The smoke from the Camp Fire in Butte County is so thick there is no way we could enjoy a morning out of doors with my grandson anywhere in the Sacramento Valley. So we drove east to Placerville and to Apple Hill just beyond.
Apple Hill is an established trail of family farms and orchards. Long ago when I was a child, Apple Hill was only open in the fall and closed once everyone had come to get their Christmas tree. The main locations to stop and buy pie or apples were straightforward. These days Apple Hill is open June-December and the pie and apple stops are jammed with tents of vendors selling everything from wax hand art to signs warning your neighbors about your “crazy dog.”
Our first stop was at the El Dorado Orchard for the train ride. They have had a short train ride around 2 ponds for several decades. The ponds need some rain and the ducks and geese are gone, but the train ride still was a pretty ride past vineyard and orchard. The cost of a ticket has gone up to $3.50 a person but still better than $5 a person for a hay ride at the next stop.
We drove about another 5 minutes to High Hill Ranch co-located with the Fudge Shop Farm. We parked among the apple trees and walked up to the main pie shop. It is built like an old fashioned ski lodge and the view from the deck is really splendid. It was lovely to see some blue sky. The apple pie was delicious. I prefer my apples more tart but the crust was as good as mine.
It is a quick trip down the hill and back into the smoke. My thoughts and prayers go to the many families impacted by the Camp Fire in Paradise, CA. As of this writing nearly 6,500 families are homeless and the fire is threatening the town of Oroville. Please join me in donating to aid these communities through your preferred charity. Mine is the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America Disaster Relief.