Coming Full Circle – Final Stop at Jackson Meadows Reservoir

Wednesday (June 29): Yesterday morning, I said good bye to Fran and Jerry, the A-frame rally organizers along with a few other attendees and hit the road about 10:30AM. It was already heating up and the weather forecasts were announcing “excessive heat warnings” for the day.

Highway 395 is a major north/south thoroughfare on the eastern side of California. The part I drove on was a two-lane highway with occasional passing lanes. Broken yellow lines were also available for drivers who didn’t want to follow a car pulling a trailer driving the speed limit. I was driving 55 mph (towing speed limit) in a 65 mph zone. I inched my cruise control up to 60 out of empathy for the cars behind me. My bigger empathorial moments occurred whenever I would pull off to the side of the road and let everyone else fly by.

I turned onto the forest service road that leads into the Jackson Meadows area (East Meadows Campground). It was a familiar drive – this is the campground that Laura and I camped at with bikes, kayaks, and our dogs. It was an annual tradition for a number of years, often times with my brother and sister-in-law and their friends. Lots of fun memories.

In 2013, my friend Robin and I also camped here. The camping trip was supposed to include our mutual friend, Dick. Sadly, Dick passed away a month prior to our scheduled trip. Dick’s memorial service was held on the first day of the camping trip. After the conclusion of Dick’s memorial, Robin and I drove up here to Jackson Meadows. During our campout, we fashioned a floating memorial from driftwood and flowers, we each wrote a special message on it and set it afloat from our kayaks on the waters of the reservoir. So, some sad memories, too.

East Meadows Campground, Jackson Meadows Reservoir

Being here today has been a surprising experience. I originally booked a reservation here to break up the long drive home from Eagle Lake. I was familiar with the campground so it seemed like a logical choice. And it was. But the surprise came with the various emotions I experienced after arriving. It was a bit like coming back to a hometown. I walked the loops of campsites and remembered some of the events of earlier visits I described above. I took a swim in the lake and thought about the numerous kayaking adventures. And the fun campfires trickled into my memory stream as well. I noticed I was feeling a bit melancholy. Not sure if it was related to the memories or the awareness of the approaching last drive. Maybe both.

Jackson Meadows Reservoir
Jackson Meadows Reservoir
Jackson Meadows Reservoir
Jackson Meadows Reservoir
Somedays I feel like this tree looks.
The campground is located in a beautiful setting.
Flying high.
Evening light

As dusk approached, I walked down to the waterline and watched the sunset on my last day of this trip. In familiar fashion, it was a beautiful experience.

Last sunset of this trip

So, in a couple of ways, this location brings me full circle, to a place of closure: it is the last stop of my five-week roadtrip journey. It is a return to a place from a different time in my life.

And in a funny coincidence, it is a return to the campground where I was first introduced to an A-frame camper. My brother’s good friend Bob (and I claim Bob as my friend, too) arrived at one of those annual camping trips with a new A-frame trailer. As he showed us the various features and logistics of setting it up, I mentally made a note to be sure I got one of those someday. So here I am.

This morning, I walked down to the water for an early visit. The water was calm, almost mirror-like. It was early enough that I was pretty much alone at the lake. The air was still. My hearing is bad so I couldn’t hear how quiet it was. I could see one small fishing boat across the lake, trolling along peacefully.

Early morning at the lake. All is calm.
The air and water were still.

Soon, I’ll drive down into the muggy valley, park the trailer and unpack. It will likely be 100+ degrees. And I know I’ll be sad about the end of this trip. I’m scheduled to be camping again in less than three weeks…if I can wait that long!

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