|The Golden State
||[Apr. 15th, 2015|09:51 pm]
Our first visit to California had been in April. Returning in late summer, driving the same highways, I was disconcerted by the complete change in the vegetation. It can't really have been the total transformation it seemed, I must partly just have been noticing different things. The dense carpet of ice plants, whose neon pink daisies had fascinated me in the spring had not really vanished, but it took me a while to spot their darkened leaves. Everwhere was golden tawny grass, and where had those trees come from? Suddenly I was seeing big, impressive trees: they couldn't have sprung up while we were away.
Then we took the road to Amador County, Gold Rush country, and there's gold in them there hills... The default terrain is gentle curves and folds, covered with golden grass, like the flanks of giant sleeping teddy bears. The most scenic section, early on, was spiked by the occasional dark green tree. Later, on route 49. the hills grew steeper, and the pattern changed. durham_rambler made the usual offer: "If there's anywhere you want to stop for a photo-opportunity, just say, and I'll explain why it's impossible." So I have no golden landscapes. Here's a picture from the town of Volcano:
Later, setting off to retrace our route to Sunnyvale, there was thunder and rain - strange, warm rain. The golden fields were luminous under the darkened sky, which evolved into a lingering sunset: a single skeletal tree in a field of gold; a big red sun; a tree on the horizon echoing the shape of a fringed and tattered cloud outlined in light.
But that was later. First we explored Amador County...