Big Trinity Damsels

View Another Adventureexpand_moreexpand_less
menu
July 6, 2013

Brenna and I drive to the recently opened Trinity Recreation Area to camp along Big Trinity Lake and feed the mosquitoes. She swims, makes me a flower salad and map while I prepare the hotdogs and marshmallows. After a restless night we leave to the sunrise reflecting fire off placid waters.

Cooling our heels in the South Fork
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Cooling our heels in the South Fork
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9257864891
infoinfo_outline

“I got ready for nothing!” she wailed with a disappointment bordering on despair.

I always expected we would leave the next day, Saturday, but Brenna had it in her head we could get our chores done and leave sooner. Even after dark she was still expecting we’d leave soon. “You can turn on the headlights,” she reasoned.

Since Hunter and I camped a few weeks ago¹ she has been eager to do the same. With Jessica visiting family back east, I promised a trip to the mountains. By the time I told her we’d need to leave the next day, close to midnight, she had three bags of clothes and a pile of blankets and games ready by the front door.

  1. Trail Image, “Asleep Along Eagleson”: trailimage.com/asleep-along-eagleson
Trinity Lookout Road
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Trinity Lookout Road
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9260645288
infoinfo_outline

Have you noticed the dust caked to the back of your car after a drive down a dirt or gravel road? It turns out Wranglers have no magic to prevent that dust from settling on everything inside when the top is off. The best time to go topless, ironically, is during rain, snow or city driving.

Below Trinity Lookout
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Below Trinity Lookout
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9260647556
infoinfo_outline

Brenna managed to survive until Saturday. With word that the Trinity Recreation Area was opening for the first time after last fall’s big fire,¹ it seemed a nice high altitude choice for getting out of the recent heat wave.

  1. KTVB, “Fire-scarred Trinity Lakes to reopen early”: ktvb.com/…/Fire-scarred-Trinity-Ridge-to-open-early-this-year-213201821
Our spot
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Our spot
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9260648974
infoinfo_outline

“This is a really good spot, isn’t it dad?” Brenna remarked more than once. Since she planned to swim we looked for easy water access. She was very pleased with the result.

photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9260650032
infoinfo_outline
Sleeping plan
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Sleeping plan
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9260651438
infoinfo_outline
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9257874129
infoinfo_outline
Right to the water
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Right to the water
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9257875871
infoinfo_outline
Ten thousand bugs
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Ten thousand bugs
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9260656468
infoinfo_outline
Blue damsels
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Blue damsels
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9257879627
infoinfo_outline

We found a nice campsite with a tiny beach along Big Trinity Lake. I was concerned when I saw so many bugs on the water. As we got closer I was relieved to discover they were thousands upon thousands of harmless damselflies.

photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9257880815
infoinfo_outline
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9260661720
infoinfo_outline
Joy
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Joy
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9257884357
infoinfo_outline
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9257885685
infoinfo_outline
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9260666800
infoinfo_outline
Warm up after the swim
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Warm up after the swim
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9260668660
infoinfo_outline
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9257891389
infoinfo_outline
Trail 180
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Trail 180
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9260672532
infoinfo_outline

After her swim, warm-up and snack, we decided to strike out for “adventure.”

photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9260674646
infoinfo_outline
Above the lake
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Above the lake
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9260677024
infoinfo_outline
photo_camera

Camera Settings

http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9260679032
infoinfo_outline
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9257900887
infoinfo_outline
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9260682072
infoinfo_outline
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9260683704
infoinfo_outline
Making my lunch
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Making my lunch
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9260685864
infoinfo_outline
Yum
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Yum
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9257907709
infoinfo_outline

Brenna and I walked through the trees and across a shaded creek making quiet song over smooth, mossy stones. Then up a hill of flower festooned outcrops where she crouched below the stone faced mountain to prepare a lunch for me.

“Sit there, dad” she insisted. Obviously I complied.

photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9257910003
infoinfo_outline
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9257912173
infoinfo_outline
New neighbors
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
New neighbors
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9257913889
infoinfo_outline

A couple arrived in a pickup and began fishing from our small beach. “It isn’t nice to splash where people are fishing,” I explained to Brenna.

Guts
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Guts
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9260695850
infoinfo_outline

“I guess we don’t get dinner,” I heard the guy say when he lost a bite. Brenna had a nice time asking about bobbers, hooks and worms. Finally they caught one and she watched intently as they pulled it in and gutted it.

“It was cool,” Brenna told me, “and gross.”

photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9260697732
infoinfo_outline
Cartographer
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Cartographer
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9257920201
infoinfo_outline

While I prepared our fire and food, Brenna pulled pens from her mountain of camping supplies and began making a map for our safe return home.

The map!
photo_camera

Camera Settings

The map!
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9260702644
infoinfo_outline

Brenna proudly presented the map when she was done, pointing out the down trees we’d need to avoid. “Can you use it when we go home?” she pled.

“Sure,” I answered.

“Just pretend,” she acknowledged. She’s been keen about “real” versus “pretend” these last months.

photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9257923981
infoinfo_outline
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9260706316
infoinfo_outline
After dinner walk
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
After dinner walk
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9257928235
infoinfo_outline

“What does that mean?” Brenna asked when I used the word “nincompoop” (I think a muttered self-reference about my marshmallow toasting).

“Someone whose brain doesn’t work right,” I explained.

Later when she heard me complain about whoever on the other side of the lake was running a generator non-stop she asked, “do their brains not work right?”

I liked the connection. “I don’t think so, bub.”

After dinner I thought it would be nice to walk around the lake and perhaps glance condescendingly at the folks who needed to run a generator all afternoon among the otherwise quiet mountains.

Smoke on the water
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Smoke on the water
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9260710658
infoinfo_outline
Before sunup
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Before sunup
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9257932477
infoinfo_outline

It may have been coincidence that the racket stopped shortly after Brenna and I found the offenders, looked a moment at their generator and then took their picture. But I like to think it was the power of passive aggression.

Unfortunately, we found no kind of aggression sufficient to ward off the mosquitoes. They were brutal. That camping-in-the-open-air idea took a turn for the worse. I expected the mosquitoes to quit when it got dark and cooled off but they buzzed around my face all night until daybreak when they redoubled their efforts and numbers.

Not enough sleep
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Not enough sleep
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9260714174
infoinfo_outline

We couldn’t sleep any more and even with a fire started we were no better than mosquito meatsicles. We’d had our fun. I quickly tossed everything in the Jeep and we left.

Sunrise on Big Trinity
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Sunrise on Big Trinity
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9257935915
infoinfo_outline
Hasty retreat
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Hasty retreat
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9260718270
infoinfo_outline
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9260720670
infoinfo_outline
Mosquito netting
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Mosquito netting
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9260723368
infoinfo_outline
Last look
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Last look
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9260725940
infoinfo_outline
Trinity Recreation Area
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Trinity Recreation Area
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/9260727826
infoinfo_outline

There is everywhere evidence of last year’s big fire but great beauty remains, plenty to dazzle a five-year-old and her dad.

Oh, and I did consult Brenna’s map repeatedly as we drove home. She would unfold it and hand it to me without a word. “Ah, looks like there’s a turn coming up,” I might say before handing it back. It brought us safely home.