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After I left New Cuyama I headed down the road toward Maricopa. About ten miles from New Cuyama is this abandoned gas station:





On the other side of the road is a sign that says Mount Abel 29 miles. I have passed this sign for years and wanted to see what's up there. Many years ago a friend told me there was a place you can ski that is only about 100 miles from San Luis Obispo, and I am fairly sure he said it was Mount Abel. It's June, of course, so I wasn't looking for skiing and in fact would not have taken the road if it were winter.

I drove up a windy road, well-maintained and wide enough, yet still at times rather close to the edge. I felt a little of the old fear of heights as I climbed, so I took many deep breaths. This road is hardly one of the scariest anyone would encounter, but for some reason I was still a wee bit nervous. After much winding I finally came to this sign:



It became increasingly woodier as I went up, as is typical of the higher reaches in the middle of California. Redwood trees were prominent.


There are, of course, many campgrounds.

I stopped long enough to enjoy what it is, then turned around. It looks like a great place to camp, picnic, hike. On the way back I grabbed this view:

Bakersfield beyond, no doubt. The flat stuff. I planned to stop in Bakersfield but not before making another side trip or two. Next stop: Windwolves.

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Judith Lautner
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