I prefer winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Noni, living in a tent for a few days

This was my own personal space at Pinecrest Lake.
I don't remember the last time that I "camped" anywhere. I know I was younger and the bathrooms were closer. I did not remember the bathrooms being so far away... so dark... and creepy. After getting up twice the first night and groping around in the dark, without a flashlight, to find a place that would accommodate a middle of the night squat, near the tent, without breaking my neck, I decided that it wouldn't be a bad idea to invest in a porta potty. It wasn't that I didn't have a flashlight... I just didn't want anyone to see me... so I attempted a blind trip to the side of my tent...on a moonless night... twice. Not a good thing to do when you have guide wires and uneven ground to negotiate. I decided that I was lucky the first night, but didn't want to do it again.
So, my sweet daughter in law and I drove to Sonora on Tuesday and bought a shower/potty tent and a Porta potty. Forgot to take a picture of these lifesaving inventions, but they are the best thing since sliced bread and you can use a solar water bag (with the tent) to take a shower. We bought the solar water bag too. We bought some other things and got gas and ice. Then went to Starbucks (of course) before we drove back up to the lake.
 What a wonderful invention this porta potty and tent is. You not only have something to sit on but you have these bags that fold into themselves and seal up. You have convenience and privacy.  I can't explain it more than to say that someone (probably an older woman who tripped over herself on a dark night) went home and invented this little gem. It made my nightlife a convenient pleasure and I'm very thankful for modern inventions of this magnitude.
So much for the "old lady" stuff.

I had a great time. Our boys learned their survival lessons well after years of camping with us and other members of the family. They set up camp like a five star hotel.
This was the kitchen. The little blue tent is the food tent.
Below, was the dishwashing area and eating table. Mommy, daddy and the Beans tent is in the background.
Both were covered completely with pop up covers.
The fire pit was surrounded by enough chairs to accommodate everyone.
I got there the day after they did and my tent was already set up and waiting. Can't ever remember that happening before. Age has its privileges I guess. I was very thankful.
They rented the Beans (my grandchildren) some bikes.
This is the smartest thing you can do for a 6 and 8 year old. They spent most of their time riding around "C" loop and finding other children to play with.


One night this amphitheater at the lake turned into a movie theater and  my youngest son and I took the Beans to see a movie. I have only one comment on this movie. It was an animated movie called Despicable Me (part 2, I think.) and it was, in my estimation, DESPICABLE. But the Beans loved it. The place was packed and we were glad we took chairs. We would have had to stand up without chairs. The benches were full. The place was packed.
This photo, above, was taken the next day as we started our hike to the dam. This is the framework that held the screen for the movie. The Beans just had to go up and check it out.
 Then we started our hike.

Pinecrest Lake is a beautiful man made lake that is in a stunning location at 5600 ft. in elevation.  It's on the road to Sonora Pass, a scenic winding highway that has guided people across the Sierra Nevada since 1852.
It can be very crowded but it's always well run and clean. 
The weather was perfect. The lake, as always, is a bit cold to swim in. This doesn't stop people though. They love to swim, fish and recreate in all kinds of boats and floats. You can't water ski, but there are party boats, paddle boats and canoes to rent... and of course fishing boats of all kinds.
My Daughter in law took this photo of me, my boys and my grandsons on the giant granite boulders that line the lake.
Then we rearranged...
 And I took a shot of them with Robbin in the middle.
 This is the "Relax, Noni." part. I was so nervous about the little guys way up there on those big boulders. I worried and fussed the whole time.
We hiked about a mile to the damn but it wasn't a bad hike at all. Sometimes the rocks got to me and I needed to rest, but everyone stopped so we could take pictures and enjoy the beauty.

The path could be steep...
And the bridge to the dam was a bit scary to walk across, but we all walked across it to the dam itself. The wind took my Animal Ark hat on the dam and it's now floating in the lake. I hope some fisherman in a boat picked it up and took it home.  I will miss it. Before I left, I bought a Pinecrest hat at the store.
The trail continues over the damn and around the lake.
Robbin and my oldest son decided to continue on around the lake. The rest of us went back down the trail the way we had come.
This sign tells you (with the ever present graffiti) that this is an official trail.
My Beans never complained about all the walking. They are little troopers. I know they were tired.
When we got back to the store we bought ICE CREAM. They enjoyed the treat.

I took a nap when we returned to camp. Had a hard time that night. My legs were hurtin'.  (It was Advil and Aspercreme time.) We had a great dinner and sat around the campfire talking about other trips to this lake  years ago and how we missed Papa.
Next year we will figured out how Noni and Papa can come up together.  He usually comes instead of me.
We will bring Carl and Cutter with us, have someone feed the chickens and take care of the farm so both of us can be there. If  the Prospector had his way we would have a cabin here, but it's expensive and we want to travel too. Maybe an RV of some sort is in our future. I could really get into camping in an RV with a queen size bed and a private bathroom. Guess I'm getting old... I know I am. Comfort has become a key word in my vocabulary.
But....
there is nothing like an open fire pit with family around it.
And the tall trees... 
And a sky getting darker... until your grandson sees the first star and  you say, "Make a wish, Bean." and he makes one, out loud, while the other Bean falls asleep sitting up. It's a good feeling.
It's worth the sore legs, the dirt and the bugs.
I'm glad I went.
 I will show you more photos later and tell you about our middle of the night visitor.
 It's late and it's past my bedtime.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

I need to slow down but...

I came back from my sister's a week ago and immediately started preparing for a big yard sale at my friend's house in town. She's the one with the beautiful old Victorian house and the cats? We did this two years ago. It was a big, exhausting process then and it was this week too, but we made some money and had a good time.
Today I spent the whole day getting ready to go camping with my boys and my grand kids at Pine Crest Lake. I leave tomorrow.This is my last night in a good bed for a few days, so I'm going to enjoy a good nights sleep and I will see you on the weekend.