Drive the feather river canyon national scenic byway

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Cory Waters's Goal

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The Feather river national scenic byway is a highway that follows the Feather river. We planned our drive for the fall so that we could see the splashes of yellows, oranges, and reds that dot the ever endless back drop of the conifers. Early in the morning we were in the car; the starting point, our sleepy town of Bangor. From there we went down to the farmlands and rolling grass lands for the cattle. Once at the feather river the route was officially on. The first leg of the journey is from Oroville to Quincy. The highway gives you a birds eye view of the river at times, to almost at eye level with it. As you go deeper through the canyon, you can see trains hauling freight; clutching close the the side of the mountains. Numerous powerhouses are harnessing energy from the river along the way as well. We stopped frequently for photo oppertunities, and you get a feel of the history. From the time of the Maidu, to the engineering of man all the way to the current time. We passed through small towns like Belden and Paxton, with a population of a couple dozen between them. Once we got to Quincy, we had a picinic and then began the second leg of the journey. The official route takes you through Portola, and then down around highway 49. The route we decided to take was more of a direct and sceinc route for us. We took Quin-La Porte highway, which is a road that climbs up 6,000 feet in elevation, and goes right through the middle of the Plumas national forest ( over 1,000,000 acres of deep forest). Being from the area, I know that once the first good snow hits, there is a gate in the town of La Porte that is closed, and access north of it is cut off for the rest of the rain season. At this point it was the first rain so it was a gamble. When on the road winding through the forest, watching the vein of the river get smaller and smaller as you climb in elevation and feeling like the cedars and firs are quickly engulfing you. You get this feeling of complete iscolation, no vehicles in sight, coming from either direction. It's a sweet and sour mixture. Once around a bend and almost to the top, we hit about two feet of snow. It looked as if it had been plowed, but a steady layer falling was putting a nice blanket down on top of the road.  In order to get to La Porte you have to first go through Gibsonville, with a population of zero. After that is the town of Little Grass Valley, with a population of two (props to those two people in the winter for being able to put pants on with balls that big). At a rate of about ten miles per hour we made it to La Porte, which is sleeping after the first big rain and logging is no longer going on for the rest of the season. We ended our journey back to our small town of Bangor. If in the northern California area, and looking for a road trip off the grid, i definetly recommend it. Just do it well before the first rain 

 


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