August 8, 2008
: This year, the eighth annual Stargazer Rock Campout will go
down as the one where most people did not camp at Stargazer Rock.
I left home about , accompanied by my grandson,
Mikie Liddle, and my younger daughter’s nephew,
Jim Neely. We arrived at Stargazer Rock, a trip of about 62 miles,
and got our camp set up. No one was there, so I got my favorite
spot, under the trees, and next to a big open area which has a large
Jim set up his tent on the other side of the open area, and dug out
the dirt and ashes from the campfire area, and rearranged the rock
ring. We also unloaded a bunch of firewood I had brought from home.
in the afternoon a man drove in towing a small trailer. He came over
and informed us that a 4-wheel drive organization was having a big
rally there this weekend, and there would be over 100 rigs there by
Saturday night. He also stated it was a Christian organization, very
quiet, and would be setting up on the other side of the big camping
area that is Stargazer Rock. Since tearing down, hitching up, moving
and setting up would be a major pain in the butt, we decided to stay
the president of the organization came along and gave us additional
information, including the fact that they were taking over the
campfire area that we had claimed, setting up a big tent nearby, and
having a band 20 feet from my trailer. “But you’re welcome to
stay,” he lied, after giving us four or five reasons to not want
are expecting another seven people, and I did not think that it
would be possible to enjoy a quiet camping trip surrounded by 300
people and a band, so we spent the night, then packed up this
morning and moved to another location, on the Rock Creek Road, about
two miles from the Dinkey Creek Road. This is an area where I have
camped before, but is not nearly as nice as Stargazer. So we left
camp and set up our new camp filled with negative feelings toward a
so-called Christian group that felt it had the right to come in and
take over a place where someone else had already set up camp.
we’re putting that behind us, and enjoying our time at the place I
named Cedar Rock Camp some years ago. Mikie and I took a short hike
up a nearby 4-wheel drive road, not without some complaining on his
part. Actually he rode his bike part way, and he and I pushed it the
rest of the way up the hill, then he had a great, but bumpy, thrill
ride back down.
Jim has been doing his thing, shooting cans with his BB gun, fixing
his own meals, and is now setting up his telescope. Speaking of
which, we had a good look at
Jupiter and its moons, and at our moon, through the scope last night
at Stargazer. We also saw several good meteors, including one that
lasted close to five seconds, and grew brighter before it burned
out. Tonight we will have to drive to an open area about a mile or
two away for stargazing.
10: Friday night’s stargazing was pretty good. Mikie saw a
number of meteors, and I saw two, one very long-lasting and bright.
We also got a good look at
Jupiter again. We had a fairly quiet day, with some bike riding and
a small amount of walking around. Mikie is bored without constant
activity, and needless to say, grandpa’s explanation of how I was
never bored when I was his age did no good. It might even be true,
at least as far as I can recall.
had a large influx of people Saturday, with daughter Jennifer arriving at 9:30, followed by daughter Teri, grandson
Johnny and his wife of two months, Brittany, and their “baby,”
Faith, a little rat dog of indeterminate breed.
joining us before long were friends of Teri – Michelle Maynard and
daughters Michaela, and Melissa (age 7 and 8); Scott, who rode his
Triumph motorcycle through the potholes of Rock Creek Road, and Eric. We had a lot of good visiting, several games of catch
between Mikie and whoever he could recruit, more bike riding, card
games, and of course, eating.
Johnny and Brittany had to go to work at , so were the first to leave, at about . Scott, Teri and Mikie left about 5 or so, and Eric hung in until . Jennifer and Melissa and daughters had set up tents as soon as they
arrived, and spent the night.
Jennifer and I walked down the side road next to our camp to the old
Dinkey Creek Mill site, or officially the Pine Logging Company Mill. Since my last
visit, perhaps four or five years ago, they have been restoring the
area as a historic site. They have removed the junky appliances left
behind when the camp shut down about 1980, done some repair work on
buildings, moved some of the buildings and I think removed others,
and done some major restoration on the store and office. It looks
like work has been stopped for a year or so, probably due to lack of
money, since there was a sign saying they hoped to open the area for
tours by 2005. Hopefully work will be resumed, since a great deal of
improvement has been made, and it will show how a logging camp
operated from 1937 to 1980. (2020 Update: No further
restoration has taken place, but the area is open to the public, and
easily accessible from Dinkey Creek Road at the U.S. Forest
Service's Dinkey Mill Work Center.)
walk to the mill site is at least 1.5 miles, almost all downhill, so
Jennifer and I were pretty tired by the time we walked back up. On
Friday night Mikie had ridden down the road about a half mile, with
me riding part way, and walking part way, so I already knew what the
uphill trip was going to be like.
and her daughters left right after we returned, heading to Dinkey
Creek (about three miles away) for fishing and swimming, before
heading home. Jennifer left around , leaving the place to
Jim and me, and we are doing what we do best, loafing around,
reading, resting, and occasionally going for a short walk. We will
spend the night, and head home as soon as we get packed up and ready
in the morning.
16: As usual it’s taken a few days to finish this report after
getting home. We were on the road by
Monday, and got back to Fresno well before . Loading and unloading the trailer is a bit more of a hassle than
it used to be. I moved in
June, but the trailer is still stored at my old place, so I have to
haul everything back and forth. I took most of the stuff home
Monday, and picked up the rest on Tuesday, but still have to finish
cleaning the trailer. When it’s six miles away it requires more
effort and planning than when I could walk out the door and work for
a short time every so often until I finished the job. When I sell
the old place, the trailer will have to go into storage, which will
make the task even more difficult, although I have done it before
and can do it again.