Photo By: Mel Fechter

Mentoring Mankind with Memories and Musings

Jun 23,   Spring and Summer in Shangri La
Mar 20,   Adventures in Cyber Dating
Mar 13,   Stories of WWII are Fading Fast
Feb 22,   Canst Thou Protest Too Much?
Jan 26,   New Medical Paradigm On Horizon
Jan 16,   COLLEGE DAZE Is On the Horizon
Jan 10,   My Book Is On Its Way to Publication
Dec 18,   Red Letter Days Mark Milestones
Dec 17,   Today Was a Red Letter Day
Dec 1,   the 2nd Year of My Voyage is Over
Nov 20,   I Find Family and Friends at Hallmark
Nov 5,   My Book From the Male Viewpoint
Oct 12,   Music & Movies Mark My Milestones
Sep 18,   My New Life Appears on the Horizon
Aug 23,   Life is a Pathway with Many Forks
Aug 21,   The Importance of Doing My Best
Aug 4,   Life Imitates Hello Myrmidon
Aug 1,   Writing a Book Has Changed My Life
Jun 13,   Plants are Amazing Creatures
May 25,   Will You Accept My Apology?
May 1,   A Journal is a Window on Your Life
Apr 25,   Movies as Matchmakers
Apr 23,   Me at Seventy-Three!!!
Apr 19,   Make Time for Your Friends
Apr 14,   Can One Make a Difference?
Apr 9,   a snipit from HELLO MYRMIDON
Apr 1,   What Price Glory, Sweat, Tears
Mar 30,   To Retrieve or Not Retrieve
Mar 29,   Discourse on Decisions
Mar 25,   Memory Retrieval
Mar 24,   I Join the World Community
Mar 22,   Website Lessons
Mar 3,   My Miracles, Part 2
Mar 2,   My Miracles, Part 1
Feb 9,   Phones of Old, Part 2
Feb 8,   Phones of Old, Part 1
Feb 7,   Twitterpated!!!
Jan 25,   Jacob and Esau, Part 2
Jan 24,   Jacob and Esau, Part 1
Jan 10,   A New Goal?
Jan 9,   My Earliest Memories
Dec 31,   2016: Successes and Failures
Dec 30,   2016: My Self-Discovery
Dec 28,   I Finally Hear My Angels
Dec 27,   Angels and Me
Dec 26,   Angels Inspire Me
Dec 24,   the Littlest Angel
Dec 23,   Story of My Name Part 3
Dec 22,   Story of My Name Part 2
Dec 21,   Story of My Name Part 1
Dec 19,   Prior Challenges Part 2
Dec 17,   Prior Challenges Part 1
Dec 16,   My Website Challenge
Dec 15,   Astrological Review of 2016
Dec 14,   North Coast Winter
Dec 13,   an Angelic Intervention
Dec 12,   Birth of HELLO MYRMIDON
Dec 11,   Christmas Lights Fade
Dec 10,   Christmas Art Project
Dec 9,   Finding a Perfect Tree
Dec 7,   Christmas with KW
Dec 6,   Christmas around the World
Dec 4,   Mom’s Story Part 2
Dec 3,   Mom’s Christmas Story Part 1
Dec 2,   Ghosts of Christmas Past
Dec 1,   My First Blog

Guest Blogs

Mar 24,   SusanDay on Being a Grandparent

30th Apr A Road Trip to Shangri La

 Spring sunshine has finally arrived on the north coast of California, so I will soon be heading to my new home site to spend a week.  This requires a 3 hour drive along roads that afford some of the most beautiful views in the country. However, the driver cannot enjoy them much, as gawking at the scenery could easily result in going over some cliff or crashing into a tree.  But passengers can drink in all the beauty, so if you like you can come along with me today, to that place in the valley shown in the photo at the top of this page. To me it is Shangri La, and because it was taken in May, it will appear the same way today, with the flowers and the snow-capped peaks, and the green alfalfa.  Just scroll up now and have a look, and then tell me if you agree it will be worth the long trip….agreed?….If so, buckle up, and let’s go.

The first hour we travel along a mostly narrow, often curvy 2-lane road with lots of traffic.  It begins by cruising through several miles of a magnificent redwood forest, with the road actually curving to barely avoid several of those stately giants.  Much of the rest of the way it meanders along a canyon with steep green hillsides  and a pristine crystal clear river, one of the last wild and scenic rivers in the US.  Then we go through a long tunnel, built years ago to cut off many miles of treacherous narrow mountain road.

