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Stories from the valley

Our Region in Focus

Contributed by Steve Beckley

It was a foggy morning in Maxwell when I met up with two great photographers, Sharon Barker and Vicky Stilwell, for a tour of Western Colusa and Glenn Counties.  We climbed (literally) into Vicky’s Jeep and headed up into the hills.

Our first stop was Sites, which hopefully one day will be the location of a reservoir serving all California. It was still foggy in the Sites area, as it is only 300 feet above sea level.  But a little fog does not stop determined photographers. Then from Sites it was on to Lodoga, Stonyford, Elk Creek, Chrome, Newville and back into the valley at Orland.  I asked Sharon and Vicky to provide a brief narrative of the day and their favorite photo.

Sharon Barker:

‘Just a short drive from the town of Willows lies some of the most pristine land in the State.  In 25 to 30 minutes you can be driving through valleys and foothills that haven’t changed in hundreds of years.  Ranches and farms in the Stonyford area have often been in the same families for generations.  Winter storms leave unparalleled views of the coastal mountains to the west.  Traffic is non-existent.  The back roads in the foothill areas of Glenn and Colusa counties provide a unique place to explore on a country drive.”

Vicky Stilwell:

“As we drove up the Westside foothills we observed the beauty that surrounded us, the narrow roads that twist and wind their way up the hills and down for miles between the farmlands. The amount of wildlife available to see, the old buildings that have history and the beautiful open land are there to capture with our cameras.  Whether it’s a foggy day, rain or sunshine, there is something special in all conditions.  There truly is beauty in nature, you just need to take the time and look for it.” 

Once we reached the valley floor in Orland and headed back to Maxwell, it was a unanimous decision that we drive through the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge in Willows where we treated with a juvenile bald eagle sighting along with all the waterfowl.

It was a great day as I learned from two excellent photographers, looked at familiar sights through different set of lenses and had a great lunch at the Nancy’s Elkhorn Family Lodge in Elk Creek.

You can follow on Facebook, Sharon at Sharon Barker Wildlife and Nature Photography  and Vicky at Owner/Photographer of “Still Moments Photography”.