seen many players LARP with their parents.”
To get to Frank Raines Park from I-5, take the Patterson off ramp and proceed west on Diablo Grande Parkway to Del Puerto Canyon Road (3/4 mile). Turn right and proceed 17 miles up the canyon to Frank Raines Regional Park.
To get to Frank Raines from Modesto off Hwy 99, take the Crows Landing exit and go to the right (south). Take J17 (W. Main Street from Turlock) to Hwy 33 in Patterson. Turn south on Hwy 33, go two miles to Sperry Road and turn west. Sperry Road becomes Diablo Grande Parkway at I-5. Proceed west on Diablo Grande Parkway to Del Puerto Canyon Road (3/4 mile). Turn right and proceed 17 miles up the canyon to Frank Raines Regional Park.
— NANCY ANGEL
209 staff reporter