"Normal" Places We Go / Wild Places We Go

Highway 70 Road Trip Up Feather River Canyon…

During a recent visit to the Willow Glen, a wildlife photographer regaled us with tales of a trip up Highway 70 through the Feather River Canyon and up to Lake Almanor. I was hooked and almost immediately proposed pursuing this lead.

Our crew decided to take a break from the remodeling of the Ames estate (the reason for all of the shit in the background) and headed out:

team-assembly

Getting onto Highway 70 outside Oroville… Do your passing now:

highway-70-california

Because soon you get to this region and there exist few opportunities for passing:

highway-70-road-trip

Shortly, you get your first good views of the, unfortunately, heavily industrialized Feather River Canyon:

feather-river-canyon

That’s not to say that some of it doesn’t look cool:

pulga-bridges

And I am a big fan of trains (although not some Union Pacific employees, but that’s another story):

railroad-feather-river-canyon

scenic-route-highway-70

train-and-trestle-feather-river-canyon

PG&E has a significant number of hydroelectric facilities along the river. This elaborate water delivery system, crossing over several waterways and through several mountains, serves one of them:

pg&e-hydroelectric-system-feather-river

The canyon soon narrows down to sheer granite cliffs:

scenic-drive-highway-70

But don’t worry, a number of them are equipped with climbing bolts. I wish I’d brought my gear:

climbing-bolts-in-granite

The steep cliffs inspired a number of interesting engineering projects, such as this tunnel allowing a tributary of the Feather River through:

highway-70-road-trip

Or this tunnel (one of several) allowing us through:

highway-70-tunnel

Of course, the extreme landscape provides for attractive scenery:

feather-river-canyon-road-trip

And a number of interesting areas to explore such as these caves… Mining? Hydropower? Note the numerous holes drilled for blasting on the left side of the picture:

cave-feather-river-canyon

Despite the beauty of the surrounding mountains…

feather-river-road-trip

feather-river-scenic-drive

feather-river-canyon-drive

…And whitewater scenes such as this (Notice Brandon on the rocks for scale)…

whitewater-feather-river-canyon

…Something nagged at me throughout our trip… It was too many scenes like this:

pacific-gas-and-electric-feather-river

And this reservoir created by a PG&E hydroelectric facility:

pg&e-reservoir-feather-river

The North Fork of the Feather River felt harnessed and tamed. Emasculated:

highway-70-road-trip-up-feather-river-canyon

Despite many stops, it didn’t take us long to arrive in Quincy where we paused for lunch:

quincy-california

quincy-california

Back on the road, it wasn’t very long before an all too familiar sight filled the rearview mirror… Fortunately, Brandon’s military ID carried the day and we were let go with a warning. Brandon has been pulled over three times in the past month and a half and I have been pulled over twice. Number of tickets Brandon has received? Zero. Number of tickets I have received? Two.

california-highway-patrol-highway-89

Now on Highway 89, we pressed on with renewed urgency:

highway-89-california

highway-89-california

Speeding through the snowy forest:

highway-89-california

We made it to Sierra Valley in short order. There is far less snow this time than our previous visit here, but that did not prevent two of the routes we were going to take home from being closed due to high snow levels:

sierra-valley

We still found time to stop for interesting sites such as this abandoned sawmill:

abandoned-sawmill

abandoned-sawmill-california

sawmill

And these views of the Sierra Buttes:

sierra-buttes

sierra-buttes

Sierra City with a lot less snow this time:

sierra-city

A solid day, but I have to say that I prefer the more wild Yuba River…

2 thoughts on “Highway 70 Road Trip Up Feather River Canyon…

  1. Human beings like to destroy all the beautiful natural sites we have… Unfortunately short-term profit always comes first.

    By the way, it is always nice to enjoy the company of a soldier. :P

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