Thursday, August 23, 2007: It has been hot and humid in
Fresno, so itís time for a much-needed getaway to one of my favorite
camping spots, Stargazer Rock, located in the general area of Dinkey
Creek, east of Shaver
started about , fairly early for a lazy retired person, but the same time I always
start, i.e., ďwhen I get around to it.Ē Itís a little more
than a two-hour drive, the last seven miles or so over a rough,
winding paved road with lots of potholes. The top speed on this part
is 25 MPH, and youíre more likely to be going 10 MPH.
is one other trailer here, but no one around, obviously someone who
came up to grab a spot, planning to return after work tomorrow or
alone so far, but on Saturday my daughter Teri, grandson Mikie, and
one or two of Teriís friends will arrive. My friend Janell and her
are also coming, so it will be a fun time. Actually I like a day or
so of privacy, then a few people around, then a quiet Sunday evening
after everyone leaves to wind down before heading home Monday
didnít do much today - a little bike riding, even less walking
around, and quite a bit of reading. Someone left behind a huge pile
of firewood in the form of 2 x 4 and 4 x 4 scrap lumber pieces, cut
to the proper length, so I hauled about half of it from the other
side of the camping area to my spot.
youíve read my earlier reports on camping here, you may recall
that itís not an official campground, but itís a place that gets
a lot of use, with maybe four or five good campfire rings and a
dozen more primitive, temporary ones. I picked a spot Iíve never
been in before, because the other trailer was 30 feet from my
favorite spot, and the fire ring at my usual second choice spot has
been destroyed. In the late afternoon itís a bit sunnier in this
spot than I would like, but at 7,000 feet itís starting to cool
down then anyway, and I can always move to the shady back side of
the trailer if I have to (or even go on a hike or a ride).
temperature was down in the mid 60s about 45 minutes ago, at , so I got things organized for the evening and came in and started
August 24: Today was a fairly lazy day (after all, thatís the
whole purpose of camping, in my opinion). I got up about
and relaxed a while enjoying a bloody Mary, then had breakfast (hash
browns, toast & cocoa).
under a mile from here, back down the road, is an open spot where
weíve been able to use our cell phones in previous years. It was
so reliable we called it ďthe phone booth,Ē but like most phone
booths, it no longer works. Both last year and this year I could not
get a call through, although the phone does recognize the Verizon
further down the road and tried a couple of other places, with no
luck. Of course, we go to these remote spots to get away from
phones, traffic, etc., so it seems incongruous that we now feel we
should be able to use a cell phone anywhere we happen to be.
down a dirt road to see where it went (to a dead end turnaround),
and walked down another one, which turned into a gully with no good
place to turn around anything bigger than a Jeep.
Creek, near the camp, is essentially dry. Itís always low,
although last year it had the most water Iíve ever seen in late
summer. This year it has the least. It is still running, but much of
it is under the rocks. Water comes out here and there and runs for a
few feet in a trickle a quarter inch wide, with so little water you
canít see it move. I did see one big very murky pool, and I know
there are others.
was driving around, I went east at the road junction where you turn
west to get to camp, to check out Cow and Calf Creek, which has
always had more water than Rock Creek. It had a visible flow, but
was very low.
some of the lumber scraps into small kindling, and also split up a
round of lodgepole pine that I gathered nearby.
was fairly warm, right around 80 from mid-morning on, meaning it is
probably around 100 in Fresno. The low last night was about 47.
half hour ago another trailer arrived and set up on the far side of
the camp area from me, so my time of solitude is over.
August 25: Teri and Mikie unexpectedly arrived last night, as
did their friends Larry and Michelle. So we got tents set up and had
a campfire. Mikieís friend, my next door neighbor kid Librado,
came with them, on the very first camping trip of his life. The
three ďkidsĒ (including me) went out on the official Stargazer
Rock to see the sky. The moon is three quarters full, so it washed
out a lot of the stars. The best time for viewing now is around , but Iím the only one who gets up at that time. I took a short
walk around that time both nights to check the stars.
and Librado had a baseball game going shortly after we got up
(heís become a major fan and fanatic during the recent season).
Larry served as catcher, which reduced the amount of time the kids
had to spend chasing bad pitches.
breakfast and a lazy morning, everyone but me left for Courtright
Reservoir to go fishing. Only a few minutes after they left, Janell
arrived. We didnít do much - ate lunch, lazed around, took naps;
and I walked down to the creek. He was fascinated by the water bugs
which live in the few remaining pools.
fishing expedition went well, with everyone enjoying the scenery at
Courtright. There was only one fish, caught by Michelle, cleaned by
Larry, and eaten by both of them.
everyone got back, the baseball game resumed with me as catcher.
Meanwhile Teri fixed chicken fajitas for everyone, followed by
Smores prepared by Michelle. The three boys are now heading off on
their first snipe hunt, so weíll see how they do.
August 26: The sun is going down rapidly, the temperature is
following, and at
itís time for me to come inside the trailer. Itís been cooler
today, with more wind and some clouds. We heard thunder early this
morning, but nothing came of it.
snipe hunt last night was a big success as far as scaring the
hunters went, although Mikie was not happy - mainly because he
didnít get to see an unusual animal heíd never seen before. Even
so, he was suspicious from the start, and all the boys came back
saying it was Larry and Michelle out there in the woods. This did
not prevent them from yelling and jumping up and running when they
heard a weird noise behind a tree right next to camp. Of course, it
turned out to be Michelle.
heard coyotes both Friday and Saturday night, always a thrilling
wilderness sound (even though I also hear them next to my motherís
house on the edge of Mariposa).
else left by , so I spent the day reading, walking around a little, bike riding,
and getting a few things ready to go. I have all the chairs and
tables folded and ready to load tomorrow morning, and nearly
everything that was scattered around picked up.
other party that was here left early this morning, and the trailer
that was here when I arrived remains unoccupied.
a fairly typical size group compared to recent years, but a little
more low key, with no four wheel driving, and just the one long
ďexpedition.Ē Itís been a little cooler each day, which makes
it a little easier to go back to the low country, and I feel
refreshed and reinvigorated.
Estel, August 2007
Who lives in here?
Dinkey Dome from Rock Creek Road
Dick Estel, Janell Sidney, Larry,
Maynard, Teri Liddle, Mark Washington,
Librado McHenry, Mikie Liddle
Left to right, Librado
McHenry, Mikie Liddle, Mark Washington, making & eating smores