After leaving the tall majestic redwoods of Northern Californria the scenery changed dramatically as we headed southeast to Clear Lake. In a shunpiking adventure we failed in our search to find a remote camp ground in the Mendocino National Forest. Defeated, with darkness approaching, we headed for Clear Lake State Park. The late hour and ugliness of Clear Lake's sprawl was making us grumpy, but finally, after a bewilderment of blinking lights, construction signs, wrong turns and frustrating mixups, we found the park. Did I mention poor signage?
We awoke the next morning in a stunningly beautiful spot that we'd only had hints of the night before. A spot equal in beauty to the redwoods but with such a contrast it was difficult to comprehend. This camp was an oak savanna where the trees excelled in breadth rather than height. Our mood, in complete opposite from the previous night, was now one of delight. Our morning was spent walking and exploring in an almost empty camp ground. The weather was perfect, as were our moods, as we broke camp and set out for Bullard's Bar near Orville.
Bullard's Bar, a lake where we once spent a weekend with my mom on a patio boat, despite her being confined to a wheel chair, seemed like a good destination not far off our route to Auburn. Once there it felt strange to be back now that mom's no longer alive. She and my stepdad, Martin, selected this remote and isolated place to live after my mom became sick. It was hard to understand why they'd made the move at the time. Now, without seeing my mom struggle in her isolation and pain, I could finally see the beauty and understand why they'd chosen this spot.
We camped at Schoolhouse Camp Ground, not far from Bullard's Bar, and walked the Schoolhouse Trail the next morning to the lake. We are beginning to develop a travel schedule of sorts. One of the routines settling in is a long walk each morning to see the sights.
The draught in California is evident everywhere. This lake, as with most California lakes, is showing almost more dirt at the edges than water.
|Bullard's Bar - CA draught|
|Moorage behind the Bullard's Bar dam feels like it's down a mine shaft. |
With the water level so low the boat ramp was totally unusable.
We met a delightful woman on our walk this morning. She had relocated to this area from the Oregon Coast. Benton romped with her dog and we had a engaging conversation, tiptoeing into a political conversation to discover we were like-minded. Very conservative politics dominates much of rural California making this encounter unusual and gratifying.
Later today we will arrive in Auburn where we will stay for several days to attend my 55th class reunion. I'm loving the anticipation. It's strange traveling back in time and thinking about the choices made. The what if's and thank goodness not that's, are flowing through my head. A number of classmates have died and the whereabout of others unknown. Some are ill and will not make it to this reunion, or the next. What a strange time of life, having the end so close at hand, yet, concurrently, having such enthusiasm for yet another adventure and perhaps another and another. Thistle will carry us to unfamiliar places to meet new people, see new sights and uncover new thoughts. We will venture out to discover… What? Ourselves?
"Travel can be one of the most rewarding forms of introspection."