I was 46 years old the first time I ever saw Pinecrest Lake. I know most of you will find that difficult to believe. I was nine years old when we moved to Turlock and I was fortunate enough to visit a lot of lakes in Northern California during my childhood. My parents had a boat and we spent a lot of time on Lake Oroville and Don Pedro. But my first time to see Pinecrest Lake was in January of 2014 when we went to visit a dear friend, and to tell you the truth, I wasn’t impressed.
In the midst of the severe drought that winter, there wasn’t any water in the lake. Just old, dead trees and lots of big boulders. The patchy, dirty snow around the lake didn’t help the appearance. Leroy kept telling me how beautiful it was, but it just looked like a big hole to me. My whole perspective changed this past weekend. Now I believe I have fallen in love with this little lake. (UDPATE: I've learned that the lake is drained every year. No water was not due to drought. It's routine.)
We went back to visit our friend (and I’ll never be able to thank her enough for the constant inviting that finally persuaded us to commit to a date.) The lake is filled to capacity and just as serene and beautiful as all of the descriptions I’ve heard over the years. The campgrounds were filled to capacity with happy families and smoky fires. Every cabin had occupants and several were decorated for the Independence Day holiday. It was like visiting a movie set.
We had plans of hiking the loop trail that goes around the lake, but a recent re-injury of my right foot has me in boot… so that will have to be done on another trip. Instead, Leroy rented a small boat and we went around the perimeter in the water… which was a great way to see the lake! Leroy and our friend reminisced about the wonderful times they spent on the trail (and in the lake) with family and friends. Each bend in the shoreline brought a flood of memories for each one and they told stories of their past adventures. I day-dreamed of the adventures that could come by making new memories with our kids and grand-kids too.
One of the best parts of the entire experience was being “off the grid” without cell service in that area. Instead we sat and watched the birds and squirrels, napped, played with the dogs and truly relaxed and most important of all, spent time with a beloved friend (and ate some pretty delicious food too!) I played a bit with my camera including my first attempt at “astrophotography.” Considering a few technical difficulties (a dead battery on my remote, too much moonlight and the wrong lens) I’m still pretty happy with the results. Not bad for a first attempt, but next time I’ll be better prepared. (The lens is already in my Amazon cart.)