Travel Day

No photo.

Today (Saturday) is a travel day when I leave where I have been staying all week in Sonora, California and head up towards Reno, Nevada.  Although Reno is northeast of Sonora I am actually driving north on the continuation of Route 49 and will turn east when I get further north than Reno and loop back.  Route 49 is the “Gold Rush Trail”.

Sonora is in the heart of Gold Rush country.  Gold was discovered in this area back in 1849 and triggered a huge influx of people who hoped to literally strike it rich.  In fact, many of the businesses in the Sonora area include the term “Mother Lode” in their name.  The area is rich (pun intended) in gold mining history.  The people who came to this area became known as “49ers” (because of the discovery year) and the Trail was designated as California Route 49.  I now know why the San Francisco 49ers football team is called that, and why gold is part of their team’s color scheme.

Today I will be heading north of Sonora through the towns of Angels Camp, San Andreas (don’t ever try to blame anything on the people who live there, as they’ll say it’s never their fault.  Get it??  San Andreas??  Fault??) and Jackson, which I have been through already, and continue on through Plymouth, Placerville, Auburn and Nevada City before arching over to the east to where the road ends in little Vinton.  I will then double back a short ways and take another scenic road south to the dreaded interstate west of Reno and head east into Nevada.

Although I have plans to do several things while I’m up in that area for three days I will hopefully have some time (and a faster internet connection) to try and get caught up on some picture posting.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park

Last Sunday, my first full day in this area, I decided to forego returning to Yosemite National Park because it was so crazy the day before (the 3rd Saturday in June) and instead drove on two of the beautiful scenic roads north of where I am staying in Sonora.  There are actually three such roads, Routes 88, 4 and 108, each about 80 miles in length.  I would drive all three at least twice during the coming week, and will post pictures of some of the beautiful things I saw in subsequent posts.

This post focuses on one destination which is located along Route 4, just north of the little town of Arnold, California.  Although I had just been to see some Giant Sequoias a week ago when I was staying in Visalia, this Park was still impressive.

This is what’s left of the Discovery Tree, a Giant Sequoia which fell in 1853 – and took 3 weeks to cut up and remove (with the technology available at that time).  The cut surface, where the man is standing, is so big it once served as a dance floor!



Here is a portion of the trunk.  If you look closely you’ll see a young child on the far right.


And believe it or not, this is all the bigger a cone of a Giant Sequoia is:



According to the information in the Visitor Center, these cones only grow to be 1.5 to 3 inches in length.  Unlike most pine cones, these are “closed” and require intense heat from a fire to open and release the seeds inside.

On the other hand (actually still in my left hand but you know what I mean – Eric) this is the cone of a Sugar Pine which can grow to 22 inches in length: