Sweet Summer Magic in the Sierras

By Mike Waters


Family time is what we do all of this for and what life is all about. We work hard over here, but on occasion we get away to enjoy the beauty of Northern California and swim! This year we went with good friends to a place called Mono Hot Springs. If you have not been there, I highly recommend it.

Just 70 miles northeast of Fresno, 5 miles from the “end of the road”, Mono Hot Springs is surrounded by National Forest on all sides. There are no cell phone towers but plenty of those iconic granite peaks of the Sierra Nevada Range. At an elevation of 6700 feet the “resort” is filled with stone and tent cabins that are rustic and ringed by green meadows and giant outcroppings of boulders. There is more nature than there is fluff here.

According to Wikipedia, “The Mono Hot Springs post office was established in 1945. Its general store, and stone cabins are located at the rustic Mono Hot Springs Resort. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the resort was built in 1935, a few years after Southern California Edison completed this section of the Kaiser Pass Road for the Big Creek Hydroelectric Project.” It is most definitely a California treasure.

Through the site runs the south fork of the San Joaquin River, one of the longest rivers in the United states and one of the most critical sources of water for our State’s crops. Dotted along the river are six naturally occurring hot springs that were somewhat developed, but not fully. The water is nothing short of magical and healing. And so is the mud that you might pay a few hundred dollars in Calistoga to soak in.

At night, outside of the campfire glow, the stars are staggering. You can see the cloudy flow of the milky way and the satellites that race along the night sky. And only the sound of wind flowing through trees and the Sierra birds is what greets you during the day. We hiked a mile in to Doris Lake and did a little fishing, but we mainly swam in the glorious river and sat by the campfire.

Don’t count on being able to book your night’s stay by computer. You must brave the old fashioned busy signal and call the office on their traditional land line. The one lane road to the resort is barely there and it skirts around large rocks and alongside cliffs. After all of that, you’ll mostly find Southern Californians! It’s just as close for them as it is for us. If you go, Enjoy!

~ Catherine

To-Dos: Your July Home Checklist

By Family Handman

Parades and fireworks and clambakes. With summer in full swing, the month of July can seem to zip by. Make the most of your month with these 8 to-dos, covering everything from weekend guests to vacation security.

  1. Check safety devices. Carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors should be tested monthly; replace batteries as needed, and replace the entire device if it is more than 10 years old.
  2. Clean windows. Keep that summer sunshine streaming in by giving windows a quick rinse with glass cleaner or a vinegar solution, then squeegee them dry or wipe with a clean microfiber cloth.
  3. Prepare for summer guests. If you are looking to revamp your guest room, consider adding a trundle bed or bunk to make the most of the space, especially if you know you’ll be having kids visiting.
  4. Care for furry friends. To keep pets safe in the heat, you should provide access to shade and ample fresh water and never leave pets in a car unattended. If you will be traveling this summer without your pet, be sure to plan ahead to set up care. Most pets are more comfortable in their own homes, so consider using a professional pet sitter rather than a kennel, which can be stressful.
  5. Be pool safe. If you have a pool in your backyard, it is essential to keep it securely fenced with a self-closing, self-latching gate at least 4 feet high, to prevent children from jumping or falling in.
  6. Add shade to the yard. Make your backyard more comfortable with an umbrella or shade sail. With ample shady spots to sit, you’ll likely find yourself wanting to spend more time in your outdoor space– and shade is a must for summer backyard parties.
  7. Conserve water. Cut down on unnecessary water use by watering your lawn and garden during the cooler, early morning hours. The EPA recommends using a WaterSense-labeled timer for your sprinkler system, which acts like a thermostat for your lawn and can reduce water use by up to 15 percent per year. Inside the house, keep an eye out for leaky faucets and have them repaired promptly.

Keep your home safe while traveling. Motion-sensing exterior lighting, timed interior lighting and well-trimmed hedges can make your home a less appealing target for break-ins. If you will be away for a longer period of time, have your mail held for you at the post office and hire a lawn service to keep your yard from getting overgrown while you are away.


July is Sun Safety Awareness Month

By Dr. Howard Epstein

Heat Stroke is a serious medical condition that can be life threatening. It causes the body’s core temperature to rise dangerously high. Signs of heat stroke include confusion, short rapid breathing, lack of sweating and a fast pulse. If someone shows signs of heat stroke, call 911 immediately.

  1. Seek Shade – avoid the sun during the midday hours when the sun’s rays are the most intense.
  2. Cover Up – wear long sleeves, pants and a hat. The darker the clothing, the more UV protection.
  3. Sunglasses – protect your eyes from UV rays and reduce the risk of cataracts.
  4. Sunscreen – use broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF15, even on cloudy or cool days. Reapply every 2 hours and after swimming or sweating.

Avoid Tanning Beds and Sunlamps – their UV rays are just as dangerous as the sun.


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