Our eyes popped open at 6am and Chief Hughes declared the day Open. We were not .5 miles from home when Dudley turned with that big ol’ Hughes grin and whooped. We’re on the road!! We left the foggy Bay Area for the sunny High Sierra. It took us 2 hours to get into trees and curvy 1 lane roads.
Today was a Drive Down Memory Lane: We drove through the early Sierras along the north fork of the Feather River against the stream of Hippies returning from High Sierra Music Festival: VW busses, loaded Volvos, and hula hoops strapped atop Hondas. A lifetime ago, Dudley (and Laura—once) spent many years at High Sierra, a July 4th weekend of 24 hour-a-day groovy music, camping in the dust, unwashed parts, and friends.
We passed through Oroville, which reminded Dudley of his early SF days when he and friends would travel 3 hours outside of The City to (illegally) bungey jump off railroad bridges and kiss the river.
Jules and Inge, friends of ours from the Coastside who vacation at Lake Almanor, were our destination. They used to own Coastside Books, where Laura worked. Their hospitality was bar none, introducing us to a wonderful lunch spot on the Lake from where we saw ospreys, and regaling us with history of the area and tips for where to hike. We had lunch, and they had chocolate cake.
We bid them adieu and made our way up the road to find a campground for the night. The first campground we tried, down a 3 mile dirt road, was supposed to be at Lake Wilson. There was no lake. Just a swampy remnant infested with mosquitoes. We settled on Camp Gurnsey, with its few people, its woodpeckers, blue jays and tall trees. Laura, as usual, currently sits in full Bug Avoidance Gear: long pants and long shirt with collar turned up. Dudley, as usual, is in shorts and a t-shirt, insect-free.
Laura hasn’t shaken off the Bay Area. She is jittery, rifling through maps and guide books looking for a hike in Lassen Volcanic National Park. Dudley, as usual, is at home wherever he is. And home right now is Gurnsey Campground. We are excited to see what tomorrow brings.