Tag Archives: Tulare County

National Olive Day


According to the National Day Calendar website, June 1 is National Olive Day. The website says,

Divina founded National Olive Day in 2015 as a way to share the culinary history and traditions of this amazing food.

When I worked in California, I saw lots of olive groves when I came down from the mountain. I even saw a giant olive sitting in a parking lot.

That olive is the world’s largest, and it sits in Lindsay, California. According to the Weird California website, there are two giant olives in California. The one pictured above is a black olive. Weird California says,

It was originally outside the Lindsay Company’s plant in town, but when the plant unfortunately closed, it was moved outside what was, at the time, fittingly, the Olive Tree Inn…The Olive Tree Inn, however, is now a Super 8 Motel. It is not too far from the junctions of Highways 137 and 65. It is located in the motel parking lot, sitting proudly on a pedestal. It is made of concrete..

From the October 2013 article “Growing Olives – Information” by Richard Molinar UC Cooperative Extension Fresno, retired, I learned

California is the only state in the nation producing a commercially significant crop of olives. Approximately 70 to 80 percent of the ripe olives consumed in the United States come from California…The top olive-producing counties in California are Tulare, Tehama and Glenn counties.

A-ha! Guess what! Lindsay, CA is in Tulare County. It makes sense that Tulare County would be the home of the world’s largest olive.

Have you ever wondered if an olive is a fruit or a vegetable? An article by Caroline Picard for Good Housekeeping answers that questions. Olives are

… technically fruits.

The stones inside [olives] act as the seeds for the Olea europaea tree. In any botanist’s book that means they’re technically classified as fruits — specifically a kind called drupes, a.k.a. stone fruits. This category also includes sweeter produce like mango, dates, apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, and plums..

You may also be wondering if olives are a healthy food choice. According to the article “Olives 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits” by Adda Bjarnadottir, MS, RDN (Ice) on the Healthline website,

Olives are a good source of vitamin E, iron, copper, and calcium…Olives are particularly rich in antioxidants, including oleuropein, hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol, oleanolic acid, and quercetin…that may contribute to a variety of benefits, such as lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

While olives do seem to be good for most people, you probably don’t want to eat them right off the tree. According to the Olive FAQ on the DeLallo website

While olives are edible straight from the tree, they are intensely bitter. Olives contain oleuropein and phenolic compounds, which must be removed or, at least, reduced to make the olive palatable…There are a number of ways that an olive can be “cured,” though it is more like a fermentation process…[Olives are] cured in one of four different ways: natural brine, lye, salt or air curing.

One type of olive I would not celebrate National Olive Day with are these Pearls Olives to Go! taco flavored ones. They were given to me by an acquaintance who’d gotten then at a food bank. He wouldn’t even try them. The Man wouldn’t try them either. I’ll try most any food once, so I opened the package and popped one of these olives into my mouth. How bad could they be?

The package contained some of the nastiest food stuff I have ever consumed. I ate one. It was so bad I ate another a little while later to make sure it really was as bad as I remembered. It was. I threw them away. I don’t throw away unspoiled food, but I couldn’t figure out how to disguise the unpleasantness of an olive saturated with fake taco flavor.

I hope you find some delicious olives to enjoy while you celebrate National Olive Day 2020!

I took the photos in this post.

Nobe Young Waterfall


Nobe Young waterfall is tucked away off the Western Divide Highway (also known as Mountain 107) in Tulare County, California. It shows up on maps of the area, but there’s no sign marking its location. If you want to see it, you might need to ask a local, or you can use this blog post to find your way.

Who was Nobe Young and why is there a creek and waterfall named after him? I have no idea on either count. When I did a Google search, I found no information online about Nobe Young the person. I’m not even sure how to say the first part of the name. Some locals rhyme it with “probe,” while others rhyme it with “adobe.” I don’t know who’s correct.

