Place: Lake Alpine, Arnold, California
Coordinates: 38.481008, -119.996949
Length: about 4 miles
I suppose that included us, as well.
Finding parking at any of the lake access points proved to be quite a challenge. After a slow drive through all the parking lots on the north shore we managed to squeeze the cars on the roadside of Hwy4 at the very northeastern tip of the lake, just before the turn to Pipe Marten campground.
|Lake Alpine, northeastern shore|
Meanwhile I I walked over to the nearest flower and photographed it.
|Checker Mallow (Sidalcea asprella)|
The slope grade was very slight. We were ascending without feeling it at all. Then we broke out of the woods and found ourselves way up above the lake, at the edge of a sheer granite cliff.
The view was stunning. We sat there for a while, eating and relaxing. I found a blooming penstemon and was happy.
Then the youngsters tried to find out how far they can scale down the cliff. That was our cue to move on. The youngsters complained but eventually came along. Three of them were playing silly games with the radio communicators and kept being yelled at by the others, until the other dad ordered them to stop, threatening to confiscate the radios. Eventually he did take a communicator from one of the kids and handed it to me. I shrugged and hanged it on my belt.
We were descending along the granite rocks and soon the lake disappeared from our view. We were now walking on a narrow trail inside a small, dry creek and our group stretched into a meandering human serpentine whose head couldn't see its tail and vice-versa.
At some point the trail became less obvious. The leading people (myself included) continued along the creek following a bootleg trail. The people behind followed what turned out to be the actual trail to the right and up the granite rocks again.
Then the bootleg trail disappeared and we found that we had no idea where the others were. At that point I was really, really thankful for the radio communicators. It would have taken us much longer to sort out the situation without them.
We were somewhere west of the dam when we reached Silver Creek. There, too, were bootleg trails and we took some time figuring out the real one.
This little mountain creek was also a foot place to stop and enjoy the view.
We stood on the narrow wooden bridge and while the adults appreciated the view ...
... the children were busy making shadow figures on the water.
Our trail joined with a packed dirt road and we continued along that road into the woods. Along the way we came upon a lovely green meadow.
The meadow looked inviting but we were getting near the lake again and the youngsters reminded me of my promise of beach time. I took a quick photograph of a daisy I saw there and we moved on to the beach.
I let my camera rest too. It was good to just sit there and stare at the water. Ducks swam too and fro, un-phased by the small canoes and kayaks that rowed by along the shore, or by the numerous children who splashed at the shallows. Very few people ventured into the ice-cold deep waters.
We plowed back to the road via the campground, not stopping until we reached the little gas station and store that serve the Lake Alpine resort area. We went inside and bought popsicles.
|Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel|