Well, the day’s plan started out as being a drive up to Cottage Springs to survey the campsite for an upcoming Ham radio event in June. I wanted to see if the location was suitable to bring our Lance travel trailer. But those plans soon changed as we drove up into the Sierra Nevada mountains.
We drove north through Escalon to Farmington and turned right on Highway 4. It was a beautiful spring day with wildflowers everywhere. We headed up into the foothills and decided to stop for lunch in Murphys. We decided on Alchemy Cafe. I had a delicious Ban Mi sandwich and Cristy had a salad with a generous helping of pork bellys on top. Hey, it worked for us.
After lunch we continued up Highway 4 until we got to the road leading to the campground. Um…. no dice. We won’t be checking on that campground today. Probably not for another two months. So we took a few selfies and moved on.
So now we needed a plan “B”. Since we had passed Calaveras Big Trees State Park on the way up we decided to head over there and do a little hiking. When we got there we learned that only the visitor’s center and the nearby North Grove was open that day. We decided to stop in anyway. We’ve been here several times but we love coming back. We’re certainly glad we did because as we were deciding what to do a park volunteer came up and asked what we’d like to see. We told her we’d come hoping we could do some hiking. She said most of the lower trails were muddy but even though the rest of the park was closed to vehicle traffic we could certainly hike up the road and see as much of the park as we liked.
So that’s exactly what we did. We hiked up main road that wraps up and around the visitors center. We came to the top of the hill and stopped at the scenic vista parking area which is just above the grove next to the visitor’s center. We didn’t see anyone the entire time except for an elderly woman walking her dog at the top of the hill. We really enjoyed the quiet hike. We talked about how amazing God is that even in this little area there was so much diversity of plant life and all the animal tracks we saw in the snow. He spoke all those into existence but lovingly scooped the dirt into His hands with which he made us. We were taken aback by how even a fallen world can be so beautiful. We can’t imagine what a restored Earth will look like.
We spent some time admiring the view but since we didn’t bring any water with us we headed back down the hill. Round trip the hike was only about 4.5 miles but there was plenty of scenery and we got to stretch our legs.
Back at the visitor’s center we stopped off in the warming hut and were given free hot chocolate and hot tea. I opted to make a donation anyway to make sure there was enough hot chocolate, hot cider, and hot tea for others in the future. We then drove down to Valley Springs and stopped off for a quick snack (it was 4pm by now) because we hadn’t brought any with us. Cristy needs her afternoon snack! Then we enjoyed a nice leisurely hour and a half drive home through the backroads of California’s vast Central Valley where we live. It’s so fun to take my wife on dates even after 31 years.