Monday, February 23, 2015

Heartbreak Trail: the setting

This is an awfully long way in advance, because usually Mrs. M has her proof pages before she goes around leaking "sneak peeks." But I know some of you are waiting on pins and needles for something.This first sneak peek (in no particular order) is a photo sneak peek so you can "see" the setting for this next adventure. (Tune in tomorrow for the actual excerpt (sneak peek from the book).

When you think of California, especially the Central Valley where Andi lives, a lot of people think "drought" and "dry." That's true today. People and crops just suck up all that water. But in the 1800s, the Central Valley was quite wet in many places. The largest fresh-water lake west of the Great Lakes was Lake Tulare--not too far from Fresno, south and west. Lots of rivers and creeks ran down from the mountains, turning part of the valley into swampland. One of those places has been preserved to this day so people can see what the dry Valley was really like so long ago: The Kaweah Oaks Preserve.

So, step back in time and put this setting into your mind for the sneak peek that follows tomorrow. Only a few days into my adventure, I'm stuck with mosquitoes and swamps. When you read about it you can remember the photo journey you took today. 

The strip of forest we have to go around  . . . or through.
The cattle drive goes along the valley. Much of it is flat and open, but a few days into the trip, they cross the Keweah River and the woods are thick . . . and so are the mosquitoes.

There's plenty of water for the cattle . . . and did I mention mosquitoes? Oak trees covered with wild grape, willows, sycamores, blackberry, chokecherry, and more trees hide the wildlife: coyotes, bob cat, racoons, lizards, vultures, herons, and other birds, plus insects galore (plus mosquitoes).

One of the many rivers and creeks that dump into the area
The forest is a strip growing along the wetter portions of the valley. Mitch has to take the cattle around this marshy mess in order to push farther south. The valley does open up after this for quite some time. Enjoy the rest of the pictures and come back tomorrow for the sneak peek!

Can't you just SEE mosquitoes breeding here? :-(

A nice flat, clear area to set up camp. The cattle are on the other side.

Oak trees hanging over a creek
Here I'm looking straight up. The oak trees form a canopy.


  1. One of the rivers looks like a nice place to fish.
    God Bless

  2. Me four!! :) Sounds like a lot of mosquitoes!


  3. Neat! Those pictures really help us envision Andi and her family out on the range :-)
    Mrs. M, I was wondering if you are planning on being at the CHAP Homeschool Convention at the PA Farm Show Complex this year?

  4. No, sorry! I will not be there this year. :-(

    1. I missed you last year so I was hoping to see you this year. Oh well...some other time :-)

  5. I really enjoyed seeing pictures, "Andi"!

    ~Lydia~ <3

  6. It's really neat to see all of the pictures! Thank you!


Let Andi know what you think!