Thursday, October 21, 2010

Escapees Park of the Sierras

Roger here....  Do any of you remember the abundant and colorful wildlife in Disney's Bambi and Snow White?  As a kid, I thought that settings such as those were as fictional as the story lines in the animated movies.  I seem to be wrong, yet again.  

Our site here at the Escapees Park of the Sierras is surrounded by fascinating flora and fauna.  The birds chirp and swoop by constantly.  The variety is amazing:  Mountain Blue Birds,  Scrub Jays, Acorn Woodpeckers (who store their acorns in holes that they drill in trees - and other things), the elusive California Quail that scamper by in single file lines (too quickly to photograph), an owl that hoots most of the night (Dianne is trying desperately to identify it.), wrens, nuthatches, and an array of hummingbirds that gather at Dianne's feeder.  Dianne has been enjoying quality time with her Western Bird Book and her binoculars sitting on a lounge chair at our site.  As I am writing this, the songbirds are singing, the woodpeckers hammering, and the hummingbirds whirring by.  Big Chuck just tried to attack one through the window.

The mammals are also abundant.  The mule deer seem almost tame.    There are enough squirrels and rabbits to keep Jasper and Chaplin on constant alert.  
We have been told that the scattered and huge boulders (especially the pictured "cougar rock") were at one time sunning places for the indigenous mountain lions.  These shy predators no longer lounge around the campground, but they are not far away.

Speaking of animals - not just squirrels and rabbits, but other rodents.  We have seen multitudes of chipmunks and ground squirrels.  Their holes in the gardens and driveways are abundant.  When we arrived we wondered why many of the cars and motor homes had their hoods propped open and decorated with festive lights.  As it turns out, opening the hood and adding artificial lights prevents the cute-but-destructive (they eat plastic insulation on wiring) varmints from setting up housekeeping next to the engine block.  Thanks to the advice of one of our neighbors, I spent a little time setting up our own  "No Trespassing, Ya Little Bugger"  light display.  Small price to pay for life in this peaceful place.

The park was laid out and actually built by the original Escapees owners.  One of them, Al, took us on a tour of the facilities and talked -- with deserved pride -- about how the park came to be, and how everyone pitched in to make it a reality.  No side-by-side sites here. The spacious sites are terraced on landscaped hillsides.  All of the roads are asphalt and meticulously maintained by the residents.  Many of the resident/owners spend most of the year here; thus,  there is a prevalence of attractive landscaping on their amazing hillside views.

Speaking of the residents, what a friendly bunch of people!  We have been treated as if we had been here forever.  Al took us on a golf cart tour.  Lu welcomed us, and brought us information and a homemade recipe clip.  Bruce stops by most days to tell us about things to do in the area.  The dog lovers dote over Jasper and Chaplin.  And nearly everyone we have met asks us if we are going to the big dinner on Friday.  It would be rude if we didn't, wouldn't it?  We will be there!

I have to show you the Manzanita Tree that I am looking at from the couch.  I had never seen these very common (in this area) trees before.  They are covered with berries, and the smooth trunk and limbs are sooo red that they look as if they were painted.

The small former gold mining town of Coarsegold is just a couple of miles away - a pretty little town that is getting ready for Halloween and its ANNUAL TARANTULA FESTIVAL.  We will be attending.  Halloween is Dianne's favorite holiday, so the pumpkin shot is appropriate. 

The Coarsegold Market, though not a superstore, has everything we would need food-wise.  The homemade, prepared dishes (especially the chili mac and meat loaf) have saved us a lot of time on the busy hiking days at Yosemite.  It also sports a great mural on the side of the store.

You know that we have been hiking at Yosemite (another post about that soon), but the doggies (Dianne and I, too) have been enjoying long hikes here at the campground.  Not as spectacular as Yosemite, but so quiet and beautiful.  An old stage coach line (taking tourists to Yosemite) traversed this property at one time.  The wide pathway winds through the boulder-ladened hills on both sides of the park.  The shorter section is part of the whippets' daily walking routine.  The longer, two-mile loop across the dry creek bed, is a particular treat on those days that we hang around the campsite.  Enjoy some of the sites as we walk along:

Jasper enjoying a bit of freedom on the trail.

You can just barely make out a motor home in this lovely terraced site.

Here is a shot of Dianne and Chaplin looking for gold in the dry creek bed.  Nothing sparkly today - just smooth, black rocks.

The whippet picture of the day is entitled, Basking in the Sunlight at the End of the Day.

(Dianne here:  Jasper is beautiful, isn't he??)

 The next post will describe our biking adventure in Yosemite Valley.  I will close with three more end-of-the-day shots from our campsite:

1 comment:

Nancy and Bill said...

Great Post....makes me want to run away from home. Keep having fun for the rest of us! ;o)