I never reached my destination; I became too afraid to drive any further on Bear Gulch Road. These photos, from Google images, don't begin to give a true image of it:
Bear Gulch Road - the size - narrow as a twin bed,
bolstered on the right by the mountain's shoulder,
on the left by a chasm broken by huge old redwoods.
I hugged my car to the right side...
what if some reckless and impatient California driver
came up behind me?
I saw myself rolling down into eternity,
into the embracing , unbending arms of redwood.
It's strange to me that I have not been afraid when I have flown in a helicopter; have really enjoyed the view...
But put me out in the open , anywhere near a precipice, and I fling myself to the ground and hug the ground,
so afraid I am that somehow I will fall. Even in a car, that feeling persists. Way back in 1973, my friend Mary Lou "Scotch" Kincaid and I took a camping trip across the United States. We began in West Chester and went northwest, all the way to Seattle, Vancouver Island, the Canadian Rockies, and back across Canada and into the US at Niagara Falls. When we traversed Glacier National Park on Going to the Sun Highway, I had a terrific experience of fear of heights. Here are some photos from Google images that give some indication - no guardrails on most of this road, which snakes along the edge of high mountains:
This road was much more frightening than Bear Gulch Road, when I see these photos and remember. In any case, I've also driven on California Route 1, from the Golden Gate Bridge all the way north to Mendocino, and remember that as another nightmare ride. As much as I love California, I don't think I could live there with those roads. Within my adventurous inclinations there lurks a true fraidy-cat.