This way, I can see the snakes ahead of time and avoid a confrontation.
Last week, we had a few days under 100 degree. The mornings were lovely and there was really no excuse not to walk. So, I drove down to the main road. Yes, this is the main road to our house. This road leads to the Mokelumne River. If you turn the other way, you reach a two lane highway that leads into town. We are offically, IN THE STICKS.
I drive down to this road from the house because we live up a very long, very steep dirt road that I love to walk down... but hate to walk back up, especially at the end of a long walk. So I drive down and park at the bottom. Then I get all excited when I return and find my little car waiting for me. It's like a Weight Watchers ice creme after dinner for staying on program. It's my little treat at the end of my walk.
I park the car, lock it (yes, even here) sling my camera over my head, put my phone in my pocket, check it for a connection and off I go. The walk doesn't require water, food or a gun. It's quick and relatively easy. This time NO ONE drove by except my neighbor, going to his mail box. He stopped and gave me a "Howdy". we talked for a few minutes, about snakes and that he was going to Bear River with his brother on the weekend and how he was working his dry creek bed for gold.
"Be careful." he said.
"I will." I assured him.
and off he drove.
You can do that here... Stand in the middle of the road talking to your neighbor. Rarely does anyone come by and make you move over.
So I continued on.
We have an old gold mine on our property. It always has water coming out of it. We closed it up a long time ago because people would not leave it alone. We use to have a locked iron gate and a head frame at the entrance but it was an attractive nuisance. People broke the lock, stole our sign with the historic name and date on it and tromped all over the property. So we closed it up and caved it in. It was too much of a liability.
The water runs out of the old mine year round. That is why we have cattails.
It was already getting warm. I appreciated the shady areas of the road.
When I got to my neighbor's entrance, I turned around.
This is a sign we gave our friend a long time ago. It was a joke gift for his birthday. He hung it on his gate. I still think it's funny. "NODIS"... Trepespasers'll be percekuted...
So I turned around and started walking back.
I love taking my camera with me. I don't walk as fast when I use it, but I find it connects me to small places that are part of my life here.
And there will always be the trash.
We can't reach these tires. They are down the hillside too far. Maybe, in the winter, we can use a rope, hike down, tie them together and pull them up. Recently, the Prospector and our neighbor pulled up two mattresses that someone dumped and the city guys (bless their hearts) came and picked them up for us.
If we pick these things up and keep the road clean, people tend to dump less. I guess some of them see that this is a beautiful place and think before they throw something out the window. But there are always a few who can't wait for a garbage can. We pick up garbage everyday. Fast food containers, beer cans, plastic bottles, and the one that strikes terror in my heart... cigarettes and empty matchbooks or lighters.
This area is so dry in the summer.
And still... there is new growth coming up in between the burnt trees.
I walk past the reminders of what happen that day.
I finally see my car at the entrance. I'm tired and it's getting hot. I'm glad that the car is waiting there for me to drive up to the house.
I look down the road...
Not the place I was raised. Not the place that we raised our children.
Certainly not the place I thought I would be in my older years... but, it's my home.
I love it here... Rattlesnakes, mountain lions and all.
It's a walk I didn't expect... but a good one.