California Gold Country

We saw Yosemite and took in the major attractions, so it’s time to move on, right? If we could have found some place to go, we would have. With the 4th of July falling in the middle of the week, it turns out the the weekend before and after were prime weekends, and every place we wanted to go to was booked. The place we were at still had room, we would just have to move to a new space. So, what to we do for a second week in Gold country? Lots!img_1553 On the 4th we walked over to Columbia and took in the festivities. They had a parade, watermelon eating contest, greased pole climbing, nail pounding, and finished out with a water fight. img_1550Reminded me of the 4th of July’s I spent as a kid in Crested Butte. The next day we decided to see what the Natural Bridges Park was about. It involved hiking about a mile down into a canyon. img_1303-1img_1535At the bottom, a stream had carved a tunnel through the limestone creating a 200 or so foot long tunnel that you can float or swim through.img_1539 With the air temp in the high 90’s, the cold water felt great and we spent a while floating around. The mile hike out was work, but at least our suits where dry by the time we got to the car. On Friday we loaded the paddle boards into the car and drove up to Pinecrest reservoir. img_1556It was crowded, but the water was the perfect temp to cool off in and we were able to get a bit of time on the boards. Saturday we put the paddle boards away and put the hiking boots on. An easy drive up to Calaveras Big Trees State Park meant that we were going on a hike to see the Giant Sequoia trees. img_1567img_1566

It was an easy five mile hike that took us into a preserved old growth stand of Sequoias, Sugar Pines, and Douglas firs.  The Sequoias may not be as tall as the Pacific Redwoods, but they are much wider.  Just like in Yosemite, we got to the park early to beat the crowds and heat.img_1576Today will be our last day here and tomorrow we’ll head into the mountains for a couple days. We have enjoyed the area and the old towns that have been reborn into tourist areas, but we are ready for some cooler temps.img_1586img_1587

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