STORIES OF GOLD once drew hordes of prospectors to the Sierras, drawn by fantastic stories of lakes lined with gold and "ripe for the picking." Unfortunately this wasn't the case for most of the early settlers -- it took hard work to extract the precious metal from the ground and many fortune-seekers returned from the mountains broke, disappointed, and discouraged.
In reality the lakes were lined with trees -- not gold -- which remain to the present day so we might discover their real value: the natural beauty that beckons us to make our own personal discoveries.
For us the true gems are discovering golden moments to enjoy the mountain meadows filled with vibrant grasses and flowers that capture the clear bright alpine light.
And If we're fortunate, we might have a chance encounter with the local wildlife who make this secluded mountain retreat their home. It's a rare opportunity when we discover and can enjoy one of nature's creatures in their natural environment.
Sometimes the simple challenge of crossing a stream on a makeshift log bridge will transform a typical hike into a joyful adventure, reminiscent of our childhood days. Conjuring up all our concentration, courage, and balance we cross over this natural barrier to explore deeper into the woods.
The most exciting discoveries might involve following a trail to see if it really reaches the sky, and finding marvelous vistas beyond the crest. Another valley to explore. Another mountain to climb. Another opportunity to extract special "golden memories" from this splendid countryside.
Another reason to return to discover what lies beyond...