Skip to main content

A favorite place for peace and reflection

Lyons Lake dam a couple of days back. One of our family's favorite places.

(Photo: Alexander Chow-Stuart)


  1. The whole area looks serene. It's a peaceful surrounding to relax.

  2. Can you please tell where this picture was taken, I would want to see it in person.

  3. Many thanks for the comment and question. This is Lyons Lake Reservoir Dam, which is located off Highway 108, north of Sonora, Twain Harte and Mi-Wuk Village. It is a staggeringly beautiful spot, well worth the effort of visiting (not much effort for us, as it's only about 30 minutes from our house).

    You just keep driving NE on the 108/Sonora Pass Highway from Sonora, and maybe a mile or two after the Mi-Wuk Village, there's a left turn called Lyons Reservoir Road (or maybe Lyons Lake Road). Watch for it, it's signposted but it's not a huge sign.

    It's quite a drive down to the lake - and there are gates at the turn from the 108 that are closed all winter, from just before Thanksgiving until spring (not sure about the date, call the number below to check).

    The road becomes pretty much a dirt track and must be a couple of miles long itself, winding down through beautiful forest. The land is National Stanislaus Forest but also owned by PG&E.

    The lake is calm and contemplative and you would never believe there was a huge dam just a quarter of a mile or so down the track. Then you come upon the dam itself - and it's magnificent!

    You can walk across (or fish from) the bridge, all the way across the lake, and you can also hike down to the bottom of the dam, where there's a metal walkway that takes you out under the spray from the waterfall, into a tiny chamber where there's a huge padlocked wheel that presumably controls the water flow.

    My words can't do justice to what is one of the most spectacular places I've visited. It's not quite on the scale of the Hoover Dam, but it's more wild and "undiscovered."

    For more details, call the Stanislaus National Forest office in Sonora on Greenley Road - tel: 209-532-3671. They're very friendly and helpful and will tell you about other trails and great hikes, too.

  4. PS Please "Like" my blog on Facebook (button below the Buddha in the right hand sidebar) if you haven't already and sign up fo email updates. You can also visit the blog's associated Facebook page,, which sometimes has different content. Thanks, Alexander

  5. In my case, I've devoted much of my time to invest in a property near the woods, on top of a hill overlooking the river.

    Hotel Shah Alam

  6. Gorgeous! I've been on European river cruises, but I didn't know I didn't have to travel far just to see this kind of beauty. Thanks so much for sharing.


Post a Comment

Please note that for reasons I have not been able to solve yet, I have enormous difficulty posting replies to comments - so I apologize if you ask a question or just make some wonderful remarks and I am not able to respond. I am working on this, because it is very frustrating, but apparently it involves rewriting some of the code of the template! So do not hold your breath...

Thank you for taking the time to comment, and for reading my blog - Alexander

Popular posts from this blog

The High Tower Apartments and The Long Goodbye

This beautiful apartment complex in Los Angeles is called the Hightower or High Tower Complex (the High Tower name refers to the central elevator, I believe), and was designed in 1935-1936 by architect Carl Kay - and made famous in 1973 by my favorite film, Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye (see Why I Love Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye).

Although Altman used the building as Philip Marlowe's apartment in his somewhat post-modern Long Goodbye (the film plays with references to Old Hollywood and opens and closes with the song, Hooray For Hollywood), the building has another direct connection to Raymond Chandler.

It was apparently the inspiration for Chandler in his book, The High Window (the first Chandler novel I ever read), in which Chandler describes the residence of Philip Marlowe as being on the cliffs above High Tower Drive in a building with a fancy elevator tower. (Thanks to the Society of Architectural Historians Southern California Chapter webpage for that.) 

This ph…

Andrew Hale and Sade

On Thursday evening, we saw our longtime friend Andrew Hale perform with Sade at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, in one of the most beautifully conceived and produced concert performances I have ever seen.

Sade is a rare musician, in that she and the band only write, record and tour every eight to ten years, so that in a very real sense you can measure your life by her.

The band's music is always fresh and always newly conceived - for their previous album, Lovers Rock, they stripped everything down musically to a minimalist sound and banished the saxophone that had been so much a part of Sade's heavily soul- and jazz-influenced style.

The latest album, Soldier of Love, released in 2010, is one of the most tender, moving collections of songs yet, from the astonishingly beautiful Morning Bird, which features exquisite keyboards from Andrew, to the soulful, retro, return-of-the-sax melodies of In Another Time, and the deeply touching, reggae-influenced charm of Babyfather - a partic…

Wong Kar-Wai Compares In The Mood For Love to Hitchcock's Vertigo

Wong Kar-Wai's In The Mood For Love is an incomparable film, beautiful in the way music is beautiful. You can enjoy it for its narrative or you can enjoy favorite passages, over and over again. It is one of my go-to films, for reflection, meditation and sheer pleasure.

The quote below, provided by youmightfindyourself on Tumblr, is a fascinating allusion from Wong Kar-Wai, comparing In The Mood For Love to Vertigo. They are both unforgettable films.

Wong Kar-Wai states he was very influenced by Hitchcock’s Vertigo while making this film, and compares Tony Leung’s film character to James Stewart’s:

“The role of Tony in the film reminds me of Jimmy Stewart’s in Vertigo. There is a dark side to this character. I think it’s very interesting that most of the audience prefers to think that this is a very innocent relationship. These are the good guys, because their spouses are the first ones to be unfaithful and they refuse to be. Nobody sees any darkness in these characters – a…