From the junction of Mountain 50 and the Western Divide Highway, turn left toward the Trail of 100 Giants. Pass the trail’s entrance and the nearby campgrounds. About three miles after the trailhead, look for three tires placed as a landmark in a big turnout on the right side of the road. The tires are immediately before an unmarked road to Last Chance Meadow. (This unmarked road is a shortcut to Lloyd Meadow Road.) From the turnout with the tires, go 9/10 of a mile. Look for another big turn out with boulders to the right and a big log well to the left. Just beyond the middle of the turnout, the land rises in a gentle slope. Park in this big turnout.

Walk to the left, toward the big log and find the trail. Walk 10 or 15 minutes on the trail. The first part of the hike is flat and easy, but the downhill part of the trail is somewhat steep. When I visited, I was glad The Man had reminded me to carry my walking stick. I was also glad for my closed-toe Keens. I wouldn’t want to walk that trail while wearing flip flops.

(Wondering if a walking stick or staff or trekking poles could help you on your next hike? Unsure of how to choose what will work best for you? Check out “Montem Outdoor Gear’s Guide on How to Choose and Use Trekking Poles and Walking Staffs.”)

Very soon after we started out on the hike, I thought I heard the sound of water flowing. The Man contended we were hearing the sound of wind through the pines. I’m not sure who was right. Maybe we were hearing a combination of wind and water.

Seeing the waterfall was worth the hike, even the steep part. The drop in temperature was delightful, as was the moisture in the air. The Man called the falls “Native American air conditioning.” The falls were lovely, with water cascading down boulders at different levels. Bright green grass grew at the base of some of the rocks, and the water splashed as it fell.

I’ve heard it’s possible to walk behind the waterfall; there’s talk of a cave back there too. I didn’t try any fancy exploring. I did climb up onto one of the huge boulders in front of the falls for a photo opportunity and found the wet rock rather slippery. I’m in big trouble if I break a bone or hurt myself in some way that makes working for money impossible, so I carefully got off the boulder and stayed off the treacherous wet rocks.

We followed the water down the rocks to a small pool. The water in the pool wasn’t deep enough to swim in or even for an adult to submerge in, but it was plenty deep enough for wading. The Man and I took off our shoes and socks and stood in the pool. Yowza! The water was cold (although not as cold as the water in the Rio Hondo earlier in the year). I’d joked about taking off all my clothes and lying down in the water, but I wasn’t nearly hot enough to do such a thing.

We’d come down, so we knew we’d have to climb back up. After our feet dried, we put on our socks and shoes and started up the trail. I was really glad for my walking stick on the way up. I struggled a couple of times, but I made it safely back to the van with no injuries.

It was a wonderful afternoon of exploration. With a picnic lunch, I could have spent half a day out there, but it’s also possible to make it a quick half hour or 45 minute trip.

I made a short video of the falls, which I like because it lets me see and hear the water splashing down the rocks. The sound of water flowing is so comforting to me. I wish I could sleep next to Nobe Young waterfall (or at least the sound of it) every night.

I took all the photos in this post and made the video too.

This post contains a sponsored link.

The Stagg Tree



According to Wikipedia, the Stagg Tree is the fifth largest giant sequoia in the world. It is the largest giant sequoia in the Sequoia National Monument within the Sequoia National Forest, and the largest giant sequoia outside the Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks.

img_6582The tree’s Wikipedia entry says the Stagg Tree is located

in Alder Creek Grove in California‘s Sierra Nevada mountains.

The tree is NOT in Deer Creek Grove, as was stated on another website I looked at. (I have visited both the Stagg Tree and Deer Creek Grove, and they are nowhere near each other. They are over 40 miles apart!)

According to the tree’s Wikipedia page, the tree was first called the Day Tree, presumably in honor of “L. Day” who

noticed the tree in 1931 and, with help from two others, made measurements of it in 1932.

In 1960 the tree was renamed in honor of

Amos Alonzo Stagg (1862-1965), a pioneering football coach at the University of Chicago who spent much of the last several decades of his life coaching in Stockton in the nearby San Joaquin Valley.

