Monday, July 16, 2012

Girard Ridge Overlook

The second week of June Linda and Bill and Jim and I spent two nights at the Girard Ridge Overlook, a former fire lookout cabin in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest that was built in 1931 and in use until 1981.  It is one in which you can drive right up to.  In January Linda had the inspiration to suggest this adventure, and we booked it then.

The views were wonderful.  Castle Crags was to the west.

Mt. Shasta was to the north.

Apparently at one time, Mt. Lassen could be seen to the Southeast.  There are big scotch pine and white fir trees that now block that view.

The cabin, which was 14 feet off the ground and enclosed by 360 degree windows, had two cupboards, two twin beds with mattresses, and a table with four plastic chairs.  We drank margaritas, played Scrabble, and watched for animals at night.  I think we all stayed awake a little too long in hopes (or dread) that Smokey the Bear would amble by.  He never did; nor did anything else.

During the day we hiked down a fire road and onto the Pacific Crest Trail.  We saw lots of wildflowers including blue and yellow lupin, Pacific dogwood, Indian Paintbrush, and some we did not know.  The weather was beautiful: few clouds, a gentle breeze, and comfortable temperatures.

We brought a Coleman stove to cook our meals, solar heated water bags for showers, and chairs to enjoy the new fire pit.  You have to take everything in with you and carry it all out with you.  No water is available either.  There is a nice (really) vault toilet close to the cabin.  You walk through some day lilies and hazelnut bushes to get to it.

Check out time was noon, so we headed down soon after and stopped by the Sacramento River.  Jim and Bill found it to be very relaxing.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Esalen's Fiftieth Fourth

Steve called and invited us to Esalen's Fiftieth Fourth. Jim has been there to the baths, but I had never been. It was in the middle of the week, so we decided to go hear music (three bands), eat a picnic lunch, explore the site, and take a bath. For a holiday outing along Highway 1 in Big Sur, California, we had a really fine day.

Esalen Institute is not open to just drop by for a class or a bath. I have driven by it frequently in my life but have never been inside until this last Fourth of July. We have friends who have conducted classes and taken classes here as well as partook of the baths in the very early mornings. This was a big treat for me.

The music was great. Jocelyn led hula hoop yoga between band changes. A pelican decided to join in causing much amusement. S/he waddled out right by us.

After walking through the beautiful and extensive vegetable gardens, we took a bath.  The lovely bath structure has both a quiet area and a silent area.  Even though there were a lot of folks today in the baths, we had a most enjoyable and relaxing time in both places.

The mineral baths are warm and inviting. The view is spectacular.   I will return someday to experience more of Esalen.