|Jess Valley in the Fall|
I was sitting on a log with my husband, in the middle of a tall forest. We were on our way back to the trailhead and not in a hurry to leave. “It’s so quiet,” I said. “You can’t hear a clock ticking, or a car on a road…”
“But you can hear pine needles falling on the ground,” said my companion.
That deep quiet is one of the things we love about the Warner Mountains and this whole corner of the state, Modoc County and much of Siskiyou County. You might go for several hours, as we did, and not see another soul.
“The Warner Range is not part of the Sierra Nevada range or the Cascade Range, but part of the Great Basin Ranges,” you will learn if you read the very short Wikipedia article on them. The Warners extend into Oregon, as you can see from the map at right.
This area is like a secret treasure. The forest and blue sky (we were hiking at over 6,000 feet elevation) seemed to belong to us alone. And it is true that few Californians have been here or even know anything about this hinterland.
Ten years ago we came here for the first time, with some of our children, and camped in the summertime. We hiked on the same Slide Creek Trail, out of Soup Springs Campground. I’m posting some pictures of that visit, when the main difference in the scenery was the source of yellow highlights in the views. Earlier in the year it was fields of mule’s ears (Wyethia) that made the bright splashes, but now it is aspen trees turning color.
|Mule’s Ears Summer 2003|
The mule’s ears have thick leaves when they are green, and after they are dried up, before they lie down on the ground, they clatter sharply in the wind. The aspens make a more whispery noise.
|Jess Valley 2003|
In 2003 we had stopped in Jess Valley at the corner of Road 64, because the setting of the farms between mountain ranges was perfect for taking pictures. I recognized the spot when we went by and we stopped again for more.
The air is so clean up there, it makes you want to breathe deeply and refresh every cell in your body before you have to go down to the valley again.
|by Mill Creek|
|What the mule’s ears look like now|
Our hike wasn’t the only thing worth remembering of last week’s trip, so I will try to write again soon on the culture and events of this out-of-the-way part of our fair state.
|Two Glad girls by Mill Creek – 2003|