Glory Hole Recreation Area

img_2505I know. Listen, I did not name the place. I refer you to etymonline.com for the historical meaning of the term, before it acquired its urban dictionary entry:

glory hole (n.) 1825, “drawer or box where things are heaped together in a disorderly manner.” The first element probably is a variant of Scottish glaur “to make muddy, dirty, defile” (Middle English glorien, mid-15c.), which is perhaps from Old Norse leir “mud.” Hence, in nautical use, “a small room between decks,” and, in mining, “large opening or pit.” Meaning “opening through which the interior of a furnace may be seen and reached” (originally in glassblowing) is from 1849, probably from glory (n.), which had developed a sense of “circle or ring of light” by 1690s.

With that out of the way, I will say this is a fun place in the Sierra foothills, close to boating and attractions such as Angels Camp, which hosts the annual “Calaveras Jumping Frog Jubilee.”

img_2490For us, it’s about a 3 1/2 hour drive on Highway 4 East, all the way until you hit 49. This is the Gold Rush highway and there are all kinds of fun places to visit out there. New Melones Lake has 2 Bureau of Reclamation campgrounds: Tuttletown, and Glory Hole. The water level in the reservoir can vary dramatically, and there are times certain loops are either closed or have porta potties only. So be forewarned that you might need to check ahead to see what the status is. I had reserved a place in the Ironhorse loop and was notified that we’d been moved to Big Oak, due to refurbishment work. I can’t say porta potties are our favorite thing, but it wasn’t that big a deal and we have our own shower. We also had most of the place to ourselves, making for a nice getaway.

img_2502Our site gave us a nice view of the marina down below, and the door side of Dory was completely private. There wasn’t a lot of flat space near the driveway area, but there was a small level ledge with a picnic table below. There were water spigots running but I’ve seen reviews stating that sometimes the water gets shut off.

img_2500Saturday we ventured out on one of the hikes by Angels Creek. I’m pretty good at finding my way on trails, but I will say the signage out of the parking lot left me thinking we were on the Buck Brush trail, when in fact we were on the Angels Creek trail. It didn’t take me too long to figure it out, but Richard would have been lost forever over that kind of inadequate trail marking if he had been on his own. It was lucky Richard had downloaded a map on his phone ahead of time. It turned out to be a 2.5 mi hike when we were expecting more like a mile. It was easy though and mostly shaded.

img_2498Plus, we spotted what I initially thought was a fox, but turned out to be a squirrelus giganticus. I’m pretty sure that’s a new discovery and I hereby claim all rights, privileges, and wealth associated with the find.

New Melones Lake seems to have fingers that spread out forever. One of these days I’ll put my kayak in the water. I think the best place to launch would be from the “beach” at Angels Creek. With the water levels low, it would be an ordeal to get the boat down, so this was a hiking weekend only.

img_2508As we were sitting in our swing chairs, a friendly camper came over and started chatting. He began with questions about Altos, but ended up sharing a lot of good lakeside campground recommendations. He even wrote down the information to a reference book that he brought over later. Very friendly.

In all, this was a really nice place in the foothills. The weather was neither too hot, nor too cold, and we had a good view of the water from our site. We also got a nice sunset over the water, which is always one of my favorite things.

Total miles: 122.0, 3 hours 28 min, 15.4 mpg. Site 130 Big Oak loop. Bathrooms and showers temporarily closed. Water spigots working. No hookups but good solar. LTE for both of us. Good dump, but $8 fee, even for campers.

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