Camping in your backyard (well almost)
This week we are doing some commuter camping at Kidd Lake, located about 2.5 miles west of the Royal Gorge main trailhead on the road to Long Lake. Its a PG&E lake and we are staying at the group campground. There has been a group of us going to Kidd Lake for around 15 years now. The group varies in size and attendees, but everyone always has a great time.This year’s initial entourage included Ron and Kelly Wulff, their son Logan and his fianc Vanessa, their other son Morgan and his girlfriend Jen; Karen and Robbie Huntoon; David and Susie Wright (and her father Bob); Kaitlin Schaller (Don & Lil Schaller’s grand daughter); and Alan, Alice & I. Last night we enjoyed the company of Kim and Kelly Christensen and their daughters Natalie and Finna; and Katie Wolff and Jay Gordin. We are expecting Don, Lil, Kane, and Aimee Schaller later this week. Some people stay for the entire week, some (like Alan and I) commute to work during the day and go back at night; others come for just an evening or an afternoon. It is really fun and it gives everyone an opportunity to kick back and relax. And the campsite is only 25 minutes away.There are plenty of great camping places in your backyard including those in South Lake Tahoe. Its only an hour away and there are some excellent camp sites there. It sounds like many tourists have been staying away from that area since the fire. Im sure you would be welcomed and there may be less congestion than you might think. When Alice and I lived in South Lake Tahoe in the early 70s we loved going camping at Camp Richardson, Caples Lake, Echo Lakes, and our favorite, Fallen Leaf Lake. We also enjoyed the boat campground at Emerald Bay.
Alice and I pushed away from the shore shortly after 8 a.m. and began our kayak trip around Kidd Lake. The lake is very low, but there was plenty of water to navigate on, and the water was clear as glass. The trees and deep blue sky reflected vividly on the lake surface. We saw several families of wood ducks, some black birds, and even a stray sea gull. We could also hear the cheese burger birds in the distance. On the shore line there were lots of squirrels running around playing and collecting food.We were keeping a keen eye out on the tree tops to look for eagle and osprey nests. We have seen both in past years and we were anxious to see if any were around this year. We noted that the tree that had the only nest we saw last year was empty at the top. We questioned whether the demise of the nest was the product of a stiff wind, the weight of the snow in the winter, or whether these birds of prey may use the materials from one nest to rebuild another nest the next year. We doubted it, but we really don’t know. We paddled a little bit further and Alice pointed out a new nest in a tree about a quarter of a mile away. As we were approaching, we could see some movement, and finally identified an adult osprey atop the nest. He (or she) was keeping an eye on us, but did not appear to be overly excited about our presence. I guess if you were 60 to 80 feet in the air and the prowlers below didn’t have any wings, you would feel pretty secure too.Just as we were departing, the osprey’s mate flew over us. It had a fish in its talons. It flew over to a tree in the vicinity of last year’s nest and proceeded to begin eating the fish, one shred at a time. We watched it eat about a third of the fish, then it picked it back up again and flew back to the nest to the waiting family.These types of sightings in our area are not particularly rare, you just need to go out and look for them. Go see for yourself!
Charlie Tomatoes’ was the name of the grocery store that preceded the Donner Pines Market at 13710 Donner Pass Rd. at Donner Lake. Their produce was excellent and it was the freshest around. During the years it was open for business, it was definitely the place that most locals went for their fruits and vegetables. The fact that our column came out on the Fourth of July minimized the number of responders to the question. In fact the early bird winner was Gordy Kjer and he did not get his answer in until 11:20 a.m. I didn’t ask him if he went to the parade first.Anyway, Gordy was the early bird winner, followed by Sharon Cook, Keith Mickelson, Mary DeLisle, Al and Sue Salas, and Leah Krone. The following Saturday I saw Mark and Jeanette Harrigan and Claire and Joe Aguerra at the Cannibal Cruise. It was fun to see them in person and they were ready with their answers. Norm and Alan Nicholls of the Nicholls Real Estate Group, are affiliated with Dickson Realty at 11500 Donner Pass Rd.