17th & 18th October 2009 Where:
Plumas County, Northern Sierras Highlight:
Awesome Autumn Mileage:
Unfortunately fall is not celebrated in CA as much as in New England. California has a canopy of Evergreen trees. However there seem to be pockets of places where fall actually happens. So, we have to make do with whatever we can see.
Eastern Sierra is a popular spot(a 7 hr drive from home). It is with some research I actually discovered this place in the Northern Sierra(Sierra Nevada mountains).
It is not very far from home, but this place does not advertise itself so much, nor does it seems to get that much the crowd. I wonder why?
After closely watching this site
(for a long time), I thought NOW would be THE weekend to see the plumas county's awesome autumn at its peak. So, I just made a random choice for a hotel in Quincy after some reading on Tripadvisor.
Quincy, CA seemed to be the central area but Quincy does not come up in Orbitz. So.
A very early start on Saturday meant a peaceful drive while the little one was asleep. So, it was at a
park in Yuba City the little one had her breakfast at 7.00am.
Things slowed down a bit once we entered the Feather river canyon
. We stopped more often, either to relax by the river or to watch a bunch of rock climbers in action!
The highway was along the Western Pacific Railroad
& I think we saw a fair share of endless trains.
We could see fall colors here & there. By the time we reached the small town of Belden, we saw some really bright yellows. So we braced the one lane bridge across the Feather river into the town. The town is nothing but 5-6 buildings but it was totally out of the world. And I was stunned that we had almost no company. How cool is that?
Our next stop was at Quincy visitor center. After laying out our options, we drove down to Indian valley where we were promised great color & neat barns. We got all that and More. More=a couple horses grazing(that kept the little one very happy), a lot more cows, some birds that Ganesh wants to call Turkey & so many photo ops for us. Little S chased the so-called Turkeys asking
them to come back when they ran away.
Antelope Lake was not as close as we had imagined, so we turned back home towards Quincy.
We stayed at Spanish Creek Motel. A very friendly place with not much crowd, again. The owner informed us that fall is their low season, but business had been very dull(probably due to the economy). No wonder! The town of Quincy was vibrant with hues of yellow, Orange & Red. Sun sets early at this elevation & we were only glad to see the bed. Sunday, 18th Oct
Expecting to wake up to sunrise, we woke up to a day of fog & fall color. A deadly combination & we set base at the local museum. We let the little one out & she had her share of fun before crashing heavily in her car seat while we drove to Meadow Valley & back.
After check out, we headed to Cascade trail on the Old highway. Since the road was rocky, we parked earlier & walked the 0.4 mi to the trail head. From the minute we stepped on the trail, we were greeted with "awesome autumn". The place is filled with
Feather river canyon
Indian Rhubarb, big leaf maple, mountain dogwood & Willow. We found colors everywhere, near the river(which surprisingly had water for this time of year), along the trail & way up in the mountains. It was magical! One of those moments when words or photos would do no justice. You just have to be there to experience it. Else, it would easily elude you.
The Western Pacific Railroad follows along the trail on the other side of the river. We returned back as very contented people. We decided to drop our initial plan of taking the steep drive to the gold rush town of La Porte, which I doubt would be anything less than fun. Lack of time!
We chose to take the road less traveled - hwy 49 instead of the non-scenic rush interstate 80. We were rewarded with a tad bit of rain & some lovely display of fall colors. Gold lake was a bummer as we were probably witnessing a storm. The lake waters chopped with the mighty wind that might have taken us off-ground. With nothing else on our agenda, we started our descent in the Sierras. Hwy 49 is real long too.Plus add
windy roads. Result: a classic recipe for a slow drive. It was quite a while before we actually saw civilization & that is definitely a good sign. Highlights
-The moments spent in the front yard of Quincy museum. The yellow maple leaves fallen on green grass was magical! People in Quincy were super friendly.
-The drive along hwy 49. Though long & windy, we had perfect conditions. A slight drizzle & vivid colors. A sight to live for!
-Indian valley. The drive itself was fantastic & those barns looked out of this world. We saw some kids along the road. The look on their faces suggested they were very happy to see us.
This place definitely had more color than the Eastern Sierras but has fewer visitors. Taking into account that those quaint towns survive on the people traveling there, and knowing the fact that fewer people visit these places, life should be difficult.
We came back contented knowing we visited a place that probably existed only in our dreams till then.
I think the area should have one more week of peak color. If you want to visit the area, you are not
With the crisp air in your face, Fall is all joy!
___________ Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower.
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