Storm Valley Ranch
This cold foggy, morning found us roaming at sunrise as we were on the hunt to be "First to Find" on a cache 30 miles away. Are we crazy? Kind of. It's very difficult to be the first one to find a geocache as there are people who will go out no matter the time or weather or location. We're not that crazy, but we did want to find this one and spend the day doing some hiking by Auburn. So with a Starbucks and breakfast sammy, we were off.
The fog and the sun danced and created beautiful scenes all around us.
The last of the fog lifting over the American River.
After several false starts, due to the cache owner publishing incorrect coordinates, we were finally on the correct trail. Luckily she responded to our questions quickly as we got up awfully early to find this cache. She felt really bad about that.
Loved the color on this twisted old Manzanita tree.
There are a lot of large, colorful mushrooms growing this time of year in the dampness.
On the drive back we did several more caches. One took us near the Foresthill Bridge. It is the highest bridge by deck height in California, and the fourth highest in the United States at 730 feet above the river. It opened in 1973 and spans the North Fork of the American River. The bridge can be seen in the beginning of the 2002 film XXX in which Vin Diesel's character, Xander Cage, is seen driving a stolen red Corvette off of it, then jumping from the car mid-flight and parachuting to the bottom of the American River Canyon. Unfortunately it has also been the site of more than 70 suicides since its construction in 1971.
"X" Marks the Spot was another cache. Almost. Turns out someone had stolen it so we'll have to wait for the cache owner to replace it.
More hiking and caching with my friend Tina brought us to a mudslide along the trail with Placerville's lovely red soil. We planned another stop at Timmy's Brown Bag afterward to try out another sandwich.
The Apple Corned Beef was another winner!
Tina's husband, John, was promoted to Grand Master of the Placerville Masonic Lodge.
Congratulations John! Thanks for inviting us to the ceremony! They hope to go fulltime as well in the near future.
Our niece, Courtney, works at the Folsom Zoo Sanctuary. What's the difference between a Zoo and a Zoo Sanctuary you ask? Well Courtney informed us there are no breeding programs at a sanctuary.
They were having a special Festival of Lights at the sanctuary so we went to see our niece at work.
Here is Courtney by the Tiger enclosure telling us all about Misty.
The bear is very well trained and knows this command, UP, means he gets some nutritional treats.
Henry, the bear, knows to put his snout part way through the cage.
This is the best picture I could get of one of the wolves as he was pacing back and forth so quickly and my iPhone just couldn't keep up.
This little guy was so stinking cute! Too bad I could not get a good picture of him at night. he is a Kinkajou. They are tree dwellers and related to raccoons.
Merry Christmas to all my faithful blog readers! Soon it will be New Years and then we'll be back on the road with so many other fulltimers heading to warmer locations. For us, that's back to Arizona. Here is an appropriate Travelers Blessing:
May the wind always be at your back
the sun always upon your face.
May the wings of destiny carry you aloft
to dance with the stars.