The Wikipedia page also says img_6584

Wendell Flint, the author (with photographer Mike Law) of To Find the Biggest Tree, measured it in 1977 as follows:

Metres Feet
Height above base 74.1 243.0
Circumference at ground 33.3 109.0
Diameter 1.5 m above base 7.05 22.9
Diameter 18 m (60′) above base 5.6 18.2
Diameter 55 m (180′) above base 3.8 12.5
Estimated bole volume (m³.ft³) 1,205.0 42,557.0

Presumably the tree has grown in the last forty years and is even larger than these statistics indicate.

The Stagg Tree grows on private land, but when I visited in the summer of 2016, the tree was accessible to the public.

The tree can be reached from Highway 190, which passes through Camp Nelson, CA and on to the small community of Ponderosa. (Another website I looked at says some navigation systems suggest accessing the tree by turning onto Wishon Drive [County Road 208] toward Camp Wishon. Apparently the road suggested is unpaved and closed in winter. This route is probably not a good idea for most cars.)

From Highway 190, turn onto Redwood Drive. (Redwood Drive is only on one side of the road, so you don’t need to know if you are turning left of right. Simply turn onto the road, which Google Maps also labels as 216.) When you get to the first fork in the road, stay left. At the second fork in the road, stay right to stay on Redwood Drive. At the third fork, stay left to stay on Redwood Drive. (If you take the right fork, you will be on Chinquapin Drive and you will be lost! If you do get lost, ask anyone walking around how to get to the Stagg Tree. The locals know how to get there.) I believe there is a sign pointing in the direction of the Stagg Tree at img_6598the last fork in the road.

If I remember correctly, the pavement ends before the parking area. Keep driving on the dirt road until you img_6597see the sign that says you’ve reached the parking area for the Stagg Tree hike. After you’ve parked, you have to cross a gate to start the hike to the tree. The gate may be closed and locked, but unless new signs say otherwise, it is ok to cross the gate on foot and walk to the Stagg Tree.

There are several signs along the path marking the way to the Stagg Tree.

The walk to the tree is fairly easy. It is not wheelchair or stroller accessible, but healthy folks with no mobility issues should be able to get there and back with no problem. The path is fairly flat until the last fork to the left . The path that branches off from the last fork is a bit steep (downhill to get to the tree, and uphill to get back.) Again, folks with no mobility or health issues should be able to make it to the Stagg Tree and back with a minimum of stress.

img_6587The Stagg Tree is not a heavily visited area. When I visited, I was the only person there. As I was walking toward the tree, another group was leaving, and as I left, another group was arriving, but I got the Stagg Tree all to myself for at least thirty minutes.

I’m not sure why the tree is less visited than other attractions in the area. Maybe drivers are leery of making a drive taking them so far off the main highway. Maybe most tourists who aren’t big into hiking are hesitant to go on a infrequently populated, unpaved, slightly steep trail. Maybe folks who are regular hikers think the short, easy hike to the Stagg Tree is beneath them.

In any case, I enjoyed my time alone with the Stagg Tree. It’s a great tree to visit to get away from the crowds and experience the sites and sounds of nature. Its size is quite impressive, and it’s fun to tell friends about seeing one of the largest creatures on the planet.

I took all of the photos in this post. The Stagg Tree is the giant sequoia in all of the photos.


California Hot Springs


California Hot Springs is both a census-designated place (population 97 as of 2014, according to http://www.bestplaces.net/city/california/california_hot_springs) in Tulare County and a “resort” located in that small community. At the resort on Mountain Road 56, one can soak in soothing, odorless hot mineral water.

According to the history page of the resort’s website (http://www.cahotsprings.com/history.html,)

350,000 gallons of water at 125 degrees Fahrenheit, flow from the rock cliffs of California Hot Springs each day.  Its characteristics of remarkable softness, very-low sodium, lack of odor, unique purity, and refreshing taste; set this spring water apart from all others.

(The questionable punctuation in the above paragraph is copied directly from the website.)

The history page traces the use of the hot springs to the “native Yokuts” who “channeled the hot spring water into hollowed-out logs,” then soaked in the water-filled log tubs.

