"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Smokey Times in California

Placerville, CA
Storm Valley Ranch

As we drove back to Placerville to be with my Dad in the hospital, we didn't get far before the smoke hit.  As a matter of fact, we didn't make it to the Oregon border before the smoke from Grants Pass and the huge fires in Northern CA smothered us.  The Carr Fire was the massive wildfire that burned in Shasta and Trinity Counties in California near Shasta. The fire burned 229,651 acres, before it was 100% contained on August 30.
Here we are in Klamath Falls at a Pilot where we spent the night near the border.
Early the next morning was no better. 
Lake Shasta is barely visible from I-5.
Just when we thought we were south enough and there was some blue showing, two fires just popped up along Hwy 50 outside Placerville.  Luckily these were put out very quickly.

We went straight to the hospital where my brother, sister Kris and niece Danielle were waiting.  The 3 weeks he was there went from not too good to a very amazing recovery.  This month was very busy and when we were not at the hospital, we visited with friends and family.
Hurley and my sisters dog, Phoebe not liking the smoky air either.
Dinner out one night with our oldest, Ryan, and his girlfriend Diana. We went to Jack Russell Brewery for beer and one of those giant pretzels.  Then dinner down the road at the Independent.
Hurley happy to see his Daddy.

We did manage to get one hike in when the winds switched and the smoke was not as bad further up in the Sierra's.  Yosemite has yet another huge wildfire and it is also blowing smoke up here. This is the first we've seen some blue sky in 3 weeks.  Lots of smoke and some falling ash still at home.
This was supposed to be just under a 2 mile hike but that was as the crow flies.  We were on the hunt for a special geocache hidden high up in the mountains at a small alpine lake that I doubt most know is there.  I've hiked this area before and didn't know it was there.  But there are thousands of high ridges that go on forever.  There is no trail to this lake.  All done by gps coordinates.  It's fairly easy for me to find my way around here as I've hiked here so much so I had a good idea how to get there and back without a compass.
I love all the granite in these mountains.  We had to bushwhack our way up and over a few ridges, through three lower forested areas with small streams and then a final rock climb up the last ridge.
Looking over the final ridge.  Very steep!  If you blow up the picture you can just make Steve out in the middle in front of those pines.
Aha!  Made it!  What a pretty little lake.
Rimmed with ferns, boulders and grasses.
Here is the tiny "island" where the geocache was hidden.  A little too far for me to jump across so Steve waded the five feet over.
You can see him over my shoulder getting the geocache.
This turned out to be closer to five miles.  We were a bit unprepared for the distance and how strenuous it would be.  Plus the smoke and heat really did us in.
With all the gray and pink granite, these black lava boulders always stand out.  Where did they come from?  Maybe blown from an old volcano somewhere.  They always look out of place.
Almost back.  That last climb up was a killer.  Just a few cuts and an almost run-in with a bee nest.  So glad to be done.  And we came right back to where the truck was parked.

Once my Dad was back home we had a nice BBQ for him.
Steve and Kaylee
Dad and Mom.  He was sure happy to be eating regular food again.
Brennan, Shane and Steve.

A few outings with friends over the next couple of weeks and then we'll head back out.
Our favorite Mexican place, Casa Ramos with Doug and Deana of course!
We checked out a new pizza place with Jenny and Jim.
We went to see their new house and had fun with their dogs.  This guy loved his tire toy!
One night our Placerville friend, Shelly, who now lives in Gold Canyon in Arizona, was in town so we met at a winery for pizza and music.
Shelly and I.
The pizza dough is flyin!
Bacon and Grilled Pineapple (above) and Grilled Veggies with Arugula (below).

Another day we drove to San Francisco with our oldest, Ryan, and friends Mike and Rose.
We had lunch at a very popular Ramen place.  Great food!
A final night at Doug and Deanna's for dinner.  Look how cute their welcoming is for us!  Flowers a candle and a chalkboard that read, "Besties Dinner".  They made clams they brought back from Washington, we had steaks and so much food!

And there might have been a little Blue Tarantula involved.  More cute dogs too!

Well that month flew by.  My Dad continues to recover very well, we got to see the kids and friends again so we're heading back out on the road.  Not back to Washington, but we'll start out in our favorite boondocking site back in the Sierra's for a couple weeks and decide from there.  Rest time!
And I'm all caught up with the blog now too!



  1. Glad your dad is doing well Debbie. Looks like lots of fun was had with family and friends.
    Safe travels!

    1. Thanks. Love watching your trip through Canada to the eastern side.

  2. Smoke is everywhere in CA these past couple of months. Seems another fire starts before the other one is out :-( I'm glad your dad recovered and is doing better. And being in town is made even better when family and friends are nearby to share it with you.

    1. Yes, our time in Idaho will depend on the fires there. I've heard it's getting better. It's always nice to be with the family again, but I made for a strange year. Since we went back in April and then again in Aug, it almost seems like we weren't "gone" this year. Strange to me that it's almost fall.

  3. Glad your dad is recovering. Love reading of your hikes around Placerville; will be reviewing your blog posts for suggestions when we are there in a couple of weeks. Currently we are headed to Lake Tahoe, camping at Fallen Leaf Campground. Keeping our fingers crossed on the wildfires.

    1. Thanks! You'll love all the hiking. Fallen Leaf is very pretty. The fires should be fine now.

  4. Glad your dad is doing better. Nothing like family and friend time. The wildfires this season have been crazy.


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