top of page

Save the Socks

The people in The City think that they are the Californians, so they call where they live Northern California. They think this because they are always looking toward where all the people are in Ellay, and San Diego, and Mexico; or east where all the tourists are in Tahoe, and Las Vegas, and Yosemite. They don’t think to look behind them. But the truth is that Northern California is really in the middle of the state, and to the north of Northern California, where the people forget to look, is a whole second California the same size as the one with all the people, that is filled with mountains and farms, lakes and rivers. The only time that Californias remember this half of California is when it catches on fire. This week, Mom and I decided to turn our tails on the people’s California visit the Secret California.

photo (93).jpg

we’d been here before. Last year, Mom and I had discovered long, dirt mountain roads for the first time in this corner of Secret California. Back then we didn’t know about how The Witch could memorize maps before you went into the wider-ness, or how to drive miles up a mountain on dirt roads, or how you could find free places to sleep on the sides of those roads. But now we’re back country experts and know how to overcome all kinds of nature problems. Or so I thought, anyway…

One lesson we’d learned was the importance of reading recent reviews on AllTrails. This could tell you things like whether the trail was overgrown, still covered in white dirt, or other unexpected problems you might run into. So when the dirt road to the trail suddenly disappeared into the white, frothy river, Mom didn’t get upset. She pulled over the Covered Wagon, gathered our stuff, and jumped off the dirt embankment that the road left behind when it went for a swim. “Where are you going?” I asked, looking over the edge of the drop and seeing that it would be a tricky dismount for a bowling ball. “The most recent review said you had to go through the creek to get to the trailhead. It must have been talking about this landslide. Come on, it should just be a little ways along the riverbank, and then we can walk on the road the rest of the way to the trail,” she said as she carefully put her foot on a rock that fell away down the dirt slope under her and splashed into the river. “The trailhead’s only about half a mile away.”


IMG_5198 (1).jpg

photo (90).jpg


photo (91)

The first sign we saw was to a place called Boulder Lake Trailhead, and took us eleven miles up a dirt road that twisted up a mountain. When we finally reached the trail an hour later, the sign at the head was so rotten that the map had fallen on the ground. Someone had put rocks on it so that it wouldn’t blow away, but nature had come up from underneath and eaten whole mountains off the map. Mom twisted her head to try to read where we were going, but then shrugged and started into the woods.

The trail climbed steeply through the trees for about a mile until we reached the ridge, where the white dirt was still crouching down tight to the ground to wait out the summer. I lay down to roll in it, but it didn’t give way to hug me, and I slipped down the slope like a todoggan.  I sprinted and skipped across the mountain, showing Mom the way to go when the trail was hidden under the white dirt. Soon we reached a little stream that dumped into a little lake. This stream was only a few inches deep, so I splashed triumphantly across to show Mom the virtues of getting your socks wet. “I give up,” Mom said, and followed me through the stream socks and all, and getting her paws just as wet as mine.

We walked a little ways around the lake to see if the trail would take us up the rocky peaks we could see on the other side, but soon the trail disappeared under a thick shell of white dirt that seemed determined to sit out the summer. As far as we could see through the trees, the shell of white dirt looked the same in all places. This may not have been the end of the trail, but it was the end of the trail for us.


Oscar the Riverpooch


#mountainhike #poisonoak #hikingwithdogs #doghikeintrinityalps #trinitylake #backcountryhike #snowhike #northerncalifornia #shastatrinitynationalwilderness #riverfording #trinityalps #riverhike #northerncaliforniahike #doghike #mountaindog


Will You Be Mine?

We're Friends! Lucky me!

bottom of page