Taking in the mountain air

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Posted by Annie in Family Fun, Outdoors on July 26, 2010

The boys and I took a drive up to Kennedy Meadows yesterday. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen the forest quite so green. It was a lovely day, the temperature at Kennedy Meadows was a comfortable 79°, with intermittent sun and clouds.

I must admit that I had my doubts about even making it that far up the hill. The clouds that hovered overhead looked angry and threatened to send showers at any moment but the hard rains never came. A light sprinkle was all, then the sun came out to warm our faces once again. It was almost magical.

The traffic in Twain Harte is an entirely different matter. It’s almost as if we picked up and moved back to Modesto, okay, so I exaggerate just a little but let me tell you, the traffic is nasty. It is almost as if these bay area folks pack up their vehicles to make the drive up to the mountain and forget their brains at home. Can’t find a place to park, no problem. We’ll just park on the side of the road. Never mind that most streets have no “side of the road,” so these crazy folk, just park in the street anyway. I guess they figure no one will notice.

Don’t you just love getting behind that weekend warrior, who has decided to take the travel trailer out of mothballs. This is the guy who drives in the fast lane, down the mountain and refuses to let anyone go around him or better yet, just takes his half out of the middle of the road.

Their offspring of course follows close behind, riding their skateboards down the center of Fuller Road, around blind curves, with no regard to the deer and motorists who must also share the road.  I’ve seen several near-misses that made my heart skip a beat or two.

It broke my heart to see the tiny baby fawn laying dead in the middle of Twain Harte Drive. I wonder if the driver who hit the baby even bothered to check to see, if it was still alive? It was so tiny, probably only days old.

The boys were delighted to find a tiny little tree frog in the river, at Columns of the Giants, near Dardanelle. The tiny frog seemed to enjoy being held by my nephew. It was almost as if he was refusing to leave when he was set free. It’s been ages since I had seen any butterflies but we saw several up the mountain yesterday.

It was nice to see hikers in the woods and those who tent camp and take time to really enjoy their surroundings. The longer I live here, the more I hate to see the majestic mountains tamed by civilization. I have a great respect for the animals that make the Stanislaus National Forest their home. I watched in amazement as a group of fire ants scurried about their business, oblivious to the fact that I was so big and powerful that I could take several out with one firmly planted foot. I left them to their business all too aware that at least some of them would make a terrific meal for some hungry animal soon enough.

It was a lovely day and we learned a lot from the mountains and the rivers. We can’t wait to do it again.  October can’t get here soon enough. Give me a quiet fall day anytime.

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Construction Coming!

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Posted by Annie in Outdoors, Twain Harte News on August 10, 2009

Fuller Road ConstructionOur family finally moved into a house here in Twain Harte, round about five years ago now. It would be nice for our son to have a yard – even if it was only rocks and pine cone mulch. Our yard is pretty pathetic but the addition of a hammock and some strategically placed bird feeders has livened up the place substantially.

For the first few years, during Spring clean-up, I would shovel up all the dirt along-side the road that builds up every winter. It was a huge job, you wouldn’t believe how much dirt and rock can accumulate over just one season. The job got to be too expensive and too strenous, so I finally had to give up.

Just the other day the street cleaners worked their way up the hill. It’s hard to believe this is the same street. I overheard one of the crew members exclaim that he couldn’t believe how much room there was on that portion of the road. The difference was astounding.

Fuller Road Resurfacing

Then the other shoe dropped. The real reason the street was finally being cleaned after all this time – construction. Road crews will be working on Fuller Road sometime this week, resurfacing the street. It was with mixed feelings that I received the news.

On one hand, we’ll have construction crews outside our house for one full day, possibly two. On the other hand, wow, no more patch job or craters to swallow our car whole.

The smell of tar or asphalt is more than I can handle. Perhaps a trip to Kennedy Meadows is in order?

I’ll post a note as soon as I know the day they are to begin work, so that locals can avoid the area. I sure wish I could, they will have our house blocked in for longer than I’d like — but won’t it be nice when they finish!

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Heat Wave Strikes Mountain Community!

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Posted by Annie in Family Fun, Outdoors, Twain Harte News on July 18, 2009

Not quite noon and already it’s a balmy 96° here in Twain Harte. The third day in a row of over 100° temperatures, forecasts are calling for another scorcher tomorrow.

This is a perfect time to make a run to Pinecrest or Strawberry, where supposedly it will be a cool 90° today and tomorrow. I’m sorely tempted to make a run up the hill to check it out for myself. The river flowing through Kennedy Meadows has ice cold water that is sure to provide relief from the heat.

Normally a pretty quiet community, I was surprised to learn that Thursday evening around 11 p.m. or so, a fist fight was observed in front of Ed’s Bar, on the main drag — apparently the heat doesn’t agree with everyone, causing tempers to flare.

Since most area homes here aren’t equipped with air conditioning, keeping cool can be an issue, especially for the elderly or infirmed. You’ll find some helpful tips from Earth Talk on how to keep cool without an air conditioning unit here. Remember to drink lots of water folks.

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