Legends and the Land

Keddie Ridge, Plumas County (10/21/18) Jeff Luke Titcomb

All cultures pass stories and legends from generation to generation. Some are related to religious or origin beliefs, others to civil or moral codes. Some are intended as guidance to children, while others are of family or tribal history.

California native people retold many legends about land features, and it is impossible to scout for fall color without being at places that were described in these legends.

When filing a report about fall color in the Indian Valley, Jeff Luke Titcomb mentioned “Indian Head” a feature of Keddie Ridge in Plumas County that is now skirted with golden yellow maples and orange/yellow oaks, saying the Mountain Maidu people of Northeast California tell stories of its origin.

In Jeff’s picture above, rock outcroppings on the ridge resemble the face and body of a sleeping man. According to Mountain Maidu legend, an ancient giant once traveled the world measuring the depths of lakes and streams. After measuring a lake atop the ridge, he was so fatigued that he lay down to rest and fell into a deep sleep. He never awoke, and his reclining figure is seen to this day. According to Maidu elders, when he eventually awakes, it will mark the end of our time on Earth.

By learning legends, such as this, we enrich our search for fall color, gain a greater connection to the places we visit, better appreciate the cultures that preceded us, and sustain their memory.

To know more about Mountain Maidu legends that are connected to auto tours of Plumas County’s Indian Valley, CLICK HERE