We originally planned to head to the Bay area this week but so many of the parking lots are still closed, it would be difficult to get to the beach and even a gamble on whether or not the beach would be open to the public. So we nixed those plans and decided to go northeast instead.
Scott had heard about Lake Oroville from co-workers so we woke up the next day and headed north to Oroville, California. It was the perfect day – overcast for the early part of the day and the temperatures were almost too cool in the mid-70’s. The perfect daytrip weather!
Most importantly, this was Tilly’s FIRST public outing since finishing her PARVO shots. (For new dog owners, you know how thrilling it is when you can finally let your dog walk somewhere besides your own backyard!)
We stopped for a hike at the Bidwell Bar Bridge – a suspension bridge that was the first steel suspension bridge in California in 1855, costing $35,000 for the 240 foot long bridge. It is now two suspension bridges open for foot traffic only.
Tilly couldn’t get enough of the smells along the bridge! -ha!
I’m sparing you (believe it or not) the 6.7 million pictures I took of these manzanita trees. Their reddish, smooth bark is amazing and the gnarly, twisty way they grow is so interesting! Our hike took us through a canopy of them. (They’d make a great Halloween-inspired hike.)
Everything about the trail seemed magical and otherwordly with a beautiful view of the lake. Boats are waiting for all the summer fun.
Gnome or fairy house, maybe??
Being the seasoned hiker that I am – the below picture means we’re heading in a specific direction. North, south, east west…it’s one of those.
Oroville Lake was formed from the creation of the Oroville Dam and winds through the Feather River canyon. The shoreline has been extended to allow for the melting snow from the nearby mountains in the spring.
There were fishermen out enjoying the gorgeous day. Scott can’t wait to fish here this summer too. We will definitely be back.
How about a little community of houseboats?? Livin the life! -ha
The foothills looked pretty, but honestly – I really wanted to cut down these dried grasses to bring home for arrangements. But I played nicely… (that, and there was a park ranger nearby.)
We stopped for lunch and a quick restroom break for all three of us. The public restrooms were really nice but THIS SIGN was on the entrance. WHAT?! The surveillance footage of me stooping down to check under the sinks and behind the toilet and all the corners of the room were probably entertaining to someone. -ugh! “She must be from the Midwest.”
The restrooms had an open air slat system that convinced me that some rattler was ready to pull an Indiana Jones on me at any minute.
Our picnic basket left a little to be desired but we were going for a 1950’s style lunch. White bread sandwiches with PB&J and maybe a bologna or two for good measure. It was fun!
The Oroville Dam is the tallest dam in the United States at 770 ft. Looking over one side is no big deal. Looking over the other is a whole different thing. – yikes!
For those of you who know Monica Smith, the buttes around the foothills is near where she lives and where her brother, Doug, pastors a Nazarene church in Yuba City. It’s always fun to see the wide open areas when we drive to see her.
Okay guys. I’m just telling you what they’re telling me. I kept telling Scott, “I’m not buying this” but if it’s on an historical sign – we’ve gotta believe, right?
In 1856, a judge planted this orange seedling and it has survived all these years (including a relocation), making it the oldest surviving orange tree in California. The Mother Orange Tree.
I’m assuming someone somewhere has proof.
My family saw the last few years of the Wye Oak Tree in Talbot County, Maryland before its final demise. It had grown there since 1540.
How do we have proof of all this, people? But hey – I’m just here for the site seeing.
Still producing fruit all these years later. Impressive, Mama. Impressive.
In the back of my mind – in the neverending list of ‘coffee table books’ I’d like to attempt someday, will be the mid-century buildings in California. They’re just so classic. This was a nature center next to the Mother Orange Tree. If you love mid-century, California offers it in spades.
Admittedly, I had a moment looking at these flags. California has endured. The US has endured. We’ve fought about how and when but there were some moments of national and global unity that I will always hold in memory of COVID Spring 2020.
This was a BIG surprise for us. On one of our stops we were walking toward the site with other people social-distanced behind us. Just walking along, enjoying the day when we realized we had to go down some steps to get to the sidewalk. All of a sudden Tilly FROZE. She just stopped. She’s never seen or been on stairs before! We live in a ranch-style home so this was a complete first for her and it didn’t even dawn on us. Scott urged her along with the leash while I coaxed her like a soccer mom as people passed us on the stairs. It’s so funny the things that never occur to you about an infant or a puppy. Each step she took was like a new adventure. She tackled it, though, like a pro!
We were feeling all proud of her until…..BABOOM!….there it was again. A rattlesnake alert. This time, we had to walk through a gauntlet of snake heaven to get to where we were going. Rocks and rocks everywhere. I knew they were out there. Each and every one of them curled up and ready to attack!
To make things worse, this was the last sign we saw before entering the rock wonderland…
As I read the sign it says: FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, MAN!, stay on the sidewalk so as to not entice the bevy of rattlers (the end.)
Please tell me this isn’t snake nirvana. I was stepping high and moving fast. Scott and Tilly were on their own!
(Dear Lord, thank you to the person who left me a little balance reminder in the rocks.)
But it was worth getting to one of the spillways of the Feather River.
(I almost had a perfect view except that one person being that one person enjoying….the view??? ugh – move!)
There is a fish hatchery streamway that runs along the side of the river. They say (…and yes, I looked hard for some!) that salmon jump as high as 12 feet in the air coming out of this overspill. Oh to be able to fish here!!
Because of the dam (which primarily provides water irrigation, hydroelectricity and flood control), fish migration up the Feather River has been constricted and the controlled flow of the river has affected river habitat. As an attempt to try to counter the dam’s impacts on fish migration, they constructed this salmon/steelhead fish incubator on the river, which began shortly after the dam was completed in 1968.
(no jumping fish today, though)
The river water was SO mirror-like calm up top. I stood there thinking the top was January and February of 2020. Then March happened……
Hoping we are nearing the end of the white water chaos and entering the blue waters again soon.
(How far can I take this metaphor??)
You were wrong. I can take it a little further…
Where was our siren call about COVID?! Why didn’t it sound sooner???
In all seriousness – the day after we visited the dam, Michigan’s dams overflowed and caused such complete chaos and possibly long-term environmental damage. It was difficult to listen to those news reports and not imagine what it would be like if we were here and the dams broke nearby. They are an ingenious invention until they give way and no longer function.
Manzanitas and oaks, but always-present palm trees.
What a day. I wish it had stayed overcast a little longer. I certainly don’t want to ever complain about the endlessly sunny days in California. But the high sun makes photography challenging. The occasional overcast day is nice too.
Beaut of a butte. (had to do it)
On the drive home we played some travel Scattergories. Musician that starts with a B….
After exhausting the Beatles and Beach Boys and BTO and Beethoven, I won with the best one: Baird.
Maybe we will have perfected it by our next adventure!
We got back home early but were ALL wiped out by 6pm. It was very nice to be able to get out of town safely and enjoy some adventuring again. We’ve missed it very much these past few months.
Great day. Great company.