Yesterday, we had a few hours to call our own so we grabbed our jackets, the camera and a water bottle and off we went. We knew the weather was going to change quickly and dramatically but at least to start with we were enjoying the sun. We opened the moon roof and hit the highway.
Welcome to California
Honestly, when we get in the car and hit the road, a feeling of freedom flows through my veins. I absolutely love the sensation of the open road, even if just for a short jaunt and from where we live it doesn’t take long to reach here:
We have been wanting to explore what’s known as Old Hwy 99 so we headed south to where we could pick up 99 and followed it for a few miles, up high in the hills with panoramic views of the valley below.
But just as we were starting to relax and enjoy the views, and thinking we’d picked the right road to explore, the road headed downhill and before we knew it the road dumped right in to Interstate Hwy 5 heading south. Rats! At this point we had crossed in to California so we just stayed on the highway for a few miles until we came to the first exit for Hilt, CA.
Now, never having been to Hilt, we thought, “What the hell?” There wasn’t a lot to see in Hilt, no surprise there, but one got the distinct impression that at some point in time, Hilt, held its own. If you’ve been reading this little ‘ole blog of mine for a bit of time, you’ve already learned that I’m a lover of history. I firmly believe that we have to understand those who came before us if we are to successfully move forward. So, with that being said, this is what we found in Hilt.
And that was what we found in Hilt! By this time the weather was seriously changing and clouds heavy with rain and/or snow were now settling over the mountains so we thought it best to head back.
Founded in 1902
Turns out, the valley was settled in the late 1800’s and the town of Hilt was founded in 1902, just 2 years before our house was built. I like to think in terms such as those, helps give me a perspective of passing time. “…By 1912, Hilt consisted of 70 cottages, a hotel, a dormitory, a hospital, a company store and company office – on the west side of the tracks was the Italian section (FGSC book Tim Purdy).”
Those that Came Before
Whenever we come across a little blink of a place such as Hilt, CA, I like to take a moment to think about all of those that came before us and try to imagine the vibrant life that once took place. And although at times such places seem to be long forgotten, when someone passes through either by choice or accidentally, it comes back to life if even for just a few moments.
I lived in Hilt for about 18 months in 1943–I was 6 years old. At that time the main employer–maybe only one-
was one of the fruit companies that the mill made wooden fruit boxes.
Every time we cross into California I plan to go down the hill to visit it one more time–I will next trip.
Thank you, Carolyn, for sharing such a sweet memory. Safe travels and I hope you do get to go down the hill and visit one more time.
I did the EXACT same thing about a month ago after getting getting cabin fever. I did a day trip from my home in southern Oregon and visited some historic communities… Hornbrook, Hilt and Klamathon. I also love history and try to get out as much as I can to see what’s left of days long gone. Old Highway 99 (and the Pacific Highway previous to it) are my current passions and I enjoy seeking out remnants of this historic highway that was the lifeline of the West Coast for so many years. Great post. Thanks!
I’m so glad you made the trip, Hilt is a great little spot of days gone by. The area at the border of CA and OR is so pretty and has so much to offer.
I agree about the open road, always a sense of freedom when you’re in the car and you can go anywhere (especially when you’re in a car that you aren’t worried will break down, which hasn’t been my case in a LONG time). Love the photos, especially the one of the old schoolhouse. Stunning.
Thanks Kim! As a retired school teacher, whenever I see an old 1-room schoolhouse I have profound appreciation for the teachers of the time. And, I so love a road trip. We are giving thought to driving across country, the most southern route, this coming late fall/winter. We’ve driven the northern route and Route 66 from Chicago to CA and we’d like to explore the southern route. Thanks for reading!
What a great escape! I feel like grabbing my guys and jumping in the truck. A great reminder Patti, that adventure exists right outside our front door:)
Thanks Tracy, it was a fun afternoon. We are gearing up for our high tourist season so we’re a bit tied to home for now so we take every opportunity to pop out when we can. Sometimes for a day or two, sometimes for just a couple of hours. Thanks for reading!