Category Archives: The Lost Road

The Return of “The Lost Road”


Join our large (and growing) community of food-lovers on Facebook. We are regularly inspired by members of this positive community. Come be inspired too.

Back in the fall of 2009 one the coolest things happened to us here on the property: We discovered a road that probably had not seen human traffic in 70 years. We called it “The Lost Road” and had a great time inviting friends to see it, marveling at how scary it was, and cleaning it.

Never has so much fun been had over what is a fairly small patch of dirt.

Set back by illness and by a toddler who could get really lost on The Lost Road, our Lost Road explorations came to a halt sometime in 2010, much to my chagrin. (We had so much fun.) The road is seasonal to start. Friends have visited in the summer ready for a hike on the famous-to-some road only to change their minds when they realized the path was populated by poison oak and snakes. Poison oak is dormant in the winter and yet still carries a bite, but somehow not actually being able to see the leaves makes the hike a bit more enjoyable (though perhaps more risky if you don’t have a good eye for bare red sticks).

In any case, the cold months here are the months of The Lost Road. Its time has come again.

In a fun “coming of age” moment, I sat the former-toddler-turned-preschooler down with his Lost Road-experienced brother and we read the old posts about our adventures. I deemed Alastair old enough to join us if he could follow instructions carefully and promise never to go by himself. he has some understanding of “death by wild animal” growing up in a forest and displays some general caution. He seems to be ready.

Fingers crossed.

Read the highlights from the past:


Subscribe to our Traditional Foods feed via email and access to the digital books in our kitchen tool kit.

Read more here (at Traditional-Foods.com) about what is in the tool kit to date at the Traditional Foods website.

Enter your Email

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz


Vitacost.com

Is Bigfoot’s Hope Chest on The Lost Road Just Past the Soft Moss?


Join our large (and growing) community of food-lovers on Facebook. We are regularly inspired by members of this positive community. Come be inspired too.


My husband and son claimed they found a large steel container on the
lost road. Having already explored the lost road entirely by myself I was hesitant to believe the story, but with the mystery surrounding the
road perhaps I should discount nothing.

My son Frederick guided me to the discovery last week saying, "It's just past
the soft moss."  On five acre property with a seven-year-old there is
so such thing as "just past." It turns out that the "soft moss" was
nowhere near the "lost road" and not even on our property. However, it was the case that the "soft moss" was actually moss. Frederick explores it in
the picture above.

Intriguing was the steel tank — straight from Milbourne Australia.

When I saw the name plate, I thought of my Australian Twitter friend Matt
(@mudville100) who announced on New Year's Day that the bigfoot I saw evidence of here on the property would be marrying his koala.

That is when I was sure of the purpose of the steel bin.

I wish the new couple many years of happiness.

Here is close-up of the name plate on the bin. Anyone?


Subscribe to our Traditional Foods feed via email and access to the digital books in our kitchen tool kit.

Read more here (at Traditional-Foods.com) about what is in the tool kit to date at the Traditional Foods website.

Enter your Email

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz


Vitacost.com

Bigfoot Sightings


Join our large (and growing) community of food-lovers on Facebook. We are regularly inspired by members of this positive community. Come be inspired too.

We watched a documentary on “Bigfoot.” It was surprisingly compelling. Apparently, scientists have examined hair found at a sighting of “bigfoot” and found that it was from an unknown species, not far from human, not far from gorilla. In the 1800s, some folks captured an apparent “baby bigfoot” and snapped a few pictures before it escaped from a locked train car, surely helped out by momma bigfoot.

We were sitting around here in the Sequoia National Forest and I said, “With all of this supposed bigfoot evidence, where’s the bigfoot evidence here in Sequoia?”

My mother interjected, “In my early 20s when I was working at the Park [Sequoia National Park], I saw a footprint in the snow. It was huge. I ran and got my brother and told a ranger. Uncle Fred blew it off as a prank but there was something about it…”

I showed her footprints in the documentary. “Yes, that’s it! It looked like that!”

“You’ve got to be kidding.”

Two days later I was getting something out of the freezer on our covered porch. Some snow had drifted to the porch floor and left a small snow cover. I glanced down and noticed a bare footprint in front of the freezer. My own prints obscured the origin of the strange print.

It was ten degrees that morning and I do happen to know that no one around here would be walking outside barefoot.


Subscribe to our Traditional Foods feed via email and access to the digital books in our kitchen tool kit.

Read more here (at Traditional-Foods.com) about what is in the tool kit to date at the Traditional Foods website.

Enter your Email

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz


Vitacost.com

Lost Road Droppings


Join our large (and growing) community of food-lovers on Facebook. We are regularly inspired by members of this positive community. Come be inspired too.


Frederick and his aunt prepare to pose at the entrance of "The Lost Road."

"Mama, I found some manzanita seeds. Let's take them home."

"Those look like rat turds," says Auntie Kim.

"Smile everybody!"

"Here are the seeds, Mama."

"Honey, those aren't seeds."


Subscribe to our Traditional Foods feed via email and access to the digital books in our kitchen tool kit.

