Snowy Sequoias in Calaveras

I headed out to Calaveras Big Trees, which long-time readers will remember I head out to a couple times a year, in early November to see the dogwood and maple trees in fall color. Timing is always hard with such outings, and we were a week or two late. Also impacting the trip, there had been about three inches of snow the week before.

Just a few hints of snow at the visitor center

Slowly burning off in the sun

One of the pacific dogwood trees we were looking for, stripped pretty bare from the rain and snow

The amphitheater looked pretty

Just a dusting in places

Or none at all due to the warming effect of these giants

Other places were harder to navigate with greater depth

This was my first visit here with snow on the ground in the grove

They are quite spectacular, but even more so with the snow

I’ve seen pictures from winter where you can snowshoe on the trail and see them with billowing mounds of snow all over

But this was a much more comfortable alternative

Tall trees too

A little color on these out-of-focus dogwoods

Tree tops

Dusted on its toes

I liked the afternoon lighting too

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Someone made a little snowman!

The field/meadow was particularly stunning with the light snowcover

So pretty, yikes

I did find one dogwood with great fall color at the end

 

Till next time ­čÖé

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Dark Day Fungus and Camptonville Cemetery

After the limited fall rains in 2015, I headed up for some mushroom hunting to see if I could find some fungus in the dark, wet corners of the national forest land. Bullard’s Bar is a lake in Yuba County at the transition between foothill oak terrain and pines that dominate higher up.

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This is a boat launch and camping area, vibrant winter berries

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These mushrooms were growing on a leaf

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Twins

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This is a cottony type veil I have torn open to reveal the gills

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These are likely honey mushrooms, or armillaria mellea, which are edible but at times can be a risky pick

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Inside it was kind of hollow

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Fun little log-huggers

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Turkey tail and witches butter

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Close-up

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Peek-a-Boo

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Burnt mushroom with little tiny neighbors

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What!!! This is a toothed mushroom, a relatively rare find and beautiful Hydnum species

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At the time, like Folsom, this lake was drained down to its lowest level since filling

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This steep boat ramp is usually at the edge of the water

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But the coast has moved down so low

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That you have to look far off to find water

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Or walk all the way down

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Too steep, heading back up

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The dam was so exposed it looked like it had been abandoned

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Nearby a town called Camptonville is small, mountainy and gruffly friendly to outsiders

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I came for the old gold rush era cemetery, which long-time readers will know are a thing I find interesting. This head stone was blank

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But looks like made of marble

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The carving on the stones is quite interesting, a willow on this one

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Obelisks were quite popular in this cemetery

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This was the most elaborate carving around

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But there were also more modern graves, as this is still an active site

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This oak was hundreds of years old, providing shade and a park-like setting for their eternal rest

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So big!

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The views were quite nice

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This was the oldest grave I could find, 1860, and it is hard to imagine all that time

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Next up, snowy sequoias

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Dry Folsom Lake With Artifacts

Please send your thoughts and prayers to the northern california communities threatened by the dam crisis.

Back in fall of 2015 I went out to the  historic town of Mormon Island that was flooded by Folsom Lake. Due to the drought, the lake was at its lowest level ever and revealed this hidden gem.

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They were finishing off work on a new spillway and reinforcing the side dams like this one and where those cranes are in the distance

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It was a tiny pond of a lake, remember those funny looking lumps for later

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This was the dry lakebed, there were remnants of the old town scattered all over the place

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Lacking context, much of it seemed quite alien

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What was this green depression? Perhaps a creek drainage canal

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A paved road led further into the lake, here is looking back to shore

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And out towards the lake

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I love this shot, sorry for the glare, my lens was acting up

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These trees used to line the street

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An old road sign

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The decay was super cool

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Steps to nowhere

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Back at the spillway project, which is now pretty much finished

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These are tailings from right before the dam went up. They dredged the river and banks for the famous gold and left behind these piles of dirt

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People had found a ton of cool stuff, and because this is a state park they left them here for everyone to enjoy and for the lake to take back

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I loved the old bottles

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And iron

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Even ceramic tile

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Perhaps a former house foundation

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See you next post

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Big Bald Rock in Butte County

I went up to this national forest landmark in southern Butte county in the late fall. There isn’t a lot of hiking involved on this one, the drive is paved and the area is just south of Lake Oroville. You can see this prominent granite dome from down in the valley, especially on the way into Oroville.

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Fun local flare

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Not super impressive from this angle, but this granite emerges out of a vast forested plateau

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From below, it looks a bit more like this with large masses of stone

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There are two main exposed formations

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This formation is the same granite that surrounds Yosemite, here you can see a recent exfoliation, which is where the top of the granite dome slowly snaps off along the edges in sheets

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A view of the other prominence, the lake is on the other side of the near forested ridge

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This giant boulder may be a glacial remnant, where it was lifted up eons ago and dropped here by a sheet of ice

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The granite had all kinds of interesting geology, I bet local college classes visit here

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Interesting ripples in the rock, possibly from water erosion

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This was out towards a great view of the valley

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You could see straight across the valley to the coastal range of mountains in the distance

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This USGS marker has been struck by lightning many, many times. So many that they installed three metal rods in the area to channel the energy away from it

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This crack seemed more from the freeze/thaw cycle than exfoliaiton

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However these were more sheets slipping off the top of the dome

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Some pretty steep areas

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Somehow a few plants where scavenging a living up here

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And the water clearly makes this a dangerous place when wet, with all these rivers on smooth rockface

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I think this one looks like a bird, you?

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Next up, lost town under Folsom Lake comes out for first time in 40 years.

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