Arrival at Eastman Lake
We have finally arrived at Eastman Lake Recreation Area near Madera CA. This is where we will have our first work camping experience. For our friends that aren’t RVers work camping is simply working for your site in many cases and sometimes for pay. We have chosen the volunteer route where you volunteer to work a set number of hours a week in exchange for your campsite. We feel this is a way to lessen our expenses and at the same time be of benefit to the parks that are really feeling the pinch in these difficult economic times. Parks have used work campers for many years but from what we have been told they are relying on them even more now.
California had lots of rain in December and consequently lots of flooding so last week I called to check on the campground. On Monday they were fully open and things were fine. When we arrived there were signs indicating the campground was closed and the road up to the campground was blocked off. We went off towards the day use area so we could find the number to call the office. That’s when we found out out how weak the cell coverage is here. I finally got the number and called the office. The lady on the phone said they were expecting us and she would send someone down to help move the barricades so we could drive up to the campground. The campground had been closed because at the area where the road turns to go up to the campground they had a rockslide earlier in the week and until the weather improves they decided to close it to all except the rangers, staff and volunteers. We haven’t met the other volunteers yet but there are two other trailers here and we all have the campground to ourselves.
This terrain is different than anything we have seen before. It is the foothills of the Sierra so it is hilly with lots of rock outcroppings. John thinks it looks like Middle Earth from the Lord of the Rings (just needs a few hobbit houses). Each campsite has a covered picnic table and fire ring and the driveway/pad is asphalt. We are near the entrance. We walked the campground last night and the road is narrow but there are many nice sites that would fit even big rigs. The sites are varied in their services: a few FHU sites, some water and electric and some with no services. The best sites are actually a couple with no water or electric, that have long enough drives and overlook the lake. Someday when we have solar we’ll have to come back and stay in one of those sites.
Ranger Angela took us around all the buildings and areas of the park today and explained many of the jobs we could be doing. I think first up is to move some fill dirt into the horse pens in the Equestrian campground. That ought to burn a few calories. We also are going to hike the Lakeview Trail (4 miles) to check on it’s condition and do littler pick up. We are looking forward to doing some manual labor we have been much too sedentary this fall. There are some other projects she has in mind as time goes on.
We also are looking forward to some of the wildlife we are likely to see here. We were told there is a bobcat with some kits that is often seen in the campground. They have a pair of Bald Eagles that are nesting on the lake not far from our site. We have already seen several Red Tail Hawks, hummingbirds, egrets and heron. And that was just one hike. I am including a couple photos, but the weather is pretty gray with lots of fog right now so they are not the best. I am looking forward to doing more photography once the sun comes out, hopefully later this week.
Also to follower E Squared and Mui, I have been unable to find my disk for Lightroom. It is funny how when you move some things just disappear. If I could find it I definitely would have it on my computer. It was my favorite photo editing program, I’ve tried others and though they are ok, they just don’t have the ease and abilities in RAW format that Lightroom does. Thanks for trying to help me out. I think what I need are more memory cells!