My Green Escape

(written September 16, 2008)

Greetings from Kaweah Cottage, our gorgeous green getaway in the rural Sierra Foothills outside of Sequoia National Park. After nine straight months of working and Greeniusing I needed a break and more importantly I needed to spend some time up in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

If I don’t get up to Sequoia, or Yosemite or Big Sur and into the forest at least once a year then I start to go a little squirrely and feel like my life has no real purpose or direction.  So I make it a point to get me to the woods whenever it’s been a little too long.

I’ll proudly cop to being a treehugger and tell you honestly that I’d rather hug a tree than hug most of the  people I meet out there who are far more useless than trees as they merely suck up oxygen and supply none. They typically supply nothing else worthwhile either…but let me not get myself all worked up, after all it’s that kind of real world news that I’m here to escape from.  Serenity now… Serenity now…

And what a perfect place to get back in touch with what really matters because it’s right outside the windows and all the doors of this classy, comfortable, creature comfort-filled cottage.  The entire 969 square foot house is the ideal chillaxing crib.  Gorgeous views out of every window and a kitchen and bathroom far better appointed and elegantly laid out then ours at home.  And then there’s the wood deck which wraps around three sides of the house and offers unique views from all sides.

We’re just a fifteen to twenty minute slow drive down to the Three Rivers General Store and maybe we’ll get there tomorrow.  But today, our first full day here at the Shangri La homestead as the property is aptly named, it’s our lazy, lounge filled-day with listening to music from my well stocked i-Pod connected to my Tivoli PAL radio, reading novels and magazines and snacking our only priorities.

Since it’s my birthday week, the snacking is focused on my favorites and quite clearly a mandatory activity.  I’ll get back on the bike when I get home, and besides I’m sure to be hiking all over these beautiful hills and trails during our five days here.  But not today.  Besides it’s too hot out.  After all, we’re from the beach.

I have to admit that I wasn’t looking for a green built home to rent when I first decided to find us a place in Three Rivers for a Sequoia National Park visit, but as soon as I found out about the care the Kaweah Cottage was built with I was hooked.  And finding out that it was on a private 62 acre nature preserve sounded like exactly the kind of peace and quiet a guy like me, who lives across the street from the Loud Family, craves.

I liked the idea of this two-bedroom house with its double-paned windows, nontoxic cotton insulation, energy-efficient appliances, formaldehyde-free plywood and American clay interior walls (instead of paint).  Sustainably harvested wood was used for most of it. The building debris was recycled during construction in 2006.  Best of all the simple lines and design inside and out are most pleasing to the eye indeed.

Yesterday, when we got here – after a surprisingly short three-and-a-half hour drive – and after following the super secret directions that I will never reveal to anyone else – we met James and Kathleen Seligman the owners and our hosts and I dug them both right away.

They were immediately warm and friendly and their  hospitality  charmed us and put us in the right relaxed mood to start with.

James in particular had a sparkle in his eye as he invited us to take advantage of the full moon that night and join him for a moonlit hike and a unique nighttime view of his property.

But we couldn’t wait for that long and after unloading the car and letting the sun go down a bit to cool things off we were knocking on James’ door and he was showing us the land he owns but feels more of a caretaker of.  It was clear after just a few minutes talking with him that the respectful relationship he and Kathleen have with their land is a rare and beautiful thing.

The South Fork of the Kaweah river was waiting just yards away and James took us down the short trail that led us down to the smooth rock landscape that were exposed during this dry summer.

There was only a small stream of the South Fork here in the waning months of the season, but it made for cool terrain to hike and explore.

James talked of when the river is full and flowing and the tubing and kayaking and swimming that is enjoyed by all who live along it.

Like all of us down in Southern California there’s a drought up here too.

But the manzanitas don’t seem to mind and we saw beautiful specimens along tails above the river.

James also pointed out the rocks boulders and bits of redwood trees carried down onto the property from a long ago avalanche that changed the terrain when it happened.

Along the way we met the two horses James and Kathleen owned and toured the pastures and land they spend their time on.

Pretty much a perfect day.  I’m looking forward to tomorrow when we’re headed for the Park.

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One thought on “My Green Escape

  1. As always, beautifully written and just enough detail for me to picture myself enjoying such a place. I truly appreciate the joys of one’s own surroundings and cherishing it’s existence. Thanks for sharing, Joe!

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