Read more here (at Traditional-Foods.com) about what is in the tool kit to date at the Traditional Foods website.

Enter your Email

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz


Vitacost.com

Holiday Visitors: Your Required Reading


Join our large (and growing) community of food-lovers on Facebook. We are regularly inspired by members of this positive community. Come be inspired too.

Those of you escaping the insanity of the holidays and joining the absolute saneness of our household must complete some required reading before arriving. I also recommend shoes with tread that can handle some mud.

You must first read about our “lost road” discovery here. Notice the historic picture as well to give you an idea of the required hike (yes, there is that too). We had a Halloween with great anticipation and then a whole lot of fun

If the picture of the terrain scares you, remember that you need only keep up with me. I do not say that to trick you. I wish it were a trick and that you would show up here this holiday season to find me looking like a body builder. Such is not the case.

Your only excuse is knee problems.


Subscribe to our Traditional Foods feed via email and access to the digital books in our kitchen tool kit.

Read more here (at Traditional-Foods.com) about what is in the tool kit to date at the Traditional Foods website.

Enter your Email

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz


Vitacost.com

A Lost Road Image


Join our large (and growing) community of food-lovers on Facebook. We are regularly inspired by members of this positive community. Come be inspired too.


In September we found a road on our 5-acre property that we never knew existed. It has provided some scares and a great portrait tradition. Here's a portrait of a lost road native.


Subscribe to our Traditional Foods feed via email and access to the digital books in our kitchen tool kit.

Read more here (at Traditional-Foods.com) about what is in the tool kit to date at the Traditional Foods website.

Enter your Email

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz


Vitacost.com

“Lost Road” Discovery and a New Hilltop House Tradition


Join our large (and growing) community of food-lovers on Facebook. We are regularly inspired by members of this positive community. Come be inspired too.

Perhaps it was too much Halloween excitement around here, but I ended up with an infected root canal the day after Halloween, severely hampering my ability to attend to the important matter of our Halloween journey on "The Lost Road." With friends for cover, we hit to road on Halloween and explored it in its entirety. We have many important details to report such as whether the local wildlife is carnivore or herbivore and what happened when we got dangerously close to the animal nest at the head of the road. 

The biggest discovery of the day, however, is that this little lost road is a whole lot of fun.

Inspired by the "scary movie" picture of Frederick posted in anticipation of Halloween, we have begun a new tradition: "scary lone hiker portraits." Yes, folks, right here at Hilltop House you can hike on a lost road and have your portrait taken at the same time for posterity.

On our last stop of the lost road tour, we slid down to the seasonal creek area. We removed debris from the creek in our minds and discussed the work behind getting the area usable. We need a few young guys with chain saws working a couple of days each and we will have our own little creek retreat. We discussed funding the work.

"What if we invite people up for "lone hiker portraits" and say that the price of the portrait is working for the day clearing the creek?" 

We laughed and pulled our tired bodies up the 60-degree slope.

"Entrance to the lost road" photo gallery

From Halloween and from our exploration a week later, we have eager hikers waiting at the entrance of "the lost road," a passage to a world with lions and witches perhaps as described by Tweeter Cody Edwards in my Halloween post.  

"Scary lone hiker" photo gallery

I display part of the new collection below. When are you coming, friends, for your portrait? Too scared? ;)

Elijah walks down the old road and hears an unfamiliar sound…

Jennifer was unaware of the predator watching her as she hiked:

Sander came under attack by a strange force in the forest (surely explaining the blurry photo):


Subscribe to our Traditional Foods feed via email and access to the digital books in our kitchen tool kit.

Read more here (at Traditional-Foods.com) about what is in the tool kit to date at the Traditional Foods website.

Enter your Email

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz


Vitacost.com

Halloween Plans for “The Lost Road” and My 666th Tweet


Join our large (and growing) community of food-lovers on Facebook. We are regularly inspired by members of this positive community. Come be inspired too.

Tomorrow will be a big day here: we are exploring “the lost road," on Halloween no less. As background, I found a road on our property unknown for 70 years. My seven-year-old son and I were likely the first humans to step foot on the road in all of those years; we had to prune away shrubbery and sneak past an animal nest to do so. As Frederick says,

“We were the first humans on the road in 70 years, but not the first animals.”

In a tale that sent Frederick and I running away like school girls, we made it as far as the top of the road before we freaked out and turned back.

Winkyboy on Twitter made a good point about the whole story: “Your road reminds me of the landscape from ‘What was I scared of?’”

Not having read the Suess book lately, I do know that the character discovers a pair of walking pants with nothing inside. The pants scare him and he scares the pants. If memory serves, he learns the important life lesson not to be afraid of the unknown.

I hope that is the only lesson I learn from my fear of the lost road. I look at some pictures I took during my hike with Frederick (like the one at the top of this post) and I think to myself: “this picture belongs in a horror movie.”

We are going to try real hard not to be afraid of the unknown as we venture down to the lost road on Halloween. In response to my Facebook invitation to come to the lost road with us on Halloween, part of the Gonzales clan (of Delano Topper fame) will join us and, hopefully, we will venture a little further on that road than Frederick and I did. We expect Matt (who went to high school with me), his sister Jessica (who was married in our house last year) and Matt’s son.

