Lake Clementine felt more like a river without a current at the upper parking lot. It was beautifully crystal clear, calm and narrow. It is, after all, just a flooded portion of the American River. We paddled for a few hours. First up, then down stream to the boat-in camping area. No rush, just a nice casual day on the water together.
I especially enjoyed looking into the deep pools and seeing very large fish swimming below.
By the time we were back at the parking area, a dark cumulonimbus sent us scurrying to tie the boards on my car and get inside.
We’ll be back.
Last weekend was wonderfully quiet at Lake Tahoe. For how nice the weather was, there just weren’t that many people around. Dani and I took our stand up paddle boards to D.L. Bliss State Park and paddled to Emerald Bay and back.
The cliffs that we like to jump off of are a no-go this year. The lake level is too low. We did pass by two guys that had SUP’ed to a crack and were climbing up it. Definitely a neat crag. The other notable feature on the paddle was a ~50 foot log sticking nearly straight up out of the lake.
We drank beer, swam and took our time. All in all, definitely a nice afternoon.
That evening we played bocce ball lakeside, saw a beaver and a gigantic trout and ate dinner at Sunnyside. Tahoe bliss.
New Year’s day started with brunch. Then, to kick 2015 off right, we headed to the American river with my paddle board and took a plunge. Having such a clean and calm river, with free access, right in my neighborhood is a huge perk. When the days are long and hot, it’s my go-to spot. Swimming in the cold of the new year was sort of a symbolic way to emphasize that fun in up to me this year. No obstacles are in my way.
Andre’s getting wed. For his last party as a bachelor, we drank beer, fished and camped on Tomales Bay.
Friday night’s festivities in S.F. shall not be mentioned.
Saturday, we ever so casually packed boats and headed to Nick’s Cove. It was somewhere near six p.m. when I stepped on my board for the paddle to camp. The beaches were remarkably crowded. I wonder how many people were there without permits. Or perhaps it’s that Blue Water’s commercial-use permit in addition to the individual permits made for the neighbors.
Ernie made killer tacos. He’d brought a grill that sat on top of my Whisperlite. Beans were cooked at home. Salsa was super spicy. Nicely done Ernesto.
It was damn great to have a college reunion with just the guys.
The bioluminescence was strong. It was incredibly neat to paddle around in the pitch dark with every disturbance of the water sparkling like the stars.
Thankfully, we didn’t pack up on Sunday. The day was spent fishing and goofing around. We had no luck from Brent’s boat but we did catch and release a large bat ray from the beach. Warren’s boat left the bay and caught a half dozen or so rock fish (dinner) but had no luck with the salmon.
We stayed up late. Finished the beer. Ate most of the food. Walked the beach.
I’ve kayak camped on Tomales many times – usually leading college kids. This was far more fun.
Sim and I paddled to Emerald Bay on a Saturday Tahoe day trip.
Post Christmas I tied my board on top and headed north. Charlie and I rendezvoused at Big River. It was rough. We turned south again and put in at Albion.
It was my first try at NorCal condition freediving. I only puked a little bit. I wasn’t hunting, but Charlie confirmed that the visibility was mediocre and the fish were hard to find. He still speared five. I really only hit bottom a few times but it sure was neat for the few seconds I was down there. I loved it and will go again.
Camp at McKerricher was infused with beer and grilled fish. CA State Parks are expensive. $43 for the night.
After a walk to the beach, breakfast in Fort Bragg and a stop at the dive shop, Charlie headed home. I went north.
The running tally of the places I went after:
- stopped at McKerricher and another beach farther north. The fog bank rolling in was beautiful.
- camped and jogged at Westport-Union up on the bluffs. What a stellar place to camp.
- lunched under the redwoods at Richardson Grove.
- stopped at Benbow but there wasn’t enough water to paddle.
- intentionally drove the very long way to the Mattole via Ettersburg. It’s a curvy and rural few hours on a mostly single lane road. I was surprised by the number of people that live so far off the grid. It’s definitely a center of the west’s back to the lander movement. I’m sure most of them have moved from vegetables to pot.
- camped two nights at the Mattole estuary. Sat on the beach, walked south beyond Punta Gorda.
- stopped in Humboldt Redwoods State Park.
Things of note:
I love solos. Read a book, two New Yorkers and two High Country News’. I was asleep around 9pm and would wake up and read for a couple of hours in the middle of the night. I slept in my car each night.
I saw at least twelve whales one afternoon. I didn’t see anyone else whale watching.
It was around the king tide and the lows were extreme. The tidepools extended up and down the coast. I found a lot of cool things, including a fish head that was about 20 inches wide. The sea lions at Punta Gorda were making farting noises with their mouths.