Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Golden Mountain

So hubby and I took a short road trip this weekend to visit family.  

Over the years we have had quite a few road trips in California.  It never gets old.

As anyone of you knows, who has ever flown into San Francisco, California's great glory

is her natural beauty.  Haunting, effortless, colossally scaled beauty.

"Purple mountain's majesty" was written FOR California, BECAUSE of her.

Her hills are just as glorious.  By the age of ten I had already fallen in love with the hills around San Francisco at the moment when they were green.  I've always wanted to walk right over the hills and among the oaks of California - up and down the state, like so many had to before me.  My Dad always told us kids that we would all hike the Pacific Crest Trail together.  But other dreams took precedence.

The Chinese who built the railroads and much else in California called it the "Golden Mountain".

Not because of the precious metal to be found deep inside the earth.

But because of the gold that mantled the earth.  At this special time.

It looks like a Mexican Indian's mescaline dream.

Or an Indian Indian's detour on his way to Holi.

But no, it's not colored powder or psychedelic imaginings.  It's Mother Nature washing her paintbrush across a landscape, and dousing it with poppies, daisies, and in the hollows, purpley-blue lupins.

These pictures were taken at Gorman.  The only spot in the mountains called "the Grapevine" on Route 5 where the hills were in bloom last weekend.  

Mountains, take a bow.  Vous etes carrement en beaute!!!!!  

p.s. to Kenza:  good guess on the car, but if you look really close at the license plate, it will tell you the name of another 1970's TV detective

p.p.s. to everybody:  please do click to enlarge.  it will be so rewarding!


  1. Wonderful photos, with such beautiful colours. I am a little jealous to say the least. I'd just love to make a trip like that one day. Thanks for sharing them.

  2. The colours are amazing! I had no idea they were like that, thanks for showing them :)

  3. I have to admit that I am not used to seeing beauty on such a large scale! Amazing - the sheer size of it all. Lovely journey. Thanks!

  4. Oh, lovely photos! I've only been to the California coast, would love to get off into the hills! You have beautiful nature photos on your blog, love, and I am a new follower!

  5. gorgeous! I went trekking on Big Sur for four days a few years back amazing! Not the kind of thing I do but that it was amazing --ended up in a spa, that was the best ;)

  6. Ah, Paradis! This is like a trip down Memory Lane for me. I lived in Central CA for 7 years and drove the Grapevine so many times for jaunts into San Francisco. You captured it perfectly!!! :-)

  7. NO way! I drove down this exact stretch a few months ago just when it was greening up. Now I'm hankering to make a little road trip north with the Scamp this weekend...

    So, so beautiful. And great passenger-seat photog skills, btw;)

  8. There is nothing better or more fun than a good road trip.

  9. Gorgeous! We must get down to California more - and you need to come up to the Pacific North West!

  10. oh i'm so glad you all liked these pictures! it's just such a gorgeous thing i wanted lots of people to know about it. so you can come and find it yourself. or tell your kids about it! (go west young man!)

    shari! nice to have you here. glad you like what you see. i can see that you are a color girl. it's a good thing. and paola, i've spent a little time in seattle but yes, i must spend more time there!

    so have a great weekend! i'll see you all Monday if i don't manage to sneak a few visits before!

  11. These are stunning Mlle Paradis!
    What an incredible trip... and I love all the sections of it...the can almost feel as if we were the back seat passengers!

    your recent words were a tonic...and spot on.....over-load after show...need to take my too busy mind on this trip through all those hills and come back restored. Its a treat to just visit... so enjoy your weekend and know your valuable well chosen thoughts worked!

  12. This is the best time of the year to see the hills, usually so arid. Around my house looks like normandie, the green is blinding. And then the Lupin flowers everywhere. Too bad it's so chilly this year

  13. tu as de très beaux paysages chez toi aussi !!

  14. Great post. I am a Minnesotan by birth but my husband is a fifth generation Californian out of the Bay area and thanks to him I have gotten to exeperience a lot of California. It is such an amazing state. So far I have only dabbled in southern california (LA, San Diego), but I have driven the coast from San Simeon all the way up to the Oregon border. And still so much more to experience. Memorial Day weekend we will be in Sonoma. Can't wait.

  15. sophie: i'm glad! see you soon!

    corine: i've enjoyed this cooler weather. and the rain HAS been good for the flowers. now i have to cut back all that extra growth in time for fire season!

    isabelle: isn't the internet wonderful?

    thomas: i've driven this state so many times over my life and thank GOODNESS there is still so much loveliness. i LOVE sonoma, but it's gotten a bit twee. i would suggest paso robles next time, a little more rustic but great wine and gorgeous hidden landscapes. have a wonderful time up there!

  16. I agree about the twee part of Sonoma. The thing that I find so stunning about it is how in the later summer the hills taken on that golden color set off against the green trees. It reminds me of Tuscany.

  17. oh Thomas don't get me wrong, it is one of the most gorgeous places on earth. and i do think it's prettier than napa.