Our Halloween plan includes sourdough pancakes made on the griddle of our new/old Wedgewood stove and the short hike to the lost road.

To be clear, we do plan to explore the road during daylight hours.


The lost road begins just through that manzanita branch in the picture below, as if the branch creates a door to a whole new world (in Cody Edward's rendition on Twitter). I just know I can walk through that manzanita door tomorrow, on Halloween, and down that road with my Gonzales friends. It does not scare me at all that I tweeted my 666th tweet this week on Twitter before I even thought to count tweets and that the 666th tweet was about witches on the lost road. No indeed, I am not even the slightest bit scared by that fact.

I also know that if I find a pair of pants walking around on that road tomorrow without a person inside of them, we may see just how fast I can run.


Subscribe to our Traditional Foods feed via email and access to the digital books in our kitchen tool kit.

Read more here (at Traditional-Foods.com) about what is in the tool kit to date at the Traditional Foods website.

Enter your Email

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz


Vitacost.com

Lost Road Part I: “Mama, I Think This Was a Mistake…”


Join our large (and growing) community of food-lovers on Facebook. We are regularly inspired by members of this positive community. Come be inspired too.

We have a mysterious road on our 5-acre property, likely untouched by human feet for 70 years, and discovered by me just weeks ago. I described the discovery in more detail before – specifically, why it would take nearly 30 years to discover an entire road on a 5-acre piece of land; I posted a picture. The land has been in my family since 1982; the house that sits on it is an historic brothel.

A couple of weeks ago my 7-year-old son and I set out with a pair of hand pruners to clear the entry to the road and to become the first humans to step foot on the road in 70 years. We took a granola bar.

Notice our excitement as we posed at the entry of the road, first Frederick by himself in front of some bushy native plants and then Frederick and I together. Within fifteen minutes of these photos we would be running like two little girls.

I examined all possible access routes based on shrubbery and terrain. It soon become apparent that our biggest obstacle was the animal nest that lay in the middle of a shrub in the middle of the mysterious road. All access points required that we pass the nest.

“Frederick, that nest probably belongs to pack rats but it’s possible it’s a skunk nest. Listen to me closely. As we pass that nest, whatever runs out, your biggest concern should not be getting sprayed. If we get sprayed, we’ll go home, take a tomato bath, and stink the house up. Make sure you don’t get bitten.”

I hacked away at the shrubbery.

“We’re ready to go now Frederick. Let me get down first. If an animal is going to run out, it might as well be when I’m passing the nest.”

I climbed down to the road and turned around to hold my hand out to Frederick. He was about fifteen feet away behind a shrub and a rock.

“I’m hiding from the skunks, Mama.”

“It’s all clear. Take my hand. Let’s go.”

I guided Frederick past the nest. We passed some more shrubs and stood at the beginning of the mysterious road. Tall oak trees darkened our path but the road in front of us was fairly clear of debris. A steep ledge fell to our left, a high grade to our right, an animal nest lay at our back. An unfamiliar sound came from that nest.

“Mama, I have a bad feeling about this. I think we should go back.”

“Honey, we’re the first humans on this road in 70 years. Who cares if it’s dark and scary. Let’s check it out.”

The road was well-lit where we stood but it appeared almost cavernous as we looked down the path. “Really, Mama, this was a bad idea. I can climb that ledge right there. I’m not going back by those skunks.”

I have to say that Cody Edwards on Twitter is spot on in his analysis of this road: "I'm thinking fantasy or horror, preferably the former with witches." There are actually rumors that a witch lived at the other end of this road. Would I kid you about that? I know that as I stood there looking at the darkness, the skunks were not my biggest concern.

We scrambled off the road.

A friend suggested that I visit the lost road this coming Halloween night. I've eaten spider legs and I've held a pulsating and bleeding rattle snake but I'm quite sure that I am not exploring the lost road this Saturday night unless a whole bunch of Tweeters show up at my door for cover.


Subscribe to our Traditional Foods feed via email and access to the digital books in our kitchen tool kit.

Read more here (at Traditional-Foods.com) about what is in the tool kit to date at the Traditional Foods website.

Enter your Email

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz


Vitacost.com

Historic Picture of “The Lost Road”


Join our large (and growing) community of food-lovers on Facebook. We are regularly inspired by members of this positive community. Come be inspired too.

Last month we found a "lost road" on our property, unknown to my family for the 27 we have owned this house. We expect it has not seen human traffic in over 70 years. Read the background.

I stumbled upon a picture of the old driveway to the house that helped me understand a bit better the area we have been exploring.

In the picture, the road at the top left leads to the "lost road." It forks to the left and goes downhill and is not captured in the picture. The switchbacks in the foreground are on someone else's property. Our driveway now approaches the back of the house.


Subscribe to our Traditional Foods feed via email and access to the digital books in our kitchen tool kit.

Read more here (at Traditional-Foods.com) about what is in the tool kit to date at the Traditional Foods website.

Enter your Email

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz


Vitacost.com