Taking in the mountain air


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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Summer Fun: Art, Music & Wine


Posted by Annie in Family Fun, Twain Harte News on July 22, 2010

Heading up to Twain Harte for the weekend? Be prepared. My first visit to Twain Harte was during the Twain Harte Summer Festival, there were people everywhere. The 33rd annual Twain Harte Summer Arts and Wine Festival will take place Saturday and Sunday in downtown Twain Harte.

You are sure to find something for everyone; young and old alike. The festival helps support our local volunteer fire department, so be sure to head up to Twain Harte bring the kids and enjoy the festivities. For more information pick up your free copy of the “Weekender,” published by The Union Democrat. You can find them at local businesses in Twain Harte and Sonora, turn to page 3.

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Storyteller Hardluck Lin


Posted by Annie in Twain Harte News on July 11, 2010

We had such an enjoyable time last week, listening to the rambunctious stories of Hardluck Lin as told by Linda Teigland Clark, an entertaining storyteller that engages history lovers, both young and old alike. Our family enjoyed Linda’s stories so much that we came home and purchased her new book that night.

The Small Window: The Story of Hardluck’s Beginnings by Linda Clark

The Thorald homestead was located near the banks of St. Peter’s River in the southern portion of Wisconsin Territory. One day this region would become part of the great state of Minnesota; the river would be renamed the Minnesota River; and near the old homestead, a city would rise and identify itself after Chief Mankato of the Mdewakanton Sioux.

Pa and the twins worked hard to turn that rich black earth into life and subsistence for his wife and five young’uns. When the unpredictable weather fought his labor and sweat and the land turned against him, survival rose to new heights. And Pa caught the dream of the new land …It was 1848. Pa followed his dream; he was taking his family to the Promised Land, a land called California … Pa taught his family that God will not shut a door without opening a window.

He said it was God’s Way of leading His Children. And during these hard times, Pa added that it was the North wind that made the Vikings.What he didn’t tell Laurin, his 17 year-old-daughter, was how small and difficult “getting through” that window might be or how long and strong that North wind might blow …Laurin, like her father, dreamed big … …until tragedy struck! When cholera claimed the lives of her parents and older brothers in the Humboldt Sink, she had to find that window … set her own sail against that staunch wind … Only she remained to do it!

She had to find a way not just to survive the trek over the Sierra and into California, but to survive and be safe, once they arrived in this untamed land dominated by men, gold, and greed. It wasn’t for herself but for her younger brother, age 7, and sister, age 4. They were her responsibility … their future; their very lives depended upon her. They couldn’t go back; there was no “back”! She loved them and she had to find a way.

Join Laurin as she transforms into Hardluck Lin and becomes a part of the early history of the California Gold Rush.

My copy arrived Saturday at the post office, I’ll be posting my own review of the book in the near future. I can’t help but believe that if her book is nearly half as good as her storytelling, it’s sure to be a terrific read.

Linda Clark is a native Minnesotan, California transplant, living in the Twain Harte mountains. She has served as a wife, mother, teacher, and Deputy Sheriff. Her current occupation is that of her living-history persona Hardluck Lin, who today edu-tains, young and old alike, with authentic tales of the California Gold Rush and the westward movement throughout Northern California.

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