In late September I discovered a road on our five acre mountain property that I suspect has not had human traffic in 75 years. The property has been in my family since 1982 and has been unknown to us all those years. I have been “tweeting” on Twitter about my hikes but 140 characters are limiting. I decided to chronicle the road here on this long-forgotten house blog.
As background, we own an historic brothel in the Sequoia National Forest. It was built by a shipping magnate turned rancher. The owner-builder died before its completion. The son went on to become a state Senator, and the daughter operated at house as a brothel in the 20s. The house has been abandoned twice in its history. Locals removed the fixtures during those times. We have four or five original windows out of about 100. We have a handful of original doors. Some of the architectural features are cataloged here on this house blog.
The original owner was one of the developers of the California Hot Springs resort in the early 1900s. The house was built on resort property and was later parceled off, retaining about five acres and the rights to use the hot springs water for domestic purposes.
The house itself sits on top of a hill overlooking the hot springs resort. The grade on two sides of the hill makes the acreage nearly inaccessible. The area is heavily forested because it has had so little human activity. However, if we could overcome these barriers, we have a gorgeous seasonal creek on our property. I have seen the creek about five times in the last 27 years. It is difficult to capture the terrain in photos, but the picture above of the house will give you some idea of the general terrain. (Our property goes part way down the right and front sides of that hill and all the way down the left/north side to the creek, though the bottom of the hill does not make the picture.)
The only exception to the wild forest of our north side is a 100-year-old road, unused for probably 70+ years. The road was cut right through our wild north side. Wagons traveled the old road bringing supplies to our house. There was also a golf course nearby and up to this point, we have made assumptions about how the road continued to that golf course. (For those who know the property, the golf course began near the old rock arch in the culdesac. We thought the road continued east to Kent’s and then north to the culdesac.) What I discovered in September was that the old road on our property forked– one path continued in the direction we’ve known and a second path jutted down to the culdesac area.
The newly discovered road is a great find — it is relatively clear and flat. With minimal clearing, it puts us closer to the seasonal creek on the north side of our property.
However, the new road is blocked by trees and some sort of animal nest. I am sensing a long story. Cody Edwards on Twitter (@codyed) said it best: “The mysterious road on your property sounds like a premise for a movie.” Stay tuned for Part I.