Isabelle Saint-Guily and Carl Inglin invited me to join their private trip scheduled for the new moon in July. The one-hour drive from Santa Rosa to Napa was through luscious vinyards. Liam joined us on the trip, so there were four of us who had camped in Loon Lake together in 2014. This time, I paddled Isabelle’s kevlar canoe with her — the boat’s first time in the water in two years. Carl paddled a solo canoe with us, putting in on Thursday afternoon. Liam wanted to make sure we got a good site, so he left Novato with his kayak at 5 a.m. on Thursday and scouted several sites, selecting a great one in Pleasant Campground near a beach and near the refurbished composting toilet. Carl, Isabelle and I were on the water at 2:30 p.m. and the wind was at our backs, so the paddle took only about an hour.
Carl and Isabelle were up early every morning, making coffee out on the rocks, painting and reading. It was a surprise to find that I was not the first one up. The campsite was quiet and dark at night because of the new moon, and shady during the day.
Liam had this map with him, and he thinks we were in campsite six. The island was farther away and Isabelle swam out there to discover it was a bird nesting area — but no Loons!
Carl found this great old map showing the lakes before they were flooded to create water supply for SMUD.
We enjoyed short hikes, but we could feel the altitude. Friday was pretty quiet during the day, but Friday night and Saturday morning the campsites around us started to fill up. We had to do some trail adjustment to deter hikers from walking through our camp. The trail marker sign was broken so we made the correct trail for hikers more visible by clearing it and lining it with light-colored stones.
Friday night we hiked up the rocks to watch the sunset. Carl got this great shot.
We were all thrilled to learn that France was playing in the World Cup Final on Sunday 15 July and Isabelle needed to return to Napa to watch it with her Alliance Francaise friends, so we left Saturday after breakfast and stopped for lunch during the drive home. Liam had scouted a lily pond so we checked it out on the paddle back.
On the way back, Isabelle, Carl and I stopped at Bassi campground to wade in the stream and enjoy our lunch. Traffic was slow at 4 p.m. as we drove through Vacaville and traffic was stopped where 121 and 116 join to connect with the 101 freeway so I took highway 12 through Sonoma to get home. A beautiful end to a fun and relaxing camping trip.