Not a drop of water. No mud. No dampness.
For the first time since leaving the Central Coast of California in June, the terrain is so parched it's black. The golden yellows, lavender gray, and fluffy sages replaced by charcoal black shrubs and bare dirt.
At the highest elevations along the route the pines and cedars are brownish red, while the undergrowth is brittle-dry.
Occasionally there is a burst of bright yellow flowers, or a rich green stand of trees where underground water must still be present. It feels like they are surrounded by an encroaching army of dry-death.
|Holding out for reinforcements|
This area is a desert. Even in the wettest of times, this area is always a desert. This is different.
We're staying in Susanville, CA for a week. While there is a small park in Standish, about 13 miles away on Hwy 395, we opt for the only park in town - Susanville RV Park.
There's a Jeep dealership here for the service we need, it's a good meeting spot to see our sister-in-law's daughter, and there are alpine lakes in the surrounding Lassen National Forest.
The park is clean and nicely landscaped, with friendly hosts. Sites are close together with green space, picnic tables on concrete, FHUs with 50 amps. Our satellite works in site #71, the park WiFi is okay, and they have cable TV. Propane for sale and a dump station.
Turns out the dump station is a necessity as the sewer hookups at our site, and most of the others, are elevated, making it "challenging" to keep things flowing in the right direction. In addition, the concrete pads have sunk and broken in several places. We wouldn't stay here again for more than a night or two.
After enjoying our Sunday of NFL Football, we head out Monday for Eagle Lake. It's a loop drive and we start out on the southeast side. The forest is dry as expected, but near the 6,000' summit we see blue through the trees. Water! At last!
We spend some time at the Day Use Area, walking about 100 yards to the water's edge. The three fishermen waded out about 10 yards aren't catching anything. There are ducks, a blue heron and even a couple pelicans. Here, plant life holds on in many colors.
|I don't know where else they can land for 100's of miles|
|Rich green forest on a small peninsula|
|Delicate grasses at water side|
|Bright purple succulents cling to the damp beach|
Tessa runs and zooms and even steps into the lake a couple feet - like us, she is so happy to find water!
|Following a little bug|
Continuing north, and then west, we see how big this lake is. And see that the only water remaining is what we saw near the summit.
The brief reprieve from the reality of the drought is over, and once again we travel for miles along the completely dry vistas of what was once a lake. Numerous "water-front" homes are for sale. Boats sit in driveways with fading and cracking covers.
|The different colors of a lake dying|
|Heat mirages mock the lack of water|
|Homes bought on the water front now look over a large brown valley|
Between Eagle Lake and Susanville are three more lakes and a reservoir.
You guessed it. They're on the map but no longer "there".
We pull out the scope and tri-pod to view the Blood Moon, but the only clouds are in the East. After waiting and hoping, we give up. An hour later we catch the end of the eclipse without the scope, but can say we saw it!
Today we meet up with Jenna and Doug who have driven a couple hours to bring me my new drum. I am so excited to meet this wonderful instrument that Jenna made for me. Born on the new moon, it has amazing spirit.
I forget to get pics of our meet up, and our tasty lunch at El Tepeyac Grille. Really have to get better at that.
The Jeep goes to see the doctor tomorrow, and Friday we continue south.