Monday, February 7, 2011

Rivers Run Mighty

We are so fortunate to live in the vastly varied and magnificently marvelous state of California. And having a day like today – with the weather near perfect while all the rest of the country is buried in snow – i’m beginning to think that this is God’s country. Well, at least until the earthquakes and floods take us.

Today was most amazing. And not because it was the Super Bowl. I took a stroll with a dear friend along some of the most beautiful and inspiring part of the American River as you could dream – The American River Confluence. It’s a spectacular area where the north and middle fork of the American Rivers meet and lies just south of Auburn at the intersection of Hwy 49 and Old Forest Hill Road. Right now the rivers are clear as a bell and roaring. In a few more months, when the snows melt, they will get muddy and violently turbulent for a short while. So this is a great time to explore and enjoy. I’ve been here before, many times in fact. But there was something in the air – a kind of soft, electric energy that was both relaxing and restorative at the same time. Just breathing made me feel giddy. I had this sudden vision of me leaping along the rocks wearing a tie-dye shirt and head band singing, “Come on people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try to love one another right now…” It was just that kind of day.

Everyone needs a day like this. Like defragging the hard drive and plugging into a recharger – cleansing and rejuvenating. So now’s your chance to get that energy back that you lost over the holidays. And it’s completely free. Totally fun. Involves no consumption of calories and in fact will burn a few more than just sitting on the couch. All my New Year’s Resolutions for this site have been met and exceeded. Now go out and celebrate your own inner hippie! I’m already planning my next trip…

Some notes if you go:

Saturday afternoon can get crowded, especially in the summer, and tends to get a bit rowdy though the Park Rangers try to keep a tight lid on things. I suggest getting out of bed early and hitting the site by 10 am.

Bring water – but please do not leave the bottles behind except in proper trash bins.

Please be kind and bring a plastic bag with you to pick up any trash. This is part of the State Park system and, once again, the Park Rangers work at keeping it a clean place. But they shouldn’t have to pick up after our lazy selves! I always bring a bag to carry out any trash i see. Share the beauty!

Wear sturdy shoes. There are no paved paths and some of the trails can be steep and crumbly. Take care where you step.

Paths on both sides of the Rivers are shared by hikers and bikers alike and the trails tend to be narrow. There are horse trails too. Check out this map before you go and keep alert while on the trail.

I have to mention PARC because they have so much great information and do so much to keep our rivers beautiful.  PARC is a grass-roots operation based out of Auburn whose prime purpose is to protect the north and middle forks of the American Rivers.  They have a festival once a year, organize river clean-ups, and provide educational presentations.  Check out their site and join!

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