I prefer winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Carl and Cutter's Excellent Adventure

Yesterday we packed a lunch, harnessed the pups and headed on out for the day. We drove south to a town called...
The Prospector's gold club was having an "outing" there. We didn't want to spend the whole day on the river but we wanted to see Knight's Ferry. So we decided to take the dogs, have lunch on the Stanislaus River and see the longest covered bridge in the state of California. Knowing the area we figured that the hike down to the river would be a long and steep one. The Prospector's knee has been giving him trouble lately so we choose not to join the gold group and just did a day trip to see the covered bridge.
We drove across the Mokelumne River and south through San Andreas and Angels Camp. We went west to Copperopolis and took an old road south to Knight's Ferry. It took about an hour and a half with a pit stop in the middle of some ranch land below Copper' so we and the dogs could relieve ourselves. NO ONE passed us or came by while I propped myself near the car, using the edge of the open door for support. I used to be able to do this without holding on to anything in my younger days. I guess I'm getting old... Poor old knees don't hold me up like they use to.
I learned, this summer in Montana, how to sit on the side of the open car door and relieve myself. I won't go into detail but it works really well when there are Grizzly Bears (or cows watching) in the area and you might need to make a fast exit back into the car. It also keeps you from getting your shoes wet.... if you're following my drift.
Anyway, We finally got to Knight's Ferry. It's a very little town. This is just about the extent of it...
I'm sure there are some side streets but it's just a tiny town with a lot of history. We drove through it and parked in a beautiful area right on the river with picnic tables and BATHROOMS. Carl and Cutter were getting really excited. They saw other dogs and their owners. They barked their arrival and wanted out of the car. We got them hooked securely to their leashes and started walking. In the distance I could see something long and beautiful reaching across the river. It was the Covered Bridge. I had never seen something so beautiful.

The weather was lovely. Cool and kind of sunny. The fog has been really awful in the valley and some of it was still lingering around the hills to the west but the sun was trying very hard to overcome all of this. We walked on a trail that led to a huge old ruin.
This was, originally, a flour mill and then a power house.  Then, just past the old mill the entrance to the bridge ....
I think that the first time I saw a covered bridge was in the movie called The Bridges of Madison County and I was enamored of them from that moment on. They became the "romantic" movie location of my dreams.
This covered bridge lived up to all my expectations. I wanted "Clint" to be walking toward me from the other end, or Sam Elliot, or.... lucky me.... The Prospector with two cute little Corgis in toe....
This is such a romantic bridge. While we were there a photographer was taking pictures of two young people. I would guess they were having pre-natal photos taking, which is kind of different, because she was VERY pregnant and it was all about the belly, which was totally exposed. I guess I'm getting old. Maybe they were engagement or wedding pictures, I don't know, but something was kind of out of sequence. Anyway, they seemed very happy and  it was a perfect place for any kind of professional photos.
We walked across the bridge and I took a few more pictures.
Someone made steps down to the river. I thought they were beautiful.
We started up the trail. Carl and Cutter were having a grand time. They were on a mission to mark every dog spot that they came to. Everyone ahead of us had a dog too so Carl and Cutter were trying to pee on every dog fragrance they could find. They finally ran out of liquid and just pretended.
The trail got steeper and finally it was overlooking the river. What a beautiful sight. At the top someone had built a bench for the weary hikers. I thought that was a nice touch. The Prospector sat for a few minutes but said that his knee felt better when he was walking than sitting so we went up a bit further. Then we saw the trail that led down to the river's edge and we knew that we didn't want to walk down that path. Down would have been OK but coming back up would have been difficult. My husband has a doctor's appointment to see what is going on with his knee in a few weeks and he doesn't want to damage it further before then. So we turned around and headed back down the trail.
Carl and Cutter were so good. They were really enjoying the walk. This was a big adventure for them both. Carl acting like he does this everyday and Cutter bopped around like the puppy that he is. He watches to see what Carl is doing and then runs ahead to see what is next. I was taking photos most of the time but when I took Carl separately, Cutter wanted to be sure that Carl was coming behind him. He thinks that Carl needs to give him the "OK" for everything and then he goes ahead and makes his own way.
He barked a few times but only, I think, in reacting to these two little pip squeaks that were making all this noise. He was tolerating them.
We passed these huge rocks that towered over the river and us.
Ancient, weather worn sentinels that form the bedrock of the river and hold it to it's channel. So much bedrock and stone. They saw the native Indians, then the first pioneers and now us. It's kind of humbling how long they have been here.... how long they will be here. Someday my great grandchildren will take this walk and come across the same rocks. Do you suppose they will think the same thoughts... be humbled in the same way.... Feel the strength and fortitude of these huge earthlings. I can only hope. I must bring my grandchildren here. They need to see things that last longer than time. They need to know the strength of Nature.
And so we continued back down the trail to the object of my desire.... the covered bridge. Another photographer was taking pictures of another couple. The pups met up with another Corgi, who was very well trained and didn't bark at all. Oh well...
We passed the Mill Office....
And a tribute to the Native Indians that lived in this area...
We gave the pups water, had lunch, and talked to a guy, with a dog, who use to have a Corgi and loved the breed. His dog was so friendly. Ours were anxious and noisy... Always trying to control the situation.
We all got into the car and headed across another, newer bridge, finding the highway and driving East toward Jamestown and Sonora.
Tomorrow I will continue the trip and then head home. I still have more to tell you about and places to show you.This is the MOTHER LODE. There is so much history here. The weather is perfect and the days are getting longer.
I felted another piece that I knitted, today, so I'm spending the day blogging and trying to figure out what I want to do with these wonderful felted pieces.
See you tomorrow....


