Monday, February 29, 2016

Looking For Wildflowers And Finding So Much More




Last week, Mary and I drove west down the mountain to a place called Caliente. This, of course, is Spanish for HOT and since it usually looks like this as you drive by:


it is, indeed, well-named. But now it's early spring, after a winter that gave us some much needed rain, and Caliente and the surrounding hills look more like Ireland than California. The patches of orange you see on the side of the mountain, both in my header photo and the top picture here, are California poppies. 


This is the prettiest landscape I have seen in a very long time. I inhaled the beauty of the green grass, and 


the orange poppies along the wayside. When we came to this fork in the road, I said to Mary, "let's take the left one." Something I soon came to regret. The road became more and more narrow as it climbed up the mountain, my stomach responding in kind. Janice, you are so right, no guard rails in California. At least not on back roads. Mary drove, which was good --  I could keep my eyes closed. 


We stopped for a while along the road and I took a few pictures. This one of the snow clad Sierra Nevada mountains in the distance and the sad sight of almost every oak tree infested with mistletoe.


While mistletoe may be cute for Christmas kisses, out here it's a pest that can kill oak trees. I'm sure the trees are weaker now, due to the drought, and thus more susceptible. It was a very sad sight, all the dying trees.


Mary drove like a champ and soon got me off the scary road down to a place called Walker's Basin. It is named after this guy:



Joseph R. Walker, a pioneer and most likely the first white man to lay eyes on Yosemite Valley, California, according to Wikipedia. I got a feeling that this place that bears his name hasn't changed all that much, 


with free-ranging cattle crossing the road, horses grazing, and ranches spread out across the fields. 


After a while, we arrived in Twin Oaks, a small community with this old-fashioned building, once a school house, now a general store and cafeteria. Mary and I took a break there and soaked up the country atmosphere. 


The road is circular, so, lucky me, I didn't have to cross that mountain again. As we drove back toward Caliente, it was getting late afternoon and we met cows heading home, many with tiny calves that looked no more than a few days old, if that. 





As we neared the end our road trip, the landscape changed drastically and became a deep canyon with sheer rock walls. 



It was a lovely day, spent with someone who is now a very good friend. I'm learning that good things do happen after difficult times. 

I know I haven't posted anything for a long time, but I haven't been blogger idle. I will post an update soon.








26 comments:

  1. Hi Inger - gosh that green is wonderful and those Californian poppies are a delight. I love doing journeys like that - and it's so special you can head off into the distance and pass few cars ... a few troublesome cows - but other than that - time to take in a view or two ... gorgeous tour around. Walker's Basin probably does look like it did .. so glad you've taken us on a tour and allowed us to travel with you and Mary - that's great news you travelled together ... cheers Hilary

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  2. Such a beautiful place to take a drive, even with the scary mountain road! I love seeing all that green and I am waiting for Spring!

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  3. When I last visited your page, I wondered what that orange was - it's hard to think just how many poppies were there to be able to see them from such a distance!
    So happy to hear that you are out and about! You brought home some beautiful pictures. I needed a California pck-me-up, Thanks!

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  4. Glad to see you back in blog land. This looks like a great day trip - California is such a beautiful state - no matter where you go! Great pictures. Thanks for sharing. Have a good week.

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  5. Ser att du har vår grönskan är så vacker ,lite skillnad till vår vita värld ,kramen Nette

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  6. I always love your pictures. The landscape feels so familiar to me. As I think I have mentioned, my grandparents lived in southern CA and I spent many summers with them and we would often take road trips to other parts of CA as well as Arizona. I miss all this beauty so much!

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  7. What a beautiful day to get out for a drive! Those orange poppies are gorgeous and I love your new blog banner! Hugs, Diane

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  8. What beautiful pictures. I felt as if I were on the road trip with you. Yes, you are very lucky to have such a good friend!!

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  9. First, it is VERY Good to find you here . . .
    Thank you for the lush looking photos, and the marvelous driving adventure. I had not heard of Caliente OR Walker's Basin until now . . . so all of this is a terrific surprise. sending love, -g-

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  10. what a wonderful drive to take and a place to visit. love love the cows in the road and the waving green grass in your header is gorgeous. it does look a lot like the photos i have seen of Ireland. i got scared reading about the winding road and i would never close my eyes, i want to know when bad stuff happens so i can scream

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  11. Thanks for taking us on this trip with you--I'm surprised we could all fit into one car!!

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  12. I am glad to see you back, Inger!
    What a great trip and beautiful photos! Sounds you and Mary had a very nice time.
    Love the orange California poppies and your header is very gorgeous!
    Hope you have a nice week ahead.
    Many hugs!

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  13. First off, good to 'see' you today, Inger at Ocean Breezes!!
    Now for THOSE POPPIES! I have never seen so many!! Can only imagine what seeing them 'live' must be like, Inger. this road trip was simply astounding......you live in beautiful country. Your header is wonderful!
    So good to read that you are finding your way after such a difficult year your have had.

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  14. Aaah thank you so much for the California Poppy pictures. When Jim and I moved into our home 25 years ago I planted these brilliant flowers which returned over the years but alas died off. I always loved seeing them lilting in the breezes. I found one white one once which caught everyone's eye. Your trip into the mountains and all that greenery, amazing. I an smell the fresh fragrance. Too bad about the mistletoe destroying so much. We have a friend who lives in northern France. She sent pictures showing mistletoe high in the trees. She also said it is not what you want to see on your trees. I will tell her to try and remove it if possible. Thanks for showing us your world Inger and please take your time in doing so.!

    Cheers Ron

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  15. wow, poppies! love to see all the greenery - for as long as it lasts. :)

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  16. So glad you explained the poppies. My eyes were drawn to them immediately. How interesting that there are still free range areas left. I thought those were all gone. It's terrific that you have found such an adventurous friend to pal around with.

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  17. This is my kind of road trip. LOVE those roadside poppies. Such gorgeous pops of color. I never would have thought that cattle would be free ranging. Interesting to me!

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  18. Green grass and golden poppies--such beautiful landscape with our without the green! It is a magnificent landscape.

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  19. Beautiful. Those poppies really stand out. Such a different landscape from where I live but both places have their own beauty.

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  20. I wish I could take you on some of my rural blood runs on a spring day. The tall pines, the flowering clover, and the rolling hills (strange down here in Louisiana). It is very beautiful here but no mountains. But all is green and blooming. You would love it here for spring. For summer, not so much! :-)

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  21. It's so nice seeing a post from you. I've been on blogger too but haven't found time to post...
    I'm so happy for you that you finally can see all the green grass and the beautiful wild flowers. I can buy California poppies in one of my seed catalogue and to think that there's a gazillion on the mountains. What breathtaking beauty this must be. I'm like you, narrow roads in the mountains without guard rails would just about do me in... Mary is a brave driver...

    I had no idea that Mistletoe could suffocate a big Oak tree. I wonder why they use Mistletoe as a symbol for kissing at Christmas... Those cows still have their pointy horns. I wouldn't want the car to break down on the road when cows are calving. Some can get pretty protective, not to mention the bulls.
    There goes my over imaginative mind.
    Hugs,
    JB

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    1. That should be california poppy seeds... JB

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    2. Here I'm racing through my comments and I meant to tell you that I heard on the news that Death Valley was ablaze with all kind of beautiful wild flowers blooming and it's usually brown. That must be a good sign for hope.
      JB

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  22. I could imagine being there with you Inger, thank you for the tour of your world.

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  23. I love poppies, so those are great pics for me! Sounds like your drive was rather nerve wracking, but worth it!
    Cat

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Thanks for leaving a comment.. ~~ Inger

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