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July 19-20, 2007


West of Plumas Eureka State Park and south of the Middle Fork of the Feather River, we found dirt roads to wander and an opportunity for dispersed camping where we were the only campers in a silent forest.


In the early light of morning, Darlene found this scene showing nature's rhythm. Low manzanita covered the ground and the trees grew tall in spite of their exposure on a point of land high above the deep canyon of Jamison Creek..


Lobb's Buckwheat hugged the rocks on the outer edge of the promontory. Although it looks like Pussy Paws, it is in a different family. Eight-inch high White-veined Shinleaf grew under the trees. Foot-high Pennyroyal bloomed everywhere, giving off a fragrance when bruised. Its leaves and blossoms may be used to make a tea.


Leopard Lilies and columbine grew in the moist ditch at the side of the road.


We walked along the dirt road to an intersection, where we found the A Tree, a prominent landmark in this portion of the Pacific Crest Trail. As we hiked a mile along the trail, we met a through-hiker who told us that his guide book explains that a work crew found a bee tree nearby and decided that they needed an A tree if there was a B tree.


We were able to drive a dirt road almost to the top of Eureka Peak, elevation 7,447 feet. The wind buffeted us as we walked the last bit and looked south across the canyon to the peaks of the Sierra Buttes. In spite of how it looks, It really wasn't cold. Jim's parka billowed in the wind and his hood kept his cap from flying away.


This dry meadow illustrates the long-lasting damage caused by thoughtless off-road driving. The silvery sheen on the grass in the distance was light reflected on the leaves of silver lupine.


It would be interesting to meet the inhabitants of these holes.


We hiked on the Bear Loop and Overlook trails in Lakes Basin. The first lake is Big Bear Lake.


Little Bear Lake was next.


Cub Lake was third.


Our trail provided a spectacular view of Long Lake.


We turned to Silver Lake, but could have continued to the Pacific Crest Trail on the ridgeline above.


Round Lake had an interesting history of gold mining. Although the area was prospected during the Gold Rush, the mine was developed in 1914. A stamp mill was built in 1915. Little gold was found near the surface as the quartz vein lay under the lake and was covered with glacial debris. In 1918 a shaft 300 feet deep extended 100 feet east and 160 feet under the lake. A second mill was built in 1935, but it burned soon after opening and the mining was abandoned. Debris still litters the area.


This dry stacked wall appeared to be left from the days of mining at Round Lake. It interested us because Jim has been building dry stacked walls at our home, and he knows how much effort is required to select the rocks to pile on top of each other and maintain stability.


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