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Monday, September 12, 2011

Sequoia National Forest, CA, USA - Sept. 7-8, 2011

Sitting by the campfire Wednesday night, watching the farm-fresh corn and potatoes cook over the open flame and waiting to put on the three trout that Alan caught in Peppermint Creek, Alan leans over and gives me a big kiss.  Then he sighs and looks up at the blue sky through the giant sequoias and says, “This life sucks.”  I almost spit out my Veuve!

That’s right, we finally opened our bottle.  (And that’s right, we have already caught some fish!)  We had saved the champagne for the very first Aventura night, but when that night came we were so exhausted a nice calming glass (or two) of Opus One was where we turned.  (Remember my hang-over?  Yikes.)   But we decided it was the perfect time to celebrate:  Our first fish caught (first three fish!) on the Aventura.  The main course was free that night!  Camping at Lower Peppermint only cost $17 so it might go down as our cheapest day yet—unless the CFO requires me to add in the Veuve.  By the way, Alan is working on his “By The Numbers” – the promised budget and actual comparison soon to be posted to its own page on the blog.

Before I get carried away into the fishing stories, I must say the drive from Lake Isabella through Kernville and up into Lower Peppermint was stunning.  You follow the Kern River up the valley and it is quite beautiful.  Something right out of “A River Runs Through It”.  I did make a short Bloggie film of it, but none of the free Wifi’s will let me upload it (and who can blame them?) so no more movies for now. 

But back to those fish:  Thank god the Three Wise Fishermen back at Deep Creek told us to ignore the depth of the water!  They said if there are fish, they will be hiding behind rocks or fallen trees and will jet out into very little water to snatch a treat.  When we drove up to Peppermint Creek I was prepared to be underwhelmed and disappointed in the fishing—the creek is barely five feet across.  But after a short walk up the waters, we discovered tons of trout just hanging out under fallen trees and behind rocks—just as foretold.  I’m not kidding, there was one fallen tree that had five trout sitting underneath! 

I had quite a few bites, and then landed a nice big one, but, as I don’t like to get the fish off the hook, I swung it over to Alan while it was still on the line.  Alan was fighting the water, the Noses (who, I imagine, thought this was a great new toy), and the fish.  The fish won and he got away.

The next morning I made Peach Flapjacks with some of the fresh peaches we had picked up on our way. Drizzled with a little maple syrup and served fire-side.  They tasted like peach pie.  Delicious!

After the flapjacks, we did a short hike to see Bush Tree (H.W.) – a giant sequoia dedicated to him as a thank you for putting in place land protection around these magnificent trees (some are said to be over 3,000 years old.) 

Upon returning from the hike we resumed the fishing extravaganza and this time we each caught one.  Mine was 11”!  And we managed to get it to shore this time (truth be told, it had a short detour through the mouth of a Fox Terrier.)

So another night of fresh fish on the fire!  We were hoping to get up Friday morning and head out for a one-night backpacking trip but the rain set in so we set out.  Packed up in record time and hit the road—we were in desperate need of an “Oasis” experience (referring to an RV Resort in Vegas that has full hook-ups, a swimming pool, laundry, etc. has become our key word for “we need a break from the dirt!”)

The road down was gorgeous:  The foothills reminded me of Walnut Creek, golden rolling hills spotted with oak trees. 

We tried two “resorts” and rejected both (CA Hot Springs Resort [I knew it was doubtful when I read the sign that prohibited “public displays of affection”, although the spot was rejected due to lack of cell service] and Eagle’s Nest Resort in Porterville [rejected due to fear of getting mugged]) before heading to a tried but true KOA in Visalia.  I was literally salivating at the thought of cell service and a shot at an internet connection not to mention a nice hose in order to wash the dogs.

It’s hot down here, but we are fully hooked up, laundry loads are happening and the clean out shall begin--in between US Open matches, that is! 

Took some great video of Rosco running the agility course at the KOA, I think he’s thrilled to be showing River something she doesn’t know (although she thinks she does—sound like anyone?)


PS:  Heading back up tomorrow to Hume Lake area.