Thursday, May 31, 2012

Dogs, Birds, Squirrels & Day Trip to Calaveras

Since we got back to my sister & brother-in-law's house, the dogs have been in heaven again.  They enjoy the backyard, which is full of grass, the dogs on the other side of the fences, and of course, the Squirrels.  They are on Squirrel patrol whenever they are outside.  Bubba does it much quieter than Skruffy...who has been reprimanded a few times for her sometimes constant barking.  She is starting to be a bit quieter about it, and that is good.  Otherwise, they have a ball out there.  Below is Bubba and the squirrel that has been named "Stumpy", because he will get the nuts, and sit on the closest stump on the tree limb and eat it.  Stumpy also controls the tree when he is other Squirrels are allowed to get nuts while he is around.
Not only is there Squirrel food in the tree, but also bird food, including a humming bird feeder.  The humming birds are quick, and hard to catch in a good picture.  Below is the best that I can do.

 Above and below is a greenish-red humming bird which is at the feeder.

Above, on the branch, is a black, grey and white humming bird, way up in the tree.  This humming bird has been seen going to the feeder, drinking very quickly, and then darting up into the tree.  This time I saw that he landed, and he stayed on the limb for a few minutes, and it chirped a few times while sitting there.  Eventually the bird will fly away.

The dogs seem to focus in on the Squirrels, and leave the birds alone.  They do seem to alarm the birds and the birds will, at times, fly away when the dogs are close by.  The Humming Birds just seem to come and go so quickly and quietly, they are not even noticed by the dogs.  The other birds, mainly doves, finches, blue birds and others, are watched by Bubba, but Skruffy does not seem to notice if it doesn't have a busy tail on it.  

Wednesday we decided to do another day trip with mom and dad.  This time the main focus was Calavaras Big Trees State Park.  Since we had the one day trip a few weeks ago along highway 49 from Auburn to Hangtown (Placerville), we decided to go up to Hangtown and continue down Highway 49 to Angels Camp to continue our tour of the Gold Country, then up to the Big Trees.

Highway 49 passes through many historic mining communities of the gold rush. The Highway is numbered after the "49ers", which is not only my favorite football team, but the year that many immigrants came to the area looking for gold.  Much of the highway is known as the Gold Country Highway, especially the part that we traveled on these two day trips.

Our first town outside of Hangtown was Diamond Springs, which was settled in 1848, and is named after a "crystal clear" water springs there.  During the gold rush, a 25 pound nugget was found, the largest found in the area.  1851 was the highpoint of the town. It currently has a population of 11,000, which is about 5,000 higher from the 2000 census.  I remember it as a town of just a few hundred the last time I passed through.
Above is a plaque about the city.  There are many of these historical markers along Highway 49, although some are too elusive to find.  Below is a typical old building found in the town.
We drove through the towns of El Dorado, Plymouth, Drytown, Amador City, and Jackson.  Some of these town I remember from a long bike ride when I rode from South Sacramento to around Amador City back in the summer of 1974.  It was a HOT day, and I got exhausted.  Mom and Dad came to pick me up since I just could not go any further when I called them.  However, I was in much better shape after they came and got me than I was when I called...but I was glad I did not have to ride all the way back.  We measured the distance at around 42 miles, 8 miles short of my goal where I was going to sleep overnight and return the next day.  I had picked the hottest day of the year to do such a trip!  That was a long time ago...

Here are a few more pictures of things we saw on our travels to Angles Camp. 

There were many old, historical buildings...many which are now tourist traps.  However, there are also some old, old buildings which are no longer used.
Above is what Butte Store looked like today....below is what it looked like in 1946.  It is all that is left of Butte City (not to be confused by the Butte City in Glenn County up north from this spot by a few hundred miles). 
Butte Store was originally built and operated by Enrico Bruni in 1857. The general store was operated by the Ginnochio family for over 50 years, finally closing its doors in the early 1900's.  As you drive along the highway, it just shows up along side the town, no other buildings...just out there in the middle of nowhere.  One wonders how many structures and towns have vanished over the years.

Eventually we got to the famous Angels Camp.  Angels Camp, the only incorporated city in Calaveras County. The population was just under 4,000 in 2010, and it is at an elevation of nearly 1,400 feet.  Mark Twain based his story "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" on a story he heard at the hotel back in 1865. There is a Jumping Frog Jubilee each May at the Calaveras County Fairgrounds, which took place about 10 days before we visited. 

After our visit to the Big Trees, we had lunch at Angles Camp on our return.  We ate at a nice little deli called "The Pickle Barrel".  It was a quiet lunch, and the food was good.  Here are a few pictures of this quaint little town.
Below is an example of the many sidewalk plaques which honor the winner of the annual frog jumping competition.  The current worlds record was set in 1986 by Rosie the Ribeter, who jumped 21 53/4.

The sign above shows that businesses in the town capitalize on the name of a famous writer who visited the town nearly 140 years ago and made the town famous. 

But our goal for the day was to visit the Calavaras Big Trees State Park, about 20 miles east of Angels Camp.  These Big Trees are not nearly as big as those at Sequoia National Park, but they were found years before Sequoia, and are more famous, due in part, to the fame of the Gold Country, and fame of Mark Twain and Angles Camp.

Here are a few pictures.
Way off in the distance (above) are the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  
Above is a picture of the many different type of trees.  Even the non-Redwood Trees seem taller than normal.
 Above is some massive damage to this Redwood which, as shown below, is still a giant tree.  How can that burnt, broken trunk hold such a massive amount of weight?

Occasionally we would see trees which looked dead, standing high among the other healthy trees.  Looks like they have been this way for years now.
In the north grove, there is a pathway, including some of which is wooden. Instead of moving fallen trees (above), they just cut them and have the path go right through them.
 The grove has many Giant Sequoia trees along a 1.7 mile pathway.
Above is the base of a fallen tree, which has been left for nature to take its due time to remove it from the landscape.
The above tree shows signs of carvings and pen marks as people ignore the "do not do" signs and they put their initials into the base of this tree which the path goes right through. 
And we end the tour with these three giants which have grown together for hundreds of years, and will probably continue to do so for hundreds more.

It was another enjoyable trip.  Not sure what we will do next...

1 comment:

  1. I've always heard about those gigantic Redwood Trees, some so big you could walk right through! (like your picture!!) I wonder how long exactly they've been standing, that looks like the nicest nature preserve ever

    -Tony Salmeron
    Charlotte Tree Service


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