My traveling to California for the holidays was my chance to see a part of my family I have not been with for too many years. Three generations were in included, with my brother and I representing "the elders" and 3 of his 4 kids making up the second generation. Two of those kids have families of their own now, providing the third generation and bringing our total to 12 people. The holiday plan was not to all converge on my nephew's house and spend Christmas there, but to converge on his house and then drive to a "cabin in the mountains." I had no idea what to expect, but was hoping at the least we'd get out of the brown haze. Our route took us up a narrow winding canyon that did get us away from the smog I could see trying to push its way in.
The Kern River flows down this canyon, and I was captivated by the rock formations. Couldn't get a decent picture of the river, but there were large boulders and rock layers like this all turned on end.
Eventually we emerged into a valley, an area once known as Whiskey Flats - lots of gold mining went on in the surrounding mountains. More boulder-strewn mountainsides along the road. Parts of this area are in Sequoia National Park.
|Caravanning in 3 cars to the cabin|
I think by now we were at about 2,000 feet but soon to head up another twisty and very steep road to the cabin which reportedly was near 6000 ft elevation. Occasionally we could get a view of the valley below.
It started looking very much like northern Idaho, all straight up and down and finally some pine trees. Had there been snow, we'd have needed chains to get up to Alta Sierra, our home for 3 days. We did see evidence of snow along the road and on shaded roofs, but the temps at the moment were still 50's to 60's.
And here is our "cabin". Yeah, not exactly roughing it, and located in essentially a little development. Houses on either side of us very close and up and down several roads.
As high up as we were, there were houses even higher. I spotted this from that second story deck.
The house was heavy on bear decorations, but this big elk really dominated. Christmas stockings were hung on the antlers, but Santa decided maybe once he filled them, it might be a good idea not to leave them hanging there.
There were two bedrooms and this loft - I was beginning to get used to sleeping with a lot of people after two nights in coach on the train - hey, at least this crew were family.
What would Christmas in a "cabin" be without a wood stove burning real logs - perfect to set the mood.
We packed in a ton of food to prepare in the more than adequate kitchen. This is me with my sister-in-law, Rosie.
We brought a Christmas tree, and small children still full of wonder: my great-nephew Ethan.
And there were teenagers too, glued to their various devices. This is my niece, Valerie, and her son Matthew.
Lots of presents also hauled in, and an amazing number of them held shoes. If you know lacrosse, then you will know how special these lacrosse shoes are. (Me- I have no clue about lacrosse).
My nephew Eric is an anomaly in the family. He kept referring to himself as the alien because he's never felt he was like the rest of the family (we soon figured out he's a lot like me). For one thing, he towers over everyone else - we really can't figure out where he gets his height. So I couldn't resist having shots of me with him - no problem seeing over me - and then his dad (my brother) - having to stand on tip toe and crane his neck to do the same.
Finally, here's great aunt Sheila with Eric's kids, Ethan and Averie, 9 and 6 years old respectively. I don't dislike kids, but I've never been comfortable around them, and have never had any of my own, so my mantra is usually "I don't do kids." Not totally true because over the years there have been a few kids that I did very well. But generally speaking, I stand back and hope for the best. I swear, kids are like cats who make a bee-line to the one person in the room allergic to them (that would be me). These two wasted no time engaging with me and being quite impressive with how well behaved they were. Maybe they were warned??? At any rate, I really enjoyed my time with them (and sleeping in Averie's bed!).
Next post - I come out of my travel daze and spot some inspiration!