Soon we turn off and spend another hour driving over a high mountain pass.  Although very curvy, this road is well maintained with 2 lanes and wide shoulders, quite a luxury in this area. On the way up we catch sight of some dogwood just starting to bloom, and other bushes here and there on the hillsides already resplendent with white or various shades of pink.  As we approach the summit we feel we are on the top of the world, and can see forever.  The safe speed for this curvy road is 35-40mph, and the downhill side is so steep that I must go down in second gear to keep from wearing out my brakes.  We encounter no other traffic going the same direction, and we pass only a handful of cars coming the other way. We wave at them as we pass, to signal that we are kindred spirits in our fondness for this road. 

Next, we arrive at a town where we turn onto  a state highway that follows a larger river.  This river and its canyon are not as pristine, but it has a beauty all its own. Recent fires have left the mountains that form the canyon dotted with tall dark sticks standing as sentinels to remind us of the importance of respecting what fires can do.  These were lightening caused, so we are also mindful of the power of Mother Nature to change the landscape.  But the ground between the dead trees is carpeted with small wild plants springing to life, many proudly displaying their happiness to be alive with colorful blooms. As we drive we notice several pretty little streams entering the river as it wends its way toward the ocean. Finally after a half hour we turn off  where a smaller river eagerly surrenders its  blue green contents to the murky olive colored waters of the larger one. 

Now we spend almost an hour on the fun road, my favorite.  You already know I am unconventional,  so you should understand that most people in this country have never been on such a road, and have no desire to ever be on one either.  On the contrary, to me it is like home, compared to freeway driving which is exceedingly stressful for me, and which I avoid like the plague.  Only if these back roads are blocked due to snow or fire do I grit my teeth and take the long way around via freeway.

This road at first probably appears to you like the normal 2-lane highway we just left.  But within about 2 miles that false perception is replaced by shock, as you, a first-time traveller, begin to experience what it is like to be riding on a narrow road with tight curves and no striping down the middle.  You needn’t hold your breath just yet though, as I am very familiar with this road, and it is still wide enough here for 2 cars to pass easily. We meet only 1 or 2 other cars as we wind along past the thick greenery that flourishes beside the river.  Soon we wend our way through a tiny hamlet spread out along the river bank.  It was hit hard by the fires, but most of the scars have now been erased, and life appears normal once again. 

From there, the road narrows, and is often only one lane.  And when I say only one lane, I mean one narrow lane, where it can be necessary for one car to back up to a turnout in the event someone comes from the other direction. Thank goodness there is very little traffic on it, so that has never been a problem for me. And the occasional signs that warn of “abrupt edge” are not a joke or exaggeration either.  There is literally no shoulder or guard rail, and the drop to the river ranges from a few dozen to a few hundred feet almost straight down. You can go ahead and hold your breath now if you feel the need along the worst areas.

The safe speed through these sharp blind curves tops out at 10mph, so thank goodness we are in no hurry.  This slow pace allows us to enjoy the occasional covey of quail scampering across the road to avoid us, or even a fox or a squirrel doing the same.  And this time of year if we see a doe trot across the road, we can expect her  little spotted progeny to be trailing not far behind.  Here and there where the recent fires reached the road,  we can really get a close look now at the prolific wildflowers that are popping up throughout the charred area.

The river itself is swollen from the spring rains coupled with early snow melt, so it is filled with blue green water frolicking over huge boulders forming white frothy rapids as it tumbles ever onward.  Once we get through the narrowest sections of the road we can speed up to 40 mph. But we still have to be vigilant for oncoming traffic around occasional blind and narrow curves, not to mention keeping an eye out for those pesky little fauns. We have just crossed the river and entered a lovely pine forest,  where the roadsides are hidden by spikes of purple lupine with tiny white blossoms peeking out around them. We only catch a glimpse of the river rarely now between the trees.

Before long, we pass by a bridge over the river that goes to a pleasant forest campground where I used to stay before I bought my own place to camp. Soon we leave the forest and begin to see pastures and hay fields, with cows and horses grazing, and old fashioned farmhouses with front porches dotted here and there along the road.  We are still following the river, but it's bed has now spread out, meandering lazily between the fields. It is here we get our first glimpse of our beloved Mt Shasta.  Just a peek mind you, but enough to get us excited, because after just a few more bends in the road we know it will reveal itself in all its glory.  And as soon as we round the final bend, there it is! True to its nature, it towers regally above the hills in all its snow-covered majesty.  It stands like a sentinal at the far end of the valley, as if guarding the field of alfalfa in front of us, itself vividly green from the recent rains.

We pause briefly to digest that view, and then continue on, past my home site, for 3 more miles to our destination in the photo. Here we take time to enjoy  the combination of the Marble Mountains decked out in white against a blue sky, with purple lupine and yellow mustard offering colorful contrast to the green of the alfalfa growing alongside the river.  Welcome to our final stop in Shangri La.   Aren’t you glad you came?  

 

 

 

 

 


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