For our annual end of the summer camping trip I wanted to go somewhere different. Per my mother in law’s suggestion we decided on Lake Alpine. Lake Alpine is about a two and a half hour drive from Ripon up Highway 4 and is my new favorite camping spot. My hiking/camping/outdoorsy friend Lindsey came along for the fun as well.
|We love camping!|
Heading up Highway 4 is a fun drive. There are cute little towns and beautiful landscapes to look at. I was tempted to pull over and try some alligator jerky from the nice looking man on the side of the road, but Danny just gave me a funny look when I mentioned it in excitement. When passing the sweet mountain town of Arnold, Danny got very excited about a certain diner exclaiming, “They have the best ice cream in the WORLD there!”
Just when we were getting close enough that we were experiencing that, “super excited ready to get out of the car feeling” we came upon a road block. We were forced to wait a while for cars on the left side to pass us, then had to follow a work truck and drive on the left side of the road. We felt rather British.
When we finally arrived at Lake Alpine we were met with disappointment. No we were not disappointed with the lake (beautiful) or campgrounds (clean), but all the spots were filled. There are three campgrounds around Lake Alpine and all three are first come first serve. When I had heard that the campgrounds were first come first serve, my miniscule amount of OCDness was alarmed, but we had a backup plan: Mosquito Lake.
We roasted marshmallows and made smores. I have a rule for camping. My rule is that no matter how healthy you are trying to eat, always make smores. You never know when a bear might attack. While you are being gruesomely attacked, at least you can find solace in remembering your delicious chocolate treat during your remaining minutes of life.
The next morning we woke up to the sun. Which is far earlier than I normally wake up, but I was grateful for its warmth. It turns out Lindsey couldn’t sleep either. Of course Danny who falls asleep without any problems ever, had a great night’s sleep. Breakfast was bacon, scrambled eggs, and fruit for Danny and I and a couple bites of oatmeal for Lindsey who is not a breakfast person. I tried to explain to her that it is the most important meal of the day, but she would have nothing of it.
|Start of our hike|
Unfortunately Lindsey started feeling sick. She was throwing up…which is never pleasant especially when your heart is already racing a million miles a minute and it’s difficult to catch your breath. Lindsey decided she would go back and get better, while Danny and I ventured on. I would like to once again take this time to point out to Lindsey, the importance of eating breakfast.
We forged on without Lindsey and somehow I made it. Actually I felt pretty good. My hiking Half Dome preparations have been paying off. My heart rate and breathing did increase, but I recovered quickly. The hike to Lake Heiser is beautiful. We passed ponds, breathtaking views, and wild flowers. When nearing the destination Mother Nature gives you a glimpse of Lake Heiser, which is a sweet little lake, surrounded with large granite rocks, tall trees, and more wild flowers.
Lindsey’s raft is a class “3” water craft. What that means, I do not know. I can tell you that there are multiple places in the raft that need to be inflated with air and it comes with oars. We carried the class 3 water craft from our parking spot to the lake, which was much more difficult than it sounds for three able bodied people. I ended up supporting the middle of the raft with my head. Turns out I won’t be winning any awards for my incredible ability to balance things on my dome.
We rowed across the lake. I sat in the middle of the raft and was deemed useless in my rowing abilities by Danny. I blame it on the oar as I was given the lesser one. Once we got to the other side we got out and waded a bit. The water temperature was pleasant until a breeze kicked in. The trip across the lake went faster as we rowed with purpose and I tried not being so lame in my rowing skills. Deflating a raft is much more difficult than it should be. I found that sitting on it while squeezing the air port was the best method.
On the way “home” we stopped by the general store, per my request. I have a small fascination with small town general stores. You can always find something exciting on the shelves. At the Lake Alpine general store I did not see anything very exciting besides the young foreign man behind the counter who hasn’t quite mastered the English language enough to tell jokes.
Once we got back to the campsite Danny started heating up the BBQ. Lindsey and I left Danny in his manly domain and went on a little adventure. She showed me where she had camped before by Mosquito Lake. Because it is such a cool spot and I want to be sure that it is available for our next camping trip, I am going to leave it a secret. I will tell you that there were two adorable ponds with a little duck family residing in them. There were fun rocks to climb that allowed us to see all around without trees obstructing our view.
|D is for Dungeon|
|Lindsey, chopping wood since 2010|
We woke up, ate a quick breakfast, packed, and hit the road. The worst part about the last day of camping is taking down the tent and unpacking at home. The best part has to be taking a long hot shower and sleeping in clean sheets.
Next time you want to sleep a little closer to the stars, go on a hike, or wander through wild flowers, I suggest the Lake Alpine area. It is clean, has many things to do, and is not over crowded. The area is beautiful and offers multiple camping and pseudo camping amenities. From backpacking to cabins, there is something for everyone.