While everyone loves to travel to England in the summer to drive thru the lake country that sings of Jane Austin's past, us Californian's have our own lake country. Visiting these lakes felt like a modern and much cleaner version of Dirty Dancing. It's the idea of creating family memories and enjoying a week or two together. Having no children of our own, I can't say that Rob and I have any family traditional vacation. Unless we count going home to New Mexico every year, which usually involves helping to repair anything on Mom's house, hardly a memory building vacation, well maybe. We usually look for a place we haven't visited yet and go to exploring. We're always up for an adventure, especially when the budget allows, which usually means a road trip.
A few 6 hours north of LA and just east of San Francisco in a town called Arnold there are a few vacation lakes with many permanent residence. And another 30 minute drive and your in the high country with boating and more fishing lakes. This particular one is called Lake Mont Pine. Families have been coming up here for years renting houses around the lake and enjoying leisure time.
At Lake Mont if you rent a house here, and there are quite a few that hold 8 - 14 people, you will usually get few passes to rent equipment for the lake and just hang out on the lakeside beach. This isn't usual for all lakes in the area most times you need to have a steady supply of change to rent any equipment. Activities at the lake range from swimming, paddle boards, kayaks and small pontoon paddle boats. During the week they also show movies at night outside for the whole family. Oh and the STARS, living in LA we forget they exist with so much disturbance light you never see one. That first night we saw the Milky Way and so many stars you can't even begin to count.
In the still of the day here are the reflections of the trees on the lake.
What better treat to eat during the summer, by a lake, is watermelon. Indeed eating outside, food taste SOOO much better.
It's a quick and leisure walk around the lake. You get to peek at all the houses that can be rented and the view they have. Also just a nice nature study of light and color.
This lily pathway was a welcome surprise.
Lily and toy still life. It may also be a fish lure, but at this state it looks like a toy ducky.
Boats and reflections wait for a push to the refreshing water.
Trail narrows in places along the lake and even SB got into the photo action.
A five minute drive from Lake Mont is the Calaveras Big Trees. This is a giant Sequoia tree grove, it's one of the first tourist attractions in California. The "Discovery tree" is here. This was one of the first Sequoia trees discovered by Augustus T. Dowd in 1852.
John Muir said about this grove: "They [the Calaveras giants] were the first discovered and are the best known. Thousands of travelers from every country have come to pay them tribute of admiration and praise."
This was a treat for us. Other than knowing we'd be by a lake we had no idea where we were going or what was around.
Sadly the Discovery Tree was chopped down and shown around traveling exhibitions as proof of these giant trees. The stump has been planed and smoothed down and even served as a dance floor. In 1852 they didn't have the modern tools to saw a tree down so you can see that they used various tools and drills to fell this giant. Thankfully Dowd and many other visitors protested to the chopping down of these majestic trees so that we can enjoy our Creator's delight.
You feel so small and insignificant next to these beauties.
This is little Marie, 9 years old walking among giants.
The view from below.
Between the trees.
The rest of our time was spent at the lake, cooling down and relaxing in the refreshing waters. We even found a few friends to hang with.