Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Paradise in Paradise

The little city of Paradise, is a microcosm of Northern California.  From the tall pines that populate every neighborhood to the awesome canyon views that peak through every now and then and especially the town roads which wind through the trees as if great care was taken not to disturb the natural beauty that is everywhere. Bicycles and hikers and people walking dogs, the people of this community love the outdoors.  I just love this place.

Today we are hiking to the Head Dam on Feather River.  Do not misunderstand, this is not a walk, it is a hike.  We head down a gravel switchback for a fun day hike. This is absolutely beautiful, in just a couple minutes’ drive we are pure mountain magic.  In between the huge pines you can catch a glimpse of the valley below; a ranger station sits atop the razor peak on the other side.  Soon the forest sounds are pushed away as begin to hear the water running in the river below.  The weather is just perfect, bright sun and clear blue skies and that unmistakable clean cool mountain air.  I catch myself breathing a little hard and a little voice in the back of my head is saying something about “what goes down,…”, but more on that later.

Back and forth we wind and the sound of the water gets louder.  Along the road is the most beautiful green rock.  Serpentine, I am told, is the California state rock, Jade green with veins of black and gold. Soon we are able to see the river; there is a man-made dam with water spilling over the top.  We are happily surprised to see a flume along this trail. There have been many who have walked here before us including the Native American Indians and the first brave explorers and settlers.  Later the logging, mining and finally the hydro industries all made their mark.

The flume is like about 3-4 foot wide and deep; this one is U shaped and formed of concrete.  Just a small amount of water trickles in the bottom.   I am told that these are often full of rushing water and are calming company as you walk along the many trails.  They can provide an exciting way to float along the canyon bottom.  These flumes were constructed, many in the mid 1800’s by the lumber companies to efficiently transport logs to the mills.  Today they just move water and line many trails in the area.

The feather river runs along the bottom of this amazing canyon.  

The river bank is lined with huge serpentine boulders.  It is just beautiful.

We sit along the river, laughing and talking and enjoying the sounds of the water; the peace of the surrounding area, not realizing the hike we had ahead of us.

Not being a mountain climber or even in good shape, the hike back up took its toll. It sure did not seem that far as we walked down; let's just say it was harder going up than doing down and the rocks we packed up were probably not a good idea.  

Great souvenirs, great memories.

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