A Weekend at Murphys in the Southern Gold Country
April 23-26, 1999 -- Part 1

(Posted May 3, 1999)

Following our Spring custom of many years, we met with Val and Sandy Watson for a weekend in the Southern Gold Country. This year we stayed at the Rose Bud Inn in Murphys. It was a nice place but not up to what we expected. We had reserved the Garden Suite months in advance, because it had two bedrooms, baths, and a kitchen/living room. When we arrived we found that the rooms had unexciting views and were poorly furnished with sagging beds and no cloths bureaus. The previous night Val and Sandy had come early and stayed at Dunbar House in a large cheery room with a balcony overlooking a beautiful garden and the town's park. On our final day we made reservations for the four of us to stay at Dunbar House, same time next year.

We arrived Friday afternoon, April 23rd, but at 4:30 were too late to join Val and Sandy, who were touring the Ironstone Winery about a mile east of town. We were a bit late because I had taken a "short cut" which started beautifully but ended being an unimproved dirt road (San Domingo) that wound through the beautiful countryside. I couldn't enjoy the views because I was too busy avoiding (well, trying to avoid) ruts and bumps as we bounced along at 5 to 10 mph. Mary was too worried we'd get stuck in this nowhere land to enjoy any views. I had fun at her expense, and vice versa in spades.

Val and Sandy map out our next day in the Murphys area.

Sandy and Mary have evening wine in the Rose Bud Inn main living room.

Val and Herb enjoy some wine too.

Saturday morning before breakfast Mary and I wandered the town. Almost directly across Main Street from the Rose Bud is the small park in Murphys, with a river running through it. Several men were fishing as we arrived, and had each caught several fish. I took the picture below while standing near the bridge where two of the men were fishing. The bridge is at my back.
Mary near park, with Murphys Hotel in background.

Enjoying coffee after breakfast at Rose Bud Inn.

After breakfast we drove to Calaveras Big Trees State Park, just above Arnold on Route 4. Val had picked the Lava Bluff Trail as a moderate 2.5-mile hike that we could enjoy. It was beautiful but we were a bit early for spring flowers at this altitude (just under 4000 feet). There was lots of up and down, so I was huffing and puffing.
Val, Mary and Sandy near the Lava Bluff trailhead.

Mary and Herb at same spot.
Val almost missed us, but electronic cropping helped..

We saw the lava bluffs looming above us near the far point of the loop trail, but the high point for us was a series of small waterfalls on the way back to the trailhead and parking lot. Both Val and I took pictures of the falls, but none was worthy of showing here -- the falls were too small to stand out among the trees and grass. But we did stop to take a few pictures of us.
Sandy and Val near the waterfalls.

Herb and Mary relax at top of falls.
Note the pen, pencil, and note pad in Herb's pocket!

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