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:

Welcome to CA

Welcome to CA

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.

Overlooking the valley below

Overlooking 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.

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.

The stage stop, which now looks to be a private home

The stage stop, which now looks to be a private home.  The sign in front reads:  The last stage south left Hilt on December 17, 1887!

The 1-room schoolhouse with an amazing stone foundation.

The 1-room schoolhouse with an amazing stone foundation.

Just beyond Hilt we crossed back in to OR, turned around and crossed back into CA.

We followed the dirt road through Hilt, crossed back in to OR, turned around and crossed back into CA.

The church, built in 1925. What was moving about the church was the stone memorial (on the left) dedicated to 11 residents of Hilt who gave their lives in military service

The church, built in 1925. What was moving about the church was the stone memorial (on the left) dedicated to 11 residents of Hilt who gave their lives in military service

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.

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