Sunday, February 23, 2014

Northern California Rambling

Don’t Call No Tune Without Me. I’m a Dancin’ Man

Marty and I were watching re-runs of Gunsmoke last week and there was an episode where a young boy and his grandfather got in a peck of trouble with some bad guys. Marshall Dillon got them out of it but before that happened the grandfather demonstrated his pluckiness by hiding out and shooting at the bad guys singlehandedly. Marshall Dillon had told him not to take matters into his own hands. The marshall said let me take care of it. The grandfather rejoindered “Don’t call no tune without me. I’m a dancin’ man.”
There’s two kinds of people in this world. There’s the ones that will sit back content to watch others while they do all the work. Then there’s the ones who jump right in to whatever task is at hand. Well, hail, they’ll make up a few tasks on their own! I loved what the grandfather’s said. It about sums it all up for me. I love the action for its own sake.

Drought Conditions

            Marty and I took a little day trip up to Mt. Shasta the other day. I was feeling house-bound or “same-old-thing-routine” bound and I needed to see some new scenery. Mt. Shasta is just the ticket because it’s not too far and it’s astounding. It’s also in the piney woods which is about as different as you can get from parched grasslands where we live. On the way up I-5 I started noticing hay trucks. After what seemed to be about 10 hay trucks zooming past on the way south – we were on the way north – I started counting. Within the space of the 3 hours on the freeway to and from Shasta I counted 35 hay trucks. Ranchers in the Central Valley have no natural pasturage this year. Hay farmers are making out like bandits. Isn’t that the way it always goes? What’s bad for some is good for others.

Castle Crags State Park
            We stopped off at Castle Crags State Park to stretch our legs. Since it was Friday no one was there. Just a little bite in the air from the elevation and we had the trail to Root Creek to ourselves. They say there’s orchids out there but there weren’t any this day. It’s still too early in the season. The trail was what I would call flat even though it was advertised as a 150 foot elevation gain. It was wheelchair accessible until about 50 feet from the end. I hope they fix it all the way soon because Root Creek is the most pristine babbling brook and would please and soothe any soul who needed soothing. Including those bound to a wheel chair.

Some day I’ll bring my hiking stick and try the strenuous trail to the Crags.

Mt. Shasta is the Only Mountain I Know That Can Survive What You People are Doing to It

            Mark Twain is supposed to have said that about San Francisco. Or was it Frank Lloyd Wright? Mt. Shasta is an incredible mountain. Actually it’s a dormant volcano. Anyway, it’s pretty much all by itself except for a few lowly hills at its base covered with pine woods. So because it’s sort of an anomaly in the center of the northern part of the Central Valley you can see it for miles. I mean miles as in a hundred miles. As a matter of fact, as we passed over the railroad tracks in Willows the other day I glanced north and there she was. Smack dab in the middle of the railroad track way out on the horizon. The old engineer says to the apprentice engineer “just point 'er for Shasta and open 'er up!” Mt. Shasta has a couple little towns nestled at her feet. They don’t have much to recommend them. They’re typical old lumber towns. As we exited the restaurant in Weed I gazed up at Mt. Shasta and thought of the words of Twain/Wright/whoever and thought “Mt. Shasta is the only mountain that could survive what you people are doing to it.”

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