Thursday, July 9, 2009

Roaming Near Redding - 3

July 5th

Click here for the video

After a leisurely Sunday breakfast, the three of us climbed in the pickup and headed out of Redding. Not far from town Bruce turned off on an unmarked dirt road and less than a quarter of a mile later pulled over to the side and stopped. We could see that there was a deep gully ahead with a narrow wooden bridge across it. We walked to the bridge, and looking down saw rushing water cascading from an upper pool down over jagged rocks at the bottom of the chasm. We made our way cautiously down through scrubby underbrush and jumbled rocks as near as we dared to the edge of the dropoff, and admired the cataract of Montgomery Creek Falls.
I was reminded of the Robert Southey poem that I was required to memorize in my high school drama class because to read it you had to exercise breath control:
The Cataract strong
Then plunges along,
Striking and raging
As if a war waging
Its caverns and rocks among:
Rising and leaping,
Sinking and creeping,
Swelling and sweeping,
Showering and springing,
Flying and flinging,
Writhing and ringing,
Eddying and whisking,
Spouting and frisking,
Turning and twisting,
Around and around
With endless rebound!
Smiting and fighting,
A sight to delight in;
Confounding, astounding,
Dizzying and deafening the ear with its sound.
Collecting, projecting,
Receding and speeding,
And shocking and rocking,
And darting and parting,
And threading and spreading,
And whizzing and hissing,
And dripping and skipping,
And hitting and splitting,
And shining and twining,
And rattling and battling,
And shaking and quaking,
And pouring and roaring,
And waving and raving,
And tossing and crossing,
And flowing and going,
And running and stunning,
And foaming and roaming,
And dinning and spinning,
And dropping and hopping,
And working and jerking,
And guggling and struggling,
And heaving and cleaving,
And moaning and groaning;
And glittering and frittering,
And gathering and feathering,
And whitening and brightening,
And quivering and shivering,
And hurrying and scurrying,
And thundering and floundering,
Dividing and gliding and sliding,
And falling and brawling and sprawling,
And diving and riving and striving,
And sprinkling and twinkling and wrinkling,
And sounding and bounding and rounding,
And bubbling and troubling and doubling,
And grumbling and rumbling and tumbling,
And clattering and battering and shattering;
Retreating and beating and meeting and sheeting,
Delaying and straying and playing and spraying,
Advancing and prancing and glancing and dancing,
Recoiling, turmoiling and toiling and boiling,
And gleaming and streaming and steaming and beaming,
And rushing and flushing and brushing and gushing,
And flapping and rapping and clapping and slapping,
And curling and whirling and purling and twirling,
And thumping and plumping and bumping and jumping,
And dashing and flashing and splashing and clashing;
And so never ending, but always descending,
Sounds and motions for ever and ever are blending,
All at once and all o'er, with a mighty uproar,
And this way the water comes down at Lodore.
OK, now take a breath!

Back on the highway, a short drive and a few miles off the main road again, we cruised through French Gulch, a booming mining town during the California Gold Rush back in 1849. The town was named for the French Canadians that mined gold there during the gold rush. Located on the Oregon Trail, it was the largest of northern mines. During it heyday it boasted 4 saloons, 2 hotels, a post office and 2 mercantile stores. Today the population hovers right around 100.

We turned toward the town of Weaverville, and after climbing and curving for awhile along the sinuous road we dropped down into a narrow valley, crossed the Trinity River on an old steel truss bridge, and came to the center of Lewiston, another booming mining town in the 1850's. It faded almost into a ghost town, but now has a population of about 1300. The old buildings from the gold rush days include a restaurant in the old stage coach stop where we bought marvelous hand made milkshakes. Across the street is antique shop in the mercantile store where ancient glass-tank gasoline pumps recall the earliest days of automobile travel.

Our last stop of the day before heading back to Redding was at the old Taoist temple in Weaverville.

Bruce and I both bought bamboo flutes as souvenirs of our roaming near Redding

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