  1. What a wonderful day for an outing. I clicked on your pictures to see more of the details. It was like I was walking with you along this beautiful place. Thanks for sharing this outing with us. Will be looking forward to reading more about your day. Have a blessed evening. Hope your husband will have a good report when he goes to the doctor about his knee. Madeline

  2. Enjoyed reading your post - and seeing 0ther Corgis out and about! The rocks are really amazing to me - I love nothing better than to sit in a rock pile and examine stones and hunt for fossils! I'd love to have just ONE in my yard like the size of the rocks you have pictures of!!!

  3. Another FABULOUS post. Learning the history and beauty of the Mother Lode was a part of my childhood that I loved. It is one of the few things I can thank my father for. The “steps down to the river” are magnificent. It isn’t often you see something man-made that actually adds a little beauty to Mother Nature’s realm. Now, on to what’s really important. You MUST teach me the trick of squatting by the car without (as an English expression goes) “splashing me boots”! ~Dawn

  4. It sounds like you had a lovely day. I too, think about nature and time and hope that someday I will be able to teach my grandchildren the importance of both. You should have been a history teacher! You have a wonderful way of weaving a story that makes me feel like I'm on the trip with you...thanks!

  5. What a lovely post Connie, love the pictures. What a fabulous outing! So peaceful, and historical. I could see Clint in the shadows seeing you enjoying yourselves! Hugs, Riki

  6. A lovely post indeed... not to mention informative:-) I always feel the same way when I see something in nature that is so old. The weather looks springlike too. Could you please rush some of those nice sunny warm days here?

  7. So so so cool...I would love to visit this place...

  8. What a fantastic road trip...I can't wait till the weather turns spring here and head out on the open road! I am in awe of that bridge! I once heard that the reason they made covered bridges was to fool cows and horses with wagons into going into a barn instead of walking over open, moving water (which they don't like to do at all). There's nothing that says premarital sex like a covered bridge...

  9. I'm the only one who is focusing on how you managed the bathroom trick. That and if the Stanislaus has salmon now, which I will have to google. This was a beautiful journey and thank you for taking us along! I just love how you do this!

    Pregnant and bridge don't mix, but maybe spawning? Maybe it brings good luck. What's with me and salmon today LOL

  10. http://www.uniondemocrat.com/20101112101777/News/Local-News/Stanislaus-salmon-rebounding



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