Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Camp Rutabaga

"Camp Rutabaga", also known as Diablo campground in the lakes region near Yuba Pass is named for a now famous local practical joke played on Francois and Gerda by this man in black. The sign reads "Camp Rutabaga - Home of Great White Hunters, Lumber Jacks, Bootleggers, Wild Catters & Beautifull (sic) Women". After a day on the trail, I asked that "Filthy Politcians" be added - but Francois assured me that the "Beautifull Women" was sufficient.

Jasmine was bushed and did not stray from the camp.

Francois and the campfire.

Fleeting insect companions for the local wildflowers.

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Morning light

Early morning light in the campsite - enough to read by. John McPhee's book, "Assembling California" is a fascinating account of geological explorations of California. It explains why we have gold here, what serpentine rock is, and why we have earthquakes. The route up to the Yuba Pass area traverses all the zones discussed in the book.

We decided to take a hike from the Tamarack Lakes area over a high trail pass, then down to the Sardine Lakes. Jasmine fetched sticks and had a vigorous swim:

Lilly John

The ladies in green amongst the wild flowers watched and chatted about bunnies.

A shocking turn of events happened as we started on the trail and Jasmine was attacked by one of a pair of Malamutes. Her face and ear were torn, but there was no heavy bleeding. We pampered her over the rest of the hike, and John and I dropped back as we let her rest in patches of shade. Her age (now 10 years) started to show as she slowed the pace. The extreme rockiness of the trail was hard on her paws. The route was about 4.6 miles - up about 700 feet, then down about 800 feet.

It's a long way down to the lakes - Lower Sardine on the left and Upper Sardine on the right. The trail comes out at about 7500 feet of elevation, well below the peaks beyond. We passed the "Young American" mine ruins below the trail. The trail began to look more and more like a narrow mining trail suitable for ore carts. Across the valley with the lakes are the Sierra Buttes. On the tip of the highest peak is an old fire lookout station:

We returned to "Camp Rutabaga" hot, dusty, torn and worn.

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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Yuba Pass and the Feather River

In the Sierra Valley high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains is the source of the Feather River. On our way to camping at "Camp Rutabaga" near the Yuba Pass we went off-road on a ranch road and found the source of the Feather River. This high valley wetland harbors Sand Hill Cranes and Black Angus.

They look so natural together.

Ducks, barbed-wire, pick-up trucks and clear mountain air got us started off on a mountain camping get-away.

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

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young wine and a long engagement

This is such a delightful video by my young friend, Laura and her fiance, Jarrod. Laura is the daughter of friends John and Cyndi with whom I have been making wine since 1993. If you watch the video, you will see that the charm of making wine has been transmitted to another generation. Laura is a graduate student, and the name of the wine refers to their desire to wait till completion of the degree before getting married. John and Cyndi make cameo appearances.

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Where in Napa is...

This brightly painted house is in one of Napa's earliest neighborhoods. Where might that be?

While enjoying a visit from my brother John Inman and his wife Patti, we walked around this neighborhood. There are some lovely hydrangeas on the same block:

We also had an opportunity to go to the Saturday farmer's market by the Oxbow Public Market:

Our visitors were very impressed with Napa. The farmer's market trip was prompted by a dinner at Grace's Table and a quest for the smoked olive oil used in one of the dishes. It is definitely available at the Saturday market.

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