Birthday visit to the Conifer Forest

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Today is Marti’s birthday. She is now one day older than yesterday.  We are planning to visit the Calaveras Big Trees State Park.  We had our choice of the following trails after we arrived: The North Grove Trail, the Three Senses Trail, Grove Overlook Trail, and the River Trail.  We choose the North Grove Trail and it was beautiful.  As soon as I approached the Big Stump my minds memory flashed back to a time when I walked this trail with my mother.  It was a long time ago but my mind was playing tricks with me.  I could see my mother walking ahead of me turning and telling me to hurry and catch up with her.  I am surprised at how much the Trail has not changed but I know that it was a long time ago that I walked with my mom.  It is a pleasant memory and for a short time I am back in time walking with mom.

Marti and I talk and walk the North Grove Trail.  Along the way we stop and take photos.  We see the giant sequoias and are impressed not just by the size of the trees but their beauty and majestic stature. We walk, talk and read about the trees and the forest that is all around.  There are not only the giant sequoias, but a mix of trees made up the conifer forest.  We see Sugar Pine, Pacific Yew, White Fir, Incense Cedar and lots of Ponderosa Pine trees.  We notice the Mountain Dogwood and Hazelnut bushes that provide food for the squirrels and chipmunks.

It is much too difficult to view the tops of the giant sequoias. But due to storms branches the size of normal trees can be seen where they have fallen to the ground.  As we walk we see the effects of a resent storm.  The forest floor is littered with pine cones, branches, twigs and other forest litter that lies where it fell during the storm.  We see areas where the sun cannot reach and snow still sits from the only snow fall earlier this year.

We complete the walk seeing twenty-five of the twenty-six sites. This was because we took a short cut and missed number sixteen.  We leave the park and drive up to the small city of Dorrington California.  We u-turn and head back to Arnold.  I want to find a WiFi area where I can hook up to the internet and download my e-mail.  I also need to send a few e-mail messages.  We find a small local coffee shop and order hot chocolate and two sandwiches.  After connecting and eating we return to the cabin and the company of David and Jessica.  Relaxing inside the cabin we talk and enjoy the beauty of our surroundings.  We are comfortable with each other and there is no need to entertain each other.


Posted 3/1/2012


Memories and Today’s Events


As I drove off highway four into the Blue Lake Springs road my memories started.  I could see my mother walking along the road looking at the trees.  Just before arriving at the cabin I looked up and could see my father waving to us from the deck as we pulled into the drive way.  Getting out of the car I could hear my mother yelling down to me to come up and give her a kiss.  My dad would just look at me and ask what happened?  Based on his calculations I should have arrived thirty minutes ago.  Gosh it was a time for my mind to wander into my past.  I could remember assisting my dad. I would clean up the pine needles, split logs, and assist him with little tasks just about anything he asked of me.  Sometimes the weather would save me from completing a task and I remember thanking God.

I remembered trips into Arnold to pick up items my dad needed.  Running errands my mother requested of me.  I remember going to church with my mom and a little more often with my dad.  I realize just how much I miss both my mom and dad.  Then the memories of the times Monica and I visited the cabin.  The times Monica and I brought the girls, we would walk the trails in the Calaveras Big Trees State Park, drive to the Historic Columbia State Park, explore Arnold, Avery, Angels Camp and Murphy.  I remember the time my three ladies visited the caves and after a long time returned to tell me all about their adventure.  My head was spinning with all the memories.  I again felt the loss of my mother, father and wife Monica wishing for just one more time to tell them all that I love and miss them dearly.

Back to the present time I am grateful that Marti is by my side.  She is a wonderful partner and the woman I love.  We parked my car in the driveway unpacked and entered the cabin for the first time in over fifteen years.  So much inside the cabin looked the same and so much looked different.  I could see my sister Jessica’s touch on the newly painted walls, art objects, and redecorated rooms.  The cabin was elegant; it took you out of the wood forest and into an area of luxury and peacefulness.  Jessica quickly started the Timberline wood burning heater and took the chill out of the cabin.  After placing items into their proper place; we all settled into the sofas in the family room and relaxed.  I could feel the stress leave each person and float out of the cabin.  We talked and laughed about various things but the best was seeing everyone fully relaxed.  Time passed and the next thing I knew it was time for a light dinner.  Jessica had brought her home made Italian soup and with most of us just a little hungry after our great lunch the soup hit the spot.  What a wonderful day.