Friday, August 5th, 2011. First we had some meeting-efriends-in-real-life: we went to see R&R in Grass Valley. We know each other through our blogs, and email; when they were blogging from Port Hadlock they were in my mind when I made up my mind to move from the desert to the Northwest; and the parallels and commonalities in our personal histories are practically scary.
They took us on their morning walk, up along ditches, and past meadows, and by a reservoir, and over a fence and home again. I had a violent allergy attack up there. The woods were full of kitkidizze (Chamaebatia foliolosa), a smell I remembered from all those decades ago—'asparagus', said V; 'bug spray', say I—, and it pleases me to think that's what made me sneeze, though there's no reason to assume it. After the walk, sweets and/or bagels and much talking.
Then we had to stop back home because we had forgotten I forget what :-| , and soon were on our way up CA20, destination Grouse Ridge. We stopped in Bear Valley just before getting on the forest access road, to study the map. Traipsed across the meadow through tall grass over to the bank of the Bear River, a place V. used to run away to when it's hot the way I used to run away to the Pecos River when I lived in the desert. Lots of seeds and stickers in the grass, made the dog sneeze and trashed my socks. We detoured to a rock outcrop with grinding pits worn into it. By the small deep shape, thought to have been for grinding pigment rather than food, but V. didn't know exactly what they would have been grinding, and I forgot to ask just who they would have been...
So, then, up and up. Up Forest access road 18 and up forest access road 14, until it turned out the road was blocked by snow (in August!).
Some big fierce vehicles had bullied on past the first or second or third snowdrifts, but sooner or later all the backpackers and the daytrippers each found a place to park and started walking from however far they had gotten.
We didn't make it to the lookout, there was a lot of snow in the woods. (The dog loved it, racing up the snowbanks then wriggling and shimmying down on her back.) But there we were, up up up there, lakes and granite in all directions.
It was properly alpine, sure enough.
Then we turned around and came home, down through the woods to the car, down down down the forest roads to the highway; tired, sunblasted, (perhaps a little crabby), ever so satisfied.
Overview for August 4 and August 5th, putting towns and highways and two full days in the not-very-far-backcountry into context, thank god for acmemapper and I sure wish I would have seen this ahead of time, I'dve been way less confused for the whole three days...:
That's quite a neighborhood you have, VMW.