Thursday, October 17, 2013

We return to the secret Warners.

Jess Valley in the Fall
I was sitting on a log with my husband, in the middle of a tall forest. We were on our way back to the trailhead and not in a hurry to leave. "It's so quiet," I said. "You can't hear a clock ticking, or a car on a road..."

"But you can hear pine needles falling on the ground," said my companion.

That deep quiet is one of the things we love about the Warner Mountains and this whole corner of the state, Modoc County and much of Siskiyou County. You might go for several hours, as we did, and not see another soul.

"The Warner Range is not part of the Sierra Nevada range or the Cascade Range, but part of the Great Basin Ranges," you will learn if you read the very short Wikipedia article on them. The Warners extend into Oregon, as you can see from the map at right.

This area is like a secret treasure. The forest and blue sky (we were hiking at over 6,000 feet elevation) seemed to belong to us alone. And it is true that few Californians have been here or even know anything about this hinterland.

Warner view 2003

Ten years ago we came here for the first time, with some of our children, and camped in the summertime. We hiked on the same Slide Creek Trail, out of Soup Springs Campground. I'm posting some pictures of that visit, when the main difference in the scenery was the source of yellow highlights in the views. Earlier in the year it was fields of mule's ears (Wyethia) that made the bright splashes, but now it is aspen trees turning color.

Mule's Ears Summer 2003

The mule's ears have thick leaves when they are green, and after they are dried up, before they lie down on the ground, they clatter sharply in the wind. The aspens make a more whispery noise.
Jess Valley 2003

In 2003 we had stopped in Jess Valley at the corner of Road 64, because the setting of the farms between mountain ranges was perfect for taking pictures. I recognized the spot when we went by and we stopped again for more.

The air is so clean up there, it makes you want to breathe deeply and refresh every cell in your body before you have to go down to the valley again.

by Mill Creek

What the mule's ears look like now
Our hike wasn't the only thing worth remembering of last week's trip, so I will try to write again soon on the culture and events of this out-of-the-way part of our fair state.

Two Glad girls by Mill Creek - 2003


Gumbo Lily said...

It really is a beautiful place. I like that there are evergreens and aspens. I think places like this (where you can hear pine needles dropping) are less and less. I'm glad you have a special place to appreciate.

Jo said...

What a lovely, lovely place to walk. I can hear the silence and sniff that clear air from here!

Farm Girl said...

Well thanks so much for writing about a place I have never heard of, how beautiful and how fantastic. It looks beautiful and I would love to go to listen to pine needles fall to the ground. I do get so tired of noise. It is so nice to know that there are still places without people. We do have a nice state don't we? I can't wait to see what else you found.

Jeannette said...

This makes me want to travel around and now I maybe could a little! we do want to go up to the ranch sometime in the soon...
Lovely photos and and as always, a tender narrative that conveys all that your banner intentions set forth.

Lorrie said...

I think we all benefit from places like this, where nothing of technology intrudes on the deep quiet of Creation. The mule's ears are fascinating - I've never seen anything like them. Beautiful photos of your secret Warners.

Martha said...

Such a pretty place. And the words, so quiet, but you can hear the pine needles falling. I have been to a place like that. ♥ Wow..10 years ago, two girls with beautiful French braids. Looking back 10 years, I had a 2 year old and a 4 month old baby!

Thistle Cove Farm said...

Gretchen, I bet it smelled amazing in those mountains. I live in quietness, save that of God's creation and, sometimes, the sound of a tractor. Glorious!

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

Beautiful photos! I am far from this kind of landscape (in northeast Ohio which has its own beauty), but I really appreciate the chance to see this mountain land.

Anita said...

Gosh, I would love to visit this place one of these days. So pretty and peaceful.