Development of California Hot Springs started in 1882 by Henry Witt and by 1902 a large hotel was under construction. In 1920 a commercial center, swimming pool, and therapeutic center were constructed. The landmark California Hot Springs recreation hall was built in 1926 and dedicated in May of 1927.
Fire destroyed the hotel in 1932 and the commercial center in 1968. The facility was then abandoned for the next 16 years.  Restoration began by Ronald and Mary Gilbert in 1983 and the facilities were reopened in 1985.

The California Hot Springs Resort offers two in-ground pools for soaking. These pools offer very hot, bubbling water, and are each big enough for four to six people to soak in at one time. The resort also pumps hot mineral water into the swimming pool. The hot mineral water is mixed with cooler water to maintain a warm temperature in the pool.

Of all the places I’ve soaked (12 in four states, both natural and developed), California Hot Springs Resort is probably my least favorite, for several reasons.

#1 For a resort, California Hot Springs is kind of shabby. In my imagination, a resort is a fancy place. However, the Google definition (https://www.google.com/search?q=resort+definition&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8) of “resort” is

a place that is a popular destination for vacations or recreation, or which is frequented for a particular purpose[,]

which I suppose does describe California Hot Springs. In any case, the women’s locker room looks more like “junior high gym class” than “relaxing get-away.” It’s not dirty so much as old, with humidity-warped benches, showers partitioned by not-quite-big-enough curtains, and a toilet that wobbled when I sat on it. The pool area is better, but not pretty or charming.

#2 California Hot Spring Resort doesn’t open until 9am. Even at an elevation of 3,700 feet, in the summer it’s warm at 9am. By 10am, it’s very warm. By 11am, I felt like a lobster boiling in a pot and not longer wanted to soak in 100+ degree water.

California Hot Springs charges admission by the day. At $12 for a pool and spa day pass, I wanted to get more than two hours for my money.

I suppose I could have dipped into the swimming pool to cool off, although the hot water/cold water back and forth is not something I enjoy. (My dad always preached against shocking one’s system, and I guess at least one of his  ideas did sink into my brain.) I could have also sat in the snack bar area or hung out in my van for a while, but I also don’t like hanging around in a wet swimsuit. (I guess I’m just picky.) Even if I’d cooled off, I knew I wouldn’t enjoy the hot water again until at least a couple hours after dark, long after the resort was closed at 5pm.

What I really wanted was to soak around seven in the morning, when the air was cool, and slipping into hot water would be welcome warmth. I prefer to soak in hot springs when “steam” (actually “water vapor condensing into small water droplets which scatter the light giving them their cloud like appearance,” I just learned at https://www.reddit.com/r/askscience/comments/2eg4e2/why_does_steam_sometimes_rise_from_cold_water/) is rising from the pool.

#3 The two bubbling hot tubs are outside, next to the swimming pool, entirely public and communal. “Public and communal” means swimsuits are required. I hate swimsuits. I hate the way I look wearing even a black one-piece (although my method for wearing one has been the same for years: put it on and don’t look down.) I also hate the way the wet fabric feels when it clings to me. Yuck!

“Public and communal” tends to lead to chatty people in the pool with me. I hate it when I’m soaking, trying to relax and loose myself, and other people in the pool are babbling about inane topics.

If I’m soaking, I want to be alone, which guarantees nakedness and quiet. If I can’t be along, I’d at least like to be soaking for free on public land with other naked people who will maybe keep quiet or maybe have something interesting to say.

#4 I didn’t know how clean the tubs were. I didn’t even ask how often the tubs are drained and scrubbed or if anything is added to the water to kill germs. Some things I think I don’t really want to know, especially if I am bound and determined to soak.

The best part of the California Hot Springs Resort was the breakfast I ate at the “full service delicatessen” in the main building. It was a basic breakfast of scrambled eggs, toast, and hash browns, but true to the raves of a local, the cook grated fresh potatoes for the hash browns. Yum! I think the meal cost me $6. In addition to breakfast, the delicatessen serves sandwiches and ice cream.

While I wouldn’t urge anyone to visit the California Hot Springs Resort, and I wouldn’t go out of my way to soak there again, for anyone in the area who really needs to spend some time in hot mineral water, California Hot Springs will do.