Sunday, April 3, 2011

Wild Spring in Copperopolis

After a wonderful week working at the SF Flower & Garden Show, I went for a little R&R in a less accustomed direction (like, AWAY from the ocean). I needed a simpler, wilder landscape to rest my mind in for a bit, and I found it in Copperopolis.   (click any photo to enlarge)

Cool name, huh? The locals call it Copper. It shouldn't come as much of a surprise that this little corner of Gold Country was actually known for its thriving copper mines. Copperopolis was founded in 1860 and produced copper from the Civil War to World War II (the town boomed during wartimes due to the demand for munitions).

The mines closed in 1946, and this sleepy community tucked into gently curving oak woodlands two hours east of San Francisco is now largely a vacation/resort town for nearby Lake Tulloch; bustling in the summer, somewhat deserted in winter.

This is a fleeting season in the Sierra foothills, before the fresh greens of early spring turn to the dry golds of a hot summer. It is my favorite time, with all the promise of the season to come.

Two of my favorite things about this area are the fantastic rocks and the wonderful trees. Here fantastic meets wonderful in an interesting (if slightly disturbing) way.

Just your plain old everyday outcropping next to the driveway...

Well, hello little fella!

The view from the deck. Now, before you snort, that's NOT an overwatered fairway below. It's actually the aeration ponds and spray dispersal system used by the Copper Cove Water Treatment Plant (there are fairways nearby, though). As nice as any lake view, I think!

It was glorious to soak up the sun under broad, blue skies after a long, rainy winter. It felt just how this oak tree looks.

All lit up from inside.

Sun's going down...

More tomorrow!

Out for a morning walk to the lake; nice view of the distant Sierras near Yosemite National Park.

 I heart rocks!

Two undeveloped lots west of Lake Tulloch. Guess someone's been hitting the Round-Up pretty hard...

Well, hello deer!

Oak blossom.

Around the lake, the view is everything. And with many houses tucked together on narrow, sloping lots you need to get creative with space. I liked how this homeowner has turned a spot at the end of the driveway into an airy retreat for outdoor cooking and watching the boats go by...the fan and curtains are a nice touch!

 The colors of a California spring...

Back at the house I was reminded how much wild creatures enjoy a really good brush pile, like this cute yellow-rumped Warbler.

And this Western Bluebird.

And, another sunset means my short vacation is over. Time to go home. Thanks for joining me on another California adventure!


  1. Thanks for the tour! I feel all relaxed now, myself. Different flora from my end of the Gold Country at 2900'.

  2. Laura, you're getting close to my territory here. Copperopolis and lake Tulloch is how we go when we head to Sacramento. It's a favorite back road way.

    The rocks fascinated us, so I emailed a Professor at Fresno State and he says they are called Tombstone slate because many stick upright out of the ground.

    It's a good time to visit the foothills when everything is green and leafing out. Loved your post!

  3. Thanks, ladies! Sue, perhaps you can tell me what are those beautiful blue-gray pines that grow around the lake? With the long needles?

  4. Thank you for your wonderful words and pictures from Copperopolis. I live there and love it.

  5. We recently moved to Copperopolis and also enjoy the trees, rocks and wildlife. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Cute western bluebird. And everything here seems so green.

    What a nice little retreat. Looks like you enjoyed yourself thoroughly. :D

  7. Its such a treat to see Copper through your eyes Laura!
    There are some of us who walk right past the beauty that you capture with your lens.

    Thank you for pointing it out to me. =0)

  8. These pictures are awesome, and so is your writing! I love the name Copperopolis, sounds like a fun town. That might have to do with how much I like copper art though!