Outside with Charlie: Outdoor adventure awaits

By From page A8 | May 30, 2012


The Memorial Day weekend was a mix of snow, hail, rain, wind and sunshine. The unofficial start of summer wasn’t at all summery. It rarely is.

Take heart though. The opportunities to get outside and have fun grow by the day. Just look east to the Crystal Basin and the melting snow fields. The American River, and all of the streams that feed it and the various lakes in the area are doing quite well as a result.

The Crystal Basin Range is, mostly, open for business. Rather than list the open sites, here are the ones that, as of Memorial Day, were still listed as closed:

Gerle Creek Campground, Kirkwood Campground, Loon Lake Campground, Loon Lake Group Campground, Robb’s Hut, Sly Guard Cabin, South Shore Campground, Van Vleck Bunkhouse, Woods Lake, and Wrights Lake.

Snow still dots the road to Wrights Lake and others. The Forest Service also needs to get the campgrounds cleaned up, the water running, trees cut, and broken things fixed. It’s what they do at the beginning of every season.

Sly Park, along with the other great spots up in the Crystal Basin, is fully open and waiting for you to show up. It’s still early in the camping season, and there won’t be as many people out and about in the forests and on the lakes.

The temperatures are very nice throughout El Dorado County for just about any kind of outdoor adventure. Cycling, walking, hiking, in the foothill areas is just plain good right now.

Heading higher simply means that you have to layer up for the day.

A trip to someplace like Bassi Falls, or the falls above Fallen Leaf Lake could be a great way to get your family out for a short spring trek. Take the time to explore the area, perhaps making your way to Glen Alpine.

If you head to Hope Valley and the Carson Pass area, you’re likely to find that the meadows are pretty soggy.

Here’s a quick check list for you to consider for your spring trek. It’s not all inclusive, but it’s a good start. Take your rain gear, synthetic clothing with enough layers, food and goodies to cover your time on trail, water, a hat (even if you don’t think you’ll wear it, take it), gloves, first aid kit, matches, dryer lint (helps with starting a fire if you need one), map, sunscreen, bug repellent.

Take your cell phone, just remember that you cannot rely on it to work. Doing so could be a very bad mistake. You don’t need a Nano or iPod. You have the forest to listen to, which is infinitely more interesting.

Gear up and head outside. The wonderland all around us awaits your presence.

Charlie Ferris

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