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Taking the time to see old sights with new eyes

The Chester Progressive of Chester, California

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My Turn

I spent two days last week being tour guide for my cousins visiting from Florida and found myself as much of a starry-eyed tourist as they were!

I encourage you to tour your favorite Plumas County spots and look with new eyes — not taking for granted the wildly scenic place in which we live. If you find yourself caught in the day-to-day toil as I did when I lived here before, keep reading and I will take you along for our tour.

WOW, EASTERN PLUMAS COUNTY you are beautiful and amazing!

We had two days of jam-packed sights and entertainment that started with a visit to Plumas Eureka State Park.

I was fortunate enough to meet briefly with PESPA Vice President Tim Hardie and get brought up to date on the 10 years I missed and the events of this summer.

My family headed over to watch a couple of my favorite guys in the Blacksmith Shop. (Thank you Dennis Black and John Work for the great presentation that kept them busy and entertained while I did a bit of "work.")

We then headed over to the Assay Office where Fred Seifert gave us a detailed accounting of how the miners found out what the bag of quartz they mined was worth. I never realized what a sophisticated scientific process was followed back then. Again — amazing.

We walked around the grounds reading the signs and learning more until we concluded the self guided tour in the museum.

As we headed out, I saw Ranger Pat

O'Reilly and was reminded that Mr Hardie had been bragging about the musical skills offered in the camp fire program at the park.

O'Reilly hustled away and came back with a mandolin, a washboard, and a washtub string base. He took the mandolin and my cousins took up the other instruments and a down home jam session got underway.

Hardie wasn't bragging, this guy has some entertainment talents! He also has the gift of indirect persuasion as the teenager in our group took a turn at each of the instruments.

As we bid farewell to our living history morning, we made a quick stop at Jamison Falls to gaze into the clearest of blue waters that I don't think I have seen anywhere in the world. How lovely.

From there we headed down to Graeagle and I did my best to give them the history as we paused at the Mill Pond for a moment before heading up to Lakes Basin.

The first stop in Lakes Basin was Gold Lake. We talked of my old adventures at Gold Lake Recalling a particularly fond memory of accompanying my husband, then football coach, on his annual camping trip with the PHS football team. The fun of careening around the lake on water skis behind a boat that recklessly changed speeds from 5 to 25 back to 5 mph again depending on how fast the football player could hand pump the fuel pump. Ahh those were the days.

We headed from there to Salmon Lake where we began to really glimpse the rocky spectacles offered by the Buttes.

I shared with them the stories of the many guest lodges among these scenic lakes.

We left Salmon and headed over to Packer giving the Florida flatlanders the full effect of the jagged rocky sight!

I think I stood for several silent moments in awe at the rugged beauty. I have not witnessed such remarkable contrast since I left this lovely place 11 years ago. They too were in awe and out of breath; both the beauty and the altitude.

Our last stop on the Lakes Basin tour was Sand Pond.

As we arrived, we ran across two of my most favorite people and, following introductions, we located a table and settled in for a picnic lunch. (Again it's good to be home where familiar faces are all around you).

While we watched toddlers splash in the shallow warm water, I shared stories of the many days spent in "play dates" with our circle of friends and their toddlers now teenagers. How lovely the setting of mountains, pines, willows, rocks, water, wildlife and smiles.

Countless times throughout the day my cousins expressed their love of the cool breeze, the sound the wind made in the trees, the fresh clean air that smelled so different from the warm gulf breeze they have at their home. The aroma of trees, the bright blue sky, the emerald green water Details that, in the past, were lost on the everyday life of a local, I noticed this time.

The day ended with a visit to Nakoma and the story of the hidden design gem left by Frank Lloyd Wright. Right here at home perched on a mountaintop surrounded by lush golfing greens in all its glory as the sun dipped into the Sierras.

Their departure day began by starting out with an ATV ride to a destination high above Portola. The views from a mountaintop create memories to last a lifetime.

Our last local stop was the Western Pacific Railroad Museum in Portola.

My cousins had heard about the museum while in San Francisco earlier in the week.

The improvements since my last visit were staggering. The museum was bright, clean, and full of equipment. The grounds outside were the same; clean walkways, several engines, cars, and cabooses.

If you haven't toured our lovely county lately, take a day or two and see those old sights with new eyes. It's good to be reminded of how lucky we are to live in a place that others visit for vacation.

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Original Publication Date: August 12, 2015

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