The beach was Baja-esque and the beer was distinctly Mexican, but any additional resemblance to previous sojourns south of the border would be based on our chosen camping comrades and the prolific consumption of fresh lime slices appurtenant to a multitude of Pacificos.
Besides, this trek required neither passports, nor pesos.
Given the superb camping site at the end of a rough, rocky dirt road along the shore of a beautiful, large northeastern California lake, I was cautioned by our posse not to divulge the specific details as to our location, under threat of severe pummeling by a large metal liquid-carrying container.
But, I am getting ahead of myself.
Before we could even leave home, there were camp lists to flesh out and flasks to fill.
A bantam-sized flask of Makers Mark whiskey was requested by the wife-person (almost half of which made it back home), and then there was a somewhat more ample container of Bombay Sapphire gin, which actually holds over a “handle” of the so-called Blue Bottle.
Full disclosure: almost none of those two liters of that libation remained at the end of the campout, but truth-be-told, it was somewhat of a community “resource.” (And that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.)
Once the packing list was compiled, the truck was loaded and the drive was on. Given that this was the first camping trek with my relatively new truck, the last thing I wanted was dog hairs all over the seats, and since the back end was full of absolutely necessary outdoor equipment (see previous discussion regarding liquid provisions), well, you wouldn’t expect me to put the poor pooch on the roof of the vehicle, would you?
But, not to worry; I did stop occasionally to allow him to catch his breath.
Once we arrived lakeside, we found a lone shade tree, which proved perfect to protect our ice chests from the weekend’s blistering temps.
Cool quiet nights along the placid lake were pierced by a spectacular sky show, as part of the peak of Perseids meteor shower. Some searing streaks seemed to hang in the night sky like shiny bright tinsel.
While the night sky was clear and full of bright stars, the days were sometimes clouded with the smell of nature burning.
Apparently, we had not followed the local news reports that much of northern California was being scorched as a result of multiple wildfires. Dependent on the whims of the wind direction, we were sometimes subject to heavy drifting smoke.
It wasn’t until the drive home, did we see the many end times-sized smoke columns billowing up along the Sierra Nevada mountain range, as well as from new fires popping up within the interior coastal range.
The massive fire near the Feather River canyon had created a colossal column that had become a huge cloud typical of a thunderhead build-up.
In other words, if it wasn’t the end of the world, as predicted by the Mayan calendar, it could have been an effective film trailer for the next post-apocalyptic Hollywood movie.
Nevertheless, our days were occupied with windsurfing, stand-up paddling, mountain biking, hiking, swimming, and other, somewhat less energetic activities.
The solitude of the scenery was stark yet settling.
This was a good place to hang out and I am sure we will return again.
But, I will have to check: do they make flasks larger than half a gallon?
A person doesn’t want to end up dangerously low of necessary provisions.