Beautiful end to a short summer.
This was our last stopover before returning home. As we approached Susanville to head back up into the mountains, we saw a big fire up near the Eagle Lake area that was filling the sky with smoke. The astronomers had all noted that the sky was hazy the night we were there, and we let The Agees know it wasn’t likely to clear up in Likely any time soon. Luckily, our route took us past it and away from the direction of the smoke and toward Lake Almanor, where we stopped for a nice little lunch.
The Hogg Fire
We didn’t have reservations or much information about our destination area, but our chief interest was in staying high enough in elevation that we could avoid the 104º temperatures reported for the Central Valley. There are only so many ways to traverse the Sierras and this was one we’d never tried. From Quincy, on highway 89/70, you head west on Buck’s Lake Road. We encountered a sign shortly after making the turn indicating that there were steep grades of 15+% and I couldn’t read whether our route was or was not recommended for RVs. So that was exciting. Bruce did a fine job ascending and I agree that those were probably in excess of 15% in some places. However, the climb did pay off and we had very pleasant temperatures. And the road was well paved, with no really deathy spots.
Good road conditions.
The Whitehorse Campground was nice and woodsy and we easily found a site set apart from anyone else. There was evidence of a little river running along the edge, but there was barely a trickle at this time. There were nice little landings by the would-be stream, and plenty of room to hang out. All that was missing was the lake.
We decided to drive around a little to check out the area and see how one might access the lake. There are a couple of campgrounds, including a PG&E campground that I’m not sure how to reserve, unless it is just by calling the phone number. It was closer to the lake and had access to a boat launch area. There is also Grizzly Creek, a forest service campground, which is very small and not near anything, but did have sites that might have been big enough for Dory. Many of the campgrounds were closed, so it’s good to check ahead of time. There is a nice directory of campgrounds here.
Pretty little trail you can catch from the campground.
After scoping out the lake, I wanted to get a bit of a preview of the road that would lead us down. I wasn’t too keen on 15% descents. So we drove maybe seven or eight miles, seeing no evidence of dangerous conditions. Still, we like to be extra safe, so we stopped briefly at one of the lakeside resort restaurants and asked the locals. Richard was masked of course, and no one sitting at the tables outside was. The servers inside were masked at least, and they assured us there was no problem with the road and that it would get us all the way down to Oroville. So we took a short little hike on a nearby trail, tucked in for our last night, and finished off Season 5 of “Better Call Saul.”
Posted signs for 8-13% grades
The drive down was steep for sure, and we paid close attention to the road grade signs. Nothing exceeded 13%, and going slowly while using engine braking about half the time, it was not a problem. We did see a lot of smoke in the air as we departed, so the winds must have shifted in the night. It’s amazing how much area is affected by fires hundreds of miles away.
Just don’t light a match around here…
So there we are. Thus ends our first foray into the world of Covid Camping. We have reservations back on the calendar for our normal weekend groove and we just hope things don’t close back down. We figure if we are careful and carry plenty of hooch based sanitizing supplies, we can try to keep this up. Lord knows the school year is going to be plenty stressful and my mental health will benefit greatly from our weekly Altotherapy.
Total miles to home from Whitehorse: 189.6, 16.3 mpg, 4 hours 37 min, site 13. Shady sites, no hookups, vault toilet (I think, we didn’t use it), NO cell service for either of us (which was kinda nice on our last night).