~ Bakersfield, California ~

When I arrived in Bakersfield, I called Linda and she said to drive over to her house. There we had lunch and I met her granddaughter, Sherry's daughter, Savanah. Savanah is a miracle girl having survived leukemia for five years, so far. She and Savanah drove Budder and I to Linda's veterinarian. It turned out that he was fine with no serious problems. He's a good cat.
br>In the evening we all met up with Sherry and her husband, Martin, for dinner.

The next day Linda drove me up through Kern River Canyon to Lake Isabella. This route took us through a part of the Sequoia National Forest.

Also during my time in Bakersfield, I took Arvie to the Ford dealer to have the lights checked. My stay in Bakersfield was relaxing and I had a very good time. These are really good people.

Kern River Canyon

The beginning of Kern River Canyon

Kern River white water

The Kern River was flowing fast the day we were there. One would think it was made for white water rafting.
And there they were. Two rafts of people going down the wild waters of the Kern River and a follow up boat in case anyone fell out.

There is gold in the Kern River. That's the good thing. The bad thing is it's on federal property (Sequoia National Forest) and cannot be taken. The black circles in the right photo show where some of the flakes of gold are located in the photo. There was much more, but gold is heavier than the sand and therefore mostly under it.

Me standing in gold (photo by Linda)

Linda and I at Lake Isabella

Like most lakes in California, Lake Isabella is a man-made lake created through the damming of the upper Kern River

Freeman Creek Trail

The next day Linda and I went up to the Great Sequoia National Monument to hike up to the Needles Fire Lookout Tower, where the view at 8,245 feet would include Mount Whitney and much of the surrounding area of the Sierra Nevada. Sadly, three days before the lookout had burned due to a structure fire caused by an ember that had escaped the chimney of the tower's wood-burning fireplace. The trail was closed.
Not wanting to waste a day, Linda suggested we go to the Freeman Creek trail and walk part of that. And that we did.

Saw this array of mailboxes on the way

Needles Fire Lookout Trailhead

We couldn't go there

So we went here

What a nice, peaceful hike through the forest

Among the Giant Sequoias

I was photographing anything of interest with light, texture or color

These white flowers were all along the trail. I liked the way the sunlight jumped around in the photo on the right.

Freeman Creek

And the Sierra Nevadas

Hiking among the giants

More white flowers

Linda readies her camera

Another stalk of white flowers and more sunlight through the trees

Mountain meadows

One of the two small bridges we crossed over Freeman Creek; the creek on the right

A dead giant

More of those beautiful white wildflowers

Part of the Freeman Creek Trail

Interesting red bark tree

This waterfall was along the highway and I had to photograph it, so Linda stopped

Fort Tejon

On Saturday Linda, Sherry, Martin and I met for lunch and then headed up the Grapevine Canyon to Fort Tejon State Historic Park. This was to be my last day there and leaving friends, especially those whom one will most likely not see again, is always sad.
Prior to the establishment of Fort Tejon in 1854, this land was occupied by the Emigdiano Indians, an inland group of the coastal Chumash people. The fort was created to suppress the rustling of stock of local settlers and for "protection" and control of these Indians and other tribes in the San Joaquin Valley. The discovery of gold in 1849 had brought thousands of white people to California in the 1850s, which caused many problems for the native people.
With the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, the regular Army, First U.S. Dragoons, who built the fort and over 40 buildings here, were sent to guard Los Angeles during the war and the fort was manned by California volunteers. In 1864, the Indians were sent to the Tule Indian Reservation near the Sequoia National Monument. The fort closed that year.
And, now, they want to close it again. California has made the decision to close many of their State Parks in order to save money. Fort Tejon State Historical Park is one of those named for closing in July of 2012. There is a movement to try to save the Fort and the park.

On the right is what was once the Enlisted Barracks Building, which is now a gift shop, museum and as you will see the place where the employees of the park eat lunch.

Left is the Parade Grouds. Right is one room of the museum and dining room. Actually the guy in the white shirt with his back to the camera cooked the meal.

Park workers and some of the old equipment on display

Sabers sheathed

The kitchen where the meal was prepared

Explaining fort life in the 1850s

The cook stove

Martin in the background and the pork loin for lunch. If I still ate meat, I would probably have enjoyed some of that pork loin.

Officers Quarters
The Quartermaster Building
The Quartermaster Building was very interesting as it was like walking into an old hardware store, except for the cannon!

The Orderlies Quarters is falling down. It is the first building I have ever seen with flying buttresses inside and out. Several names have been carved into the adobe bricks inside.

On the right is the chicken coop complete with rooster and something they probably didn't have in the 1850s, chicken wire fencing to supplement the wooden fence.

Group photo

Checking Sherry's photos



Truly nice people

The jail, which had two cells about 3 feet by 6 feet by 8 feet high. The U.S. Army of the 1840s and 1850s treated its prisoners harshly. Jails provided little ventilation and no heat. Despite the jail's sturdy construction, many prisoners at Fort Tejon managed to escape at night. Well, who wouldn't want to escape that?
Linda, Sherry and Martin all got "in jail" photos taken.

Jail cell

The guard house

If there is moving water, I will find it
Guards served a 24 hour tour and had to remain in uniform throughout. Even when they slept on the wooden shelf.

Music is "Cavatina"

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