northern calfornia

There are highways and there are back roads. There is beauty on both and even a practicality to both of them. But after over a year of exploring california, my advice is to take the back road. There will be a moment like the one captured above. A moment of complete stillness with the only sound be the snow falling from the air to blanket the ground. Your life is put on pause on these back roads. A car may pass by every five minutes. Back roads are where beauty is hidden. You have to work to get there but there will always be a story waiting to be captured and a memory waiting to be made. Camino is filled with stories. So much of gold country is still made up of back roads which hold the history of this part of California. Winter is one of nature’s most beautiful moments and winter in Camino is constantly changing with snow a special occurrence every year. A beautiful special occurrence that truly can best be seen on the back roads.

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Sunsets in gold country are one of my favourite times.  They’re relaxing and new colours are visible every day.  Winter sunsets may be even more beautiful than summer sunsets.  The trees are in free of leaves, the grass is green, and the air is crisp. Early February brought weeks of amazing sunsets that filled the skies with an array of colours.  Some nights there was blue and orange, others pink and yellow.  At the bottom of the foothills lies my favourite sunset spot.  Its the first hill after the Sacramento Valley and overlooks the whole valley and the edge of the Coastal Range.  Its quiet there and really shows the combination of urban populations and the undeveloped land.  More and more of this land is being developed, ultimately hurting the current ecosystems.  The sunsets will still be here, but the open land and oak trees soon won’t be.

Every year at the end of winter something mesmerizing happens in Sonoma County.  Through the windy roads and vineyards one thing is visible to all who pass through.  Wild Mustard.  The bright yellows of its blossom shine through the trees and open pastures and peak through the vineyards.  The first time you see this, it’s spectacular.  Field after field are filled with this little yellow flower and it seems to never end.  This yearly tradition has been occurring sine a Franciscan missionary first spread the wild mustard seeds while landscaping the missions along El Camino Real.  The mustard has become extremely helpful for the vineyards as there are many nutrients in the seeds that help fertilize the grapes.  As I was travelling through wine country last month I was able to witness the beautiful shades of yellow along Highway 12.  These fields are filled with over a hundred years of history and really are beautifully changing all through the year.

I’ve been thinking about Humboldt lately, not the time I spent there, but the place its self. It may have been the littlest, fairly smelliest, tweekerist place I ever did live, but it really was beautiful. 

I miss the old buildings that took over downtown, the small six blocks of it. How the downtown was sitting on the edge of the sea, and the salty smell was constantly clinging to the air, to your skin. 

I miss the forests, with the moss and hidden bridges. Trees that blocked out the sky above you, and enchanted place that you could pretend only you had ever found. There was such inspiration pulled from the beauty of such a small part of California. 

Those locations, were the place of daydreams. 

The El Dorado National Forest is home to many beautiful areas.  Waterfalls flow into reservoirs and trees of all sorts line the hiking trails through the mountains.  One view was spectacular in my opinion; the fields of aspen trees.  Glistening in the sun, the white tree trunks stand out among the dark green pine trees.  The fields are home to hundreds of these trees and really bring light to the forest.  In the winter the snow settles among the tree trunks while the summer brings light green leaves.  It is mesmerizing to look through the trees against the bright blue sky and see birds flying about.  It is the definition of a beautiful summer afternoon.

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So far I have spent summer exploring and not on social media.  Apologies.  I know work near the Capitol in Sacramento so I get to spend evenings taking photos of the beautiful flowers on the grounds.  Out of all the seasons at the Capitol, summer may be my favourite.  The rose gardens are in bloom and flowers are all over.  The trees may not be full of bright colours but the beautiful shades of green make evening walks so peaceful. It really is amazing how there is always something new to see on every walk here.  New sights.  New smells.  New sounds.  It is fascinating to me and makes long weeks at work worth it.

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Sunny afternoons have arrived in Sacramento and I have found myself at the Capitol Gardens often.  A walk through the gardens is always a treat.  I love seeing what is in bloom that week and how close the rose gardens are to blooming.  Many of the orange trees had ripe oranges and a few rose bushes already were smelling magnificent with the first blooms of the season.  These gardens always have so much beauty no matter what time of the year.  The paths hold stories of the thousands of people who walk along them each week during lunch breaks, before visits to the Capitol, and on warm afternoons and evenings.  Life happens in these gardens.  The plants have a history that they are ready to share with any and all who visit.