Our time in Yosemite was done. Although we loved our hikes with its amazing natural features, we were overwhelmed by the amount of people. And the campground we stayed at was the most expensive, most crowded, least clean, and our least favorite of the trip thus far. We were happy to be moving on.
We were approaching the Memorial Day weekend, so we wanted to find a quieter place to stay. Giant Gap Campground on Sugar Pine Reservoir in the Tahoe National Forest in Northern California seemed to be a good bet.
We found the ranger station for the Tahoe National Forest, got good advice on trails and fishing in the area, then headed to the campground.
There were lots of downed trees, so Doug was in heaven chopping up a huge store of firewood. And the reservoir was just a short hike from our site, so we assembled Doug's fishing boat, he disappeared to stalk the fishes, and I settled in to relax for the afternoon. And to cook.
It turns out that the fish were very crafty, or cold, because Doug returned many hours later without even a nibble.
At long last, I got my day of absolute laziness. Doug went off to fish and I finally got to sleep in. Then there was reading and napping. Doug came back for lunch, a bit frustrated at the lack of fish caught.
For most of the afternoon, I worked on camper maintenance. At the beginning of May, while we were driving through monsoons, I had done some emergency sealing on some failing caulk on the edges of our camper. Now, with lots of time on my hands, I could repair them properly, along with a few other items that needed tightening, lubricating, or painting.
Doug returned for dinner, still without catching any fish. He might have been a bit grumpy.
Since the fish weren't cooperating, we decided a change of scene was needed. We headed out to town for lunch, internet access, and some hiking. We headed out along winding roads, then really winding hilly roads, then really really winding gravel forest service roads to the Grouse Falls Overlook. Google Maps was unconvinced our roads existed.
It was unclear how manageable the road was to the trail head, so we hiked in. And we're surprised to find a random guy in mini-van parked at the trailhead.
Then we hiked down and down and down, for the view of Grouse Falls.
Then we hiked back up and up and up. And we drove further along, and ran into some downed trees. Just barely room enough to sneak by.
We headed back out to the hilly winding road, then to the Big Trees trail to visit the northernmost stand of Sequoias.
The afternoon was waning, so we finished up our hikes, then Google Maps did her best to kill us. In theory, we were only 16 miles from our campground. As we drove along Last Chance Road (we should have known Google was up to no good), there were some downed trees that we could drive around. Then there were some more trees down, which Doug decided gleefully to clear.
Then there was snow.
Then there was snow and downed trees, and we knew it was time to turn back.
We may have gotten a bit lost, found ourselves, saw a bald eagle flying over a lovely reservoir, and then drove the long way back to our campground.
Doug decided to give the fishing at the Sugar Pine reservoir one more try. We also hiked most of the loop trail around the reservoir. The wildflowers were lovely and there were some pretty snakes along the trail.
Another day, another hike. Doug was intrigued by the description for the Mumford Bar trail as "most popular", but also "lightly used". It might have had something to do with the "difficult" rating, the 3.5 miles down 2750 ft down to the river, then having to climb back up, and the note about the poison oak that was notable halfway down the trail. Sounds great, eh?
We hiked about halfway down, had lunch, then Doug hiked the rest of the way down. I hiked down a little more, but knowing my hatred and slowness hiking uphill, decided to turn around and take my time going slowly back uphill. I reached the trailhead, happy to hang out and enjoy the scenery and a chance to read. When a very sweaty Doug arrived later, we hiked the extra mile back out to the truck.
Doug was up early for another hiking challenge. Earlier in the week when we were at the ranger station, the ranger had marked several trails in the guide that had not been cleared yet and were very likely to be over grown. Doug picked one, Euchre Bar trail, and took his axe to do some volunteer trail maintenance. He was wildly successful taking out downed trees across the trail, but eventually had to give up when the trail disappeared into vigorous well established dogwood trees.
I sensibly stayed near camp and hiked the rest of the trail around our lake.
We broke camp on Memorial Day, and headed north. We giggled as we drove through Weed, CA.
Then we had some gorgeous views of Mount Shasta.
Up next, Part 14.