Sunrise over Lower Red Rock Lake

Sunrise over Lower Red Rock Lake
Sunrise over Lower Red Rock Lake

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Exploring the Feather River Highway

I recently spent a day exploring about eighty miles of the Highway 70 between Oroville and Quincy. I had been up the road just a few miles to the first pair of railroad bridges. There were so many beautiful views of the valley and the Feather River. A railroad runs across the river from the road and both cross the river several times. So the railroad is usually in sight of the road and is another engineering feat. This road runs through the Plumas National Forest.


Dawn at the Blue Goose Inn

Map of Feather River Canyon


Spring's a comin'

I took a few jogs down side roads, either to try to get better views of the river or to find recreational areas.


View off a side road

The bridges on the road are famous as are the tunnels. What was amazing to me was that a biker or hiker can stop and push the appropriate button - they look like pedestrian street-crossing buttons - and then a flashing light comes on to warn that there is a pedestrian or biker inside the tunnel. And since there are different buttons, the warning must flash a pedestrian or bike icon. Should have tested this.


View of the Pulga and Tobin Briges

First Tunnel


Another tunnel

 I stopped many times to just  take in the awesome   scenes of rocks, river, and plants.


Hand?

White water

Rock carved by the river


Rock garden

A railroad runs across the river from the road and both cross the river several times. So the railroad is usually in sight of the road and is another engineering feat. In places it also goes through tunnels.  People are reported to be crazy enough to sit around and wait for a train to come through the tunnel.  I was NOT going to be one of those people.  So, after I took a picture of an empty tunnel and drove a few miles  further, I found an oncoming train and made a quick U-turn over a several hundred foot drop and raced back to get in place for the good picture. And I found another train barely moving up the mountain to a bridge and had to stop in the road and wait for that picture.  I  did put on my flashers, though. So, you can tell that I'll NEVER be one of those crazy train photographers.


Train and tunnel

Holding back the mountain from the railroad track

What I didn't take were pictures of the power houses along the river. Buck's Power House was my favorite but I was pretty turned off by the whole idea of making this river unavailable to paddlers.  But where the river was wild, it was way too low and small for even creek boats. Then when it was tamed with a dam, it was a small placid lake. But I found that, in summer, enough water is released that white water boaters can paddle some parts of this river.



It took me almost five hours to drive this stretch of Highwy 70.  I still have lots more pictures on my Webshots, including some of the town of Quincy.  That is a quirky and historic little town, well worth more time to visit it. But I got there late and hungry and used up the last bit of good light to eat.