Everyone should have a few favorite places they go. We know "God is everywhere," but it sure seems He's certain places more than others - like He's in certain songs more than others.
This post is about one of my favorite places. If that interests you, read on. If not, sit tight, and I'll have another philosophical humdinger coming down the pipe before too long.
The Lewis Creek trail, located between Oakhurst and Fish Camp, parallels the East side of CA 41 for about 2-1/2 miles. (Technically, the trail is several miles longer; this is just the top portion, which happens to be the smoothest and most inviting.) The trail begins in a generously sized turnout, dances through the woods, and ends on the road leading to Sugar Pine Christian Camp.
This area - around 4000 feet - marks the convergence of two lovely ecological themes; the twisted oaks, sand, and bold sun of the lower elevations, and the pine breeze, benevolent shade, and "foresty-ness" of the higher. It is everything a forest trail ought to be, complete with unidentified scurrying rodents, plenty of old, weary logs, plenty of green stuff, and even a few quaint bridges to cross you over the trickling tributaries. It is the incarnation of the paradise portrayed in those glorious picture books you redd when you were 6 and untroubled about whether the squirrels really talk to the deer or not.
I will not go so far as to say the place is enchanted, but it is something more than merely idyllic. Or perhaps it is only that people tend to use idyllic too freely - for instance, when they simply ought to say nice.
Since I am afflicted with a certain cruel brand of masochism such that I am never truly enjoying myself unless I am in some kind of pain, I will generally run or bike the trail rather than simply walk it. Of course, this could also be due to the fact that I am generally alone, and for some reason it usually seems silly to walk alone.
Lately I have been taking the bike, sliding it into the not-too-ample bed of the Ranger and sharply turning the wheel just so, in order to close the tailgate. I wear a helmet, more to appear like I know what I'm doing than for anything else. (I'm a cautious, dainty rider, so I'm rarely in need of such desperate protection.)
The trail is "single-track," mountain-biker lingo meaning just wide enough for a blueberry pancake rolling on end. It may seem strange, but this very lack of spaciousness only adds to the magic and excitement of the place. Leafy branches lean out from the sides, not as hostile defenders attempting to impede your passage, but more like cheering fans lined up to give you high-fives. Every turn is abrupt and unknown. It's a mini-adventure every time.
Come by sometime and I'll show you around. Maybe we could even go for a walk.