July 5, 2018

A Walk in the Woods

With most people celebrating Independence Day, traffic was light and I made it to Auburn yesterday without growing exhausted in the process. That left today for the rest of the long drive to Graeagle, where I would rendezvous with two biking buddies for a mini getaway.

Graeagle? Where the heck is Graeagle? Until they'd suggested it, I had never heard of it. Entering the town, I think the sign claimed a population of 737.

Carved wooden Indian Chief statue atop sign "Chief Graeagle Welcomes You.", Graeagle, California
We visited the town when my friends arrived, and later I went exploring on my own as they relaxed before dinner. Our lodge provided a map that showed the start of a path leading to “the river.”

Light streaming through the trees along the Clareville Road path, Portola, California
The path wasn't marked, and I had no sense of the distance to the river. The bouncing blue GPS dot on my phone kept me on the main route (Clareville Flat Road, according to Google Maps).

I was rewarded with the sound of the wind in the trees and the occasional song of a bird.

And, of course, flowers. It may be late in the season, but the altitude is higher (and the nights cooler).

I wondered about bears ... but didn't see telltale signs of large mammals.

I wondered whether I would, in fact, find the river. The Middle Fork Feather River, as it turned out.

Railroad bridge over Middle Fork Feather River, Portola, California
I didn't expect railroad tracks, and a bridge.

Middle Fork Feather River flowing over rocks along granite cliffs, Portola, California
I didn't expect to find the river flanked by cliffs, dotted with granite boulders.

A most satisfying walk in the woods.

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