November 25, 2013

  THE BIG TREES...REVISITED    2nd installment-scroll down for page 1

 In the journey around the park you see the corpses of fallen giants, and you grieve for them. You are acutely aware of what they have endured over the centuries. You feel their pain, and their triumph.   It is not easy to wrap your mind around the span of time that they have lived in this place.  It is difficult to comprehend the things your eyes behold.   To see the crown of the trees one should lie down on the ground and look up   The trees are rooted in the earth, but they guide you to the heavens.  Being in this place is a profound spiritual  experience.  
    The immense physical size of these trees is awesome enough to grasp, but the communication that one perceives; the spirit, the immortality, their vital essence, the intellect and the wisdom that these giants project is what most impresses.  The world recedes in this forest.  The sounds of the world go away and another music takes its place. The silence is eloquent with birdcalls, chattering of squirrels, twitterings and clicking of insects, and the incense of the trees fills the airspace.  It is a whole other universe, and you are immersed in it. You discover that you are in a unique way sublimely tuned to this macrocosm.   
There are two groves in this park, and we have explored only the North Grove.    The South grove is of steeper and rougher terrain and is a considerably longer trail.  We were a group somewhat physically challenged so we chose to stroll through the forest on a marked and level path.  I invite and encourage the younger and more robust to put this park on your 'to do' list.   Your lives will be wondrously enriched by the experience.
The Calaveras State Park is located in the center of the California gold country, and is saturated with history.  Little gold rush towns that have been restored and refurbished abound in the area.   As you drive through the high conifered hills and slowly meander down to lower elevations the scenery changes right before your eyes.  Varieties of trees of the deciduous kind appear.  You see meadows of golden grass, rolling hills dotted with dark live oaks , typical of the California landscape,  spread out before your eyes.   Vast acres of grapes growing from severely pruned trunks, their leaves browned and cropped, looped across wires and posts.  The vineyards are being readied for winter.  Signs proclaiming WINE TASTING are seen at every gatepost.    It is a lush landscape, but badly in need of moisture.  We had made reservations at the Historic Hotel in the little town of Murphy’s.  It is typical of the gold rush tourist towns, and Main Street is a feast of little shops and eateries. 
It is a place to soak up California sun along with gold country history.  A visit to the famous Ironstone Winery was a highlight in our days there.   It boasts not only wonderful wine, but magnificent grounds with tubs of blooming flowers, and flowerbeds lush with unique growing things.  Benches to sit on, stone walkways to meander, a museum and gift shop, and a wondrous vault containing an awesome hunk of crystalline gold to gaze and ponder upon.   The winery complex occupies a vast piece of California real estate and the vineyards extend as far as the eye can see.   And the wine is superb.
We chose an alternate road home— California’s Highway 49, through the little town of Angel’s Camp, of Mark Twain fame, and the beautiful winding blue-line by-ways led us at last  back over the mountain toward  home.

 Betty L. Owen, Journals   October 2008

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very thoughtfull