Loaded up the Wagoneer for it's first real haul into the Placer County mountains. Kids? Check. Coolers? Check. Red Ryders? Quadruple check. Holiday traffic for 6 hours on I-80? Yeah...that one's a beast, but as luck would have it Jesse brought his golden jambox and "Pump Up The Volume" soundtrack, so we were totally set.
Our weekend mascot. Thank you for keeping beers cold and spirits high.
Kleinman and Eli left way before us to scout out campsites and pick a spot somewhere with water. Got hairy there for a minute as even the campgrounds not on Reserve America were all full and they ended up driving all over the area hoping something would be free---and in doing so, found the best place of all. Nice work, kids.
Took a drive over to Iowa Hill and discovered the biggest dandelions ever.
That's a lot of wish coming true.
Iowa Hill also offered up the relics of a cool old mining town, founded in 1854. I think this was the vault. Or maybe the jail?
People still live (and drink) in Iowa Hill and everything's run on a generator as there aren't any county power lines up there. They only recently got phone lines installed in 2010, before that it was all cell phones if reception came in and the years before that everyone just communicated by radio. Or in person. Makes me want to start a neighborhood string-and-cup line.
The saloon doubles as a convenience store and Friday night dinner spot, not to mention a local history museum. Old maps and photos and a super friendly bartendress not all put out by city folk questions.
Especially concerning gold, which she still takes as currency.
Yeah, Iowa Hill, you're pretty damn cool.
Foresthill wasn't so bad either and offered up the biggest burger I've ever seen: The Mother Load at the Ore Cart Steakhouse. They also featured strong Bloody Mary's and had those outdoor misters going on the porch, so two thumbs up from me.
Back to the resevoir and some time on the water.
And in it. Been too long since we tackled a good rope swing.
Franklin showing how it's done.
Jesse not far behind.
The resevoir's so big there were people cruising around in sailboats.
Our version involved a little rowing in The Tub.
And good old-fashioned floating.
Eli playing Jesus with the monarchs.
Butterflies everywhere, flitting about in the sunshine.
Tried our hand at panning for fool's gold.
Fishing didn't turn up much either.
Night time shenanigans with campfires and feasts and plenty of whiskey. So many stars up there, its like you're staring at stars behind stars and suddenly there's no black sky at all.
Somehow summer doesn't seem so far away. Sugar Pine, we'll see you again real soon.
Got some troubles but they won't last? Grab that Nancy Sinatra tune and start planning a trip to Sugar Pine. As soon as it starts getting warm, its swim time in the mountains and that's where we'll be. Both Shirttail Creek and Giant Gap Campgrounds are right at the resevoir and within walking distance to the beaches and rope swings. Shirttail has a little creek that runs through it, Giant Gap is closer to the water and the sites seemed a little further apart (I think we had number 25 and it was great). They're all on Reserve America except for a few set aside for walk-ups. There's one particularly magical site for sure, but I'm not naming numbers so you'd best get up there and find out for yourself---I-80 north to Auburn and east on Foresthill Rd. Once you hit the town of Foresthill, stop in at Worton's for supplies and a tasty sandwich overlooking the valley. Keep following Foresthill Rd to the Sugar Pine Rd cutoff...and there you go.