Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Visit to Bennetville (sans Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty or Lydia)

Paradise here!  Paul and I drove up to Tioga Pass for the last hike of the season.  Perfect autumn weather: sunny and crisp, about 60 degrees in the afternoon, the aspen trees turning gold, and the first powdering of snow at the 9,500 foot level.  We took the easy trail up to Bennettville, the remains of a small mining town from the 1880s, which now consists of only two old cabins of mellow, weathered red wood, standing alone in the wilderness. 

As we walked, I was trying to construct a story about some descendant of Pride and Prejudice's Bennet family who might have come to America and been a California miner in the 1880s, but in the face of the facts that Mr. Bennet had no sons, spelt his name with only one T, and oh yes, he was fictional, it refused to fly. 
The cabins are a photographer's dream with their lovely color and the view of frosty Mt. Dana behind them.  And, to continue the Jane Austen theme, see the image on my very old hiking T-shirt...

We walked another half mile past the cabins along this beautiful cold Scottish-looking stream to the nameless but beautiful little lake above Bennettville.

Then we drove back to the little town of Lee Vining, where we indulged our two most serious addictions... cappuccino and the internet.  This was pleasantly accomplished at the cheerful "Latte Da" coffeehouse.  Funny how all the little mountain towns now have nice hippie-style internet coffeehouses.  At this one they bake delicious warm savory cheese scones.

Paul at the Latte Da
The next day before driving the 300 miles home, we went for a lovely hike at Rock Creek, which is off the 395 at Tom's Place.  The elevation's over 10,000 feet so you can get a bit breathless, but the weather could not have been more perfect; sunny, low 60s, and we walked along the beautiful lakes, enjoying the colors.  Rainbow trout were clustered together in the streams, but when I approached to take a picture, they sped away like lightning.

Golden quaking aspens on the Rock Creek road
Then we drove home to Peter and the cats.  The drive passed pleasantly because we listened to Gaudy Night on tape - I was very amused by how Ian  Carmichael portrayed Miss Schuster-Slatt, in a flat American accent - because she has long been my nom on the Piffle list and I can't help having grown fond of her.


Regencyresearcher said...

Any one who likes cats, Sayers, and Austen has to be a wonderful person.
The photos are gorgeous. I could drool over them all day. Too bad I have to work instead.
As to having P&P characters found Bennettville-- your arguments are unpersuasive. No sons--why an author has already written a book about the 5 Bennet sons. One t-- well, spelling wasn't standardized then, and people have always been free to spell their name as they please.
or Wickham and Lydia could escape debts and outraged husbands or fathers by a journey to America and take the name Bennett as a disguise. The problem there is taht Wickham -- no matter his name-- doesn't seem the sort of person to found a town.
Still, your arguments against an Austen connection are paltry in the hands of a writer like yourself.

Diana Birchall said...

Oh dear, oh dear, I wish I could write to you directly, Regency Researcher, but I don't know who you are! "Nothing is positively known...but a good many things I assure you are suspected." Clearly we ought to be great friends if we are not already. I thank you for the kind words, and assure you that you have entirely convinced me that Bennettville's claim to connection with Wickham's progeny is on rock solid ground.

JaneGS said...

What a perfect post of a perfect day. I've been hiking every week in Rocky Mt. National Park for the past month, and I was said to hear that this is your last hike of the season.

Seems like the like is begging for a name like Netherfield Lake or Pemberley Lake. Loved the weathered buildings photos too!