Tuolomne County

January 13, 2017

Stefen & I at the Twain Harte Cabin

Tuolomne county is on the eastern side of California, centrally located just above Yosemite National Park. Back in the 80’s, my family built a quaint little cabin tucked into the forest, in a tiny town called Twain Harte. My great grandparents lived there for years after it was built, enjoying their retirement together in a peaceful sanctuary where the noisiest sounds of the days are birds chirping & animals rustling through the forest floor, and by night, you cannot even make out the common constellations because there is just too many stars.. not a complaint at all. As a youngin, I spent a lot of time exploring the grounds with my great grandmother as we identified various flowers, plants, and animals alike. She taught me that we are not separate from the world which surrounds us, unity consciousness. As kids we made up our own trails, competed to find the coolest walking sticks, and above all we were just content to be where the air is fresh and the trees are tall.

Deer friends, mama and her two babies

The redwood & cedar canopy has a special place in my heart, each and every one of those trees have been my friend for a long long time. When I look at them I see familiarity and feel comfort. My favorite animals that always come to visit us include the giant grey squirrels, quails, blue jays, & deer families. Upon our arrival at the cabin we are always sure to provide fresh water, bird seeds, & veggie scraps to let our forest friends know we would like them to visit us. During our last trip we had a mama Deer and her two baby fawn come multiple times a day to feast on our fruit and veggie remains, sometimes we even pick up a special treat just for them… they really like watermelon, and to my surprise they also love onions!!! The squirrels are also super cute, they adults are much bigger than your average city squirrel, not to mention they have really beautiful grey fluffy coats. We saw a baby squirrel on our last visit as well, my heat was liquefied by the time we left due to all the excitement of seeing the fawns, a deer mama, squirrel families, & quail flocks… the quality of my life increased and I felt a bit more complete.

Boulder Hopping Begins

The surrounding area of Tuolomne County has so much to offer… of course there are lots of hiking spots, ranging in different levels of difficulty. In the summer time, we love to go on rock hopping adventures hunting for gorges to swim in. In the winter, it’s cool to just cozy up inside the cabin, keep a fire burning, and watch the rain or snow fall. A favorite summertime hike is at the North Fork of the Stanislaus River…. we drive on this dirt road for about 3 miles and all of a sudden we’re at this bridge with huge boulders everywhere and a beautiful river oasis flowing through. The hike begins on a trail alongside the river and as you hike further in the challenge increases. The trail ends, at which point you must strategically (and bravely) hop from boulder to boulder using your body weight’s momentum to keep you from falling into the holes below. This is not for the faint of heart, or tiny children for that matter. Typically as you hop from each rock there is about 1 or 2 feet of distance between, however, if you look down you’ll notice there is about 8 feet of vertical space with water rushing down below. Sometimes there are mysterious sink holes with water rushing into them and there is no visible outlet, which definitely makes you wonder if there is some sort of secret caves down below. It wouldn’t come as a surprise if they were since there are the moaning caverns & caves in Calaveras County which is only about 1 hour away from our hiking spot. For the record, I won’t be venturing into any sink holes any time soon to find out, I’m okay with the mystery factor. In fact, last time we were on this hike, we spotted a really cool looking rock stuck in one of the holes, Stefen “offered” to hold onto my foot and dangle me so I could grab it… THAT was comical. No cool rock was worth the fear of falling into a mysterious hole with gallons of water per minute gushing into it, flowing underneath the boulders with zero signs of an outlet. On this same hike, you can collect and forage wild blackberries along your trek, they are delicious alone but they also make great margarita’s!

Foraging for Berries

Another great summer adventure is hiking around Pine Crest Lake… There are so many variations. You can simply just go to the lake with a picnic, rent a kayak or paddle boat, or hike the lake itself. There is actually hot springs on the far side of the lake, but it is about a 9 mile hike… alternatively you can also get there by boat which are also for rent. My favorite thing about Pine Crest is that the fun doesn’t have to end once the sun goes down. You can actually stick around on Friday & Saturday nights to watch a movie under the stars. There is a large amphitheater surrounded by redwoods with a gaping view to the innumerable stars & galaxies, meanwhile they play family friendly movies, sometimes new movies, & sometime reruns. Pine Crest is equally fantastic for the advanced survivalist hiker as well as the whole family to enjoy a day of splashing & exploring.

Our baby girl, Cynder, the cabin cat.

If you live in California, or will be visiting.. I highly suggest taking a trip to Tuolomne County. Something I haven’t mentioned yet is that there is heavy native american history in that region. The Miwuk Village/Reservation sits right in the middle of the county, they have a couple of annual cultural events which are fun, insightful, & creative. If you have an interest in the culture & lives of the indigenous people, this is a great place to gain knowledge & perspective. If you are inquiring for more information before visiting, please feel free to head over to our contact page and send us as personal message and we will be happy to give you more ideas for your travels! A fun tidbit is that we actually bring out kitty cat on our cabin trips- she LOVES the cabin so much, if it were up to her she would never leave, she enjoys watching the birds and squirrels and sniffing all the forrest air

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