This post will be doing double duty for two weekends in a row. Last weekend, we also went to Spring Lake. However, it was a pretty work heavy Saturday for me, so I didn’t get to really unwind and enjoy the park. Then, because of the federal government shut down, our reservations for this weekend at a BLM campground got cancelled. Since there seemed to be plenty of availability at Spring Lake, we decided on a do over. Good call.
The whole area around Sonoma and Santa Rosa was hit hard by fires in the Fall. Spring Lake was one of the lucky state parks to survive it. Sugarloaf Ridge was not so lucky and is closed for the foreseeable future. I must say, we are both fans of Spring Lake now. It is a lovely little spot, not very far from neighborhoods and restaurants, but tucked away enough that it feels nature-y, with boating, hiking, and copious biking options all around. The lake itself is pretty and peaceful. And even though its proximity to town equals lots of company on the trails, the campground itself was practically empty both weekends. There is a camp host and a ranger on duty, though she told me they were running on a skeleton crew. One thing you don’t think of after an area has been devastated by fires is the decrease in public funding due to loss of property tax revenue. Oh, right.
Both weekends were plenty chilly and we were being silly the first weekend about not running the propane heater enough to be comfortable. On our do over weekend, we rectified this and brought the generator along even though we never needed it, just to be sure we wouldn’t feel like skimping on comfort. There was a good deal of condensation, which always happens when nighttime temps get into the 30s. We remembered that it helps to run the 12v Caframo fan rather than the overhead fan, because it keeps the heat inside a little better. And I got a little squeegee to clear off the windows in the morning. If you just run the fan and heater a bit, it clears off.
One thing notable: our site was positioned right at the entrance to the hiking/biking trail down to the lake. That made for lots of traffic coming and going immediately next to Dory. Lots of people stopped and stared into the windows, not realizing I was inside, and could totally see them. Once, I was inside going to the bathroom as a couple walked up and stared into the windows. If they saw anything inappropriate (I don’t think they did), that’s on them.
On the culinary front, we discovered that if you use Trader Joe’s Cinnamon Sugar Muffin Mix, and add blueberries, which you then pour into silicone muffin liners, you end up with awesomeness for breakfast. We also tried out Yeti for outstanding Indian food in town. The Chicken Curry is tender and delicious and the Prawn Tandoori is just the right spiciness.
Richard went on two bike rides – one where he rode half way up Lichau Road. It’s a “Gravity Hill.” Google it. It’s interesting. The other was up Lawndale, then Warm Springs Rd. to Sonoma Mt. Rd. He did get some views of fire damage, but now that the grass has started to grow back in, some of the most striking images are of open plots of land where it takes a while to realize there used to be houses once standing there. In some cases, what is left is a gate, or a swimming pool. On the surrounding hillsides, you can see the black of charred trees. And all along the road, you notice houses untouched, standing right along side scorched forest or footprints of neighboring estates, that no longer exist. Very sobering.
Total miles: 73.8, 2 hours 16 min, 15.3 mpg first time, then 14.2. Something was up, but we’re not sure what. Sites: 5 is a nice pull through but WAY too close to the hiking and mountain biking trail. 8 is nice, also 26. Good cell service. Water spigots, nice bathrooms, dump.