By July 5, 2011 Read More →

Sky High! Nearby.

It’s 8:30 PM and the gentle sun of early summer has finally dipped below the ever-expanding
tree tops of centuries-old fir, cedar, and sugar pine trees hovering over the campsites at
Pinecrest Campground in Pinecrest, CA

“These trees look different at night

. . . even scary,” my friend ponders
as we navigate the trailed border of
the campground, failing to recognize
woods familiar under the light of day
now made a mysterious shaded mass
beneath the night sky. “We should head
back,” I suggest, accepting the call of
our camp’s fire, drawn instinctually to
its warmth and the conversations created
while gazing at the mesmerizingflames.
Retracing the path previously
taken, our careful steps leading closer
and closer to the welcoming familiarity
of our wilderness home are interrupted
by nature’s lamp carried across the dark
recesses of the night air. “I have never
seen the moon so bright!” she exclaims,
as the previously lurking pines become
glorified by a moonlight that illuminates
the trail, revealing the passage
back into the more peopled areas of the
campground. Guided by the calming
gray of the night, we meander through
the collection of campsites each aglow
by well-tended fire pits circled by
campers young and old rooted in place
by the simple comfort of the company
of friends and family in the outdoors. “I
love that sound,” I say, enchanted by the
blurred rhythms of laughter and speech
emanating from campsites near. As we
reach our site, we join our friends and
family gathered around the fire and the
night slips slowly away as the sound of
crackling timber cedes to the rich silence
of nature.
Pinecrest Campground lies adjacent
to Pinecrest Lake at an elevation
of 5600’. All campsites feature a paved
pad for parking, fire ring, picnic table,
and most sites are treed. Each campsite
loop has multiple bathrooms with flush
toilets and sinks. Stationed throughout
the campground are dump stations and
water faucets with potable water. Although
many campsites bookmonths
in advance, some may be reserved up
to 48 hours in advance through www.
reserveamerica.com. If unable to secure
a site, Pinecrest offers multiple outdoor
activities easily experienced in a day
as the town is located a mere 70 miles
from Modesto.
Pinecrest Lake, stocked with rainbow
trout every week, satisfies the
angler in all. Bring up your own watercraft,
rent from the Pinecrest Lake Marina,
or simply bask in the sun on the
lake’s sandy beach. Although the hike
around the lake is beautiful, a personal
favorite activity is to explore the quite
backcountry east of the lake, following
the trail and scaling the rocks high
above Pinecrest in search of Cleo’s
Bath, steep-sided pools carved into the
granite. The approximately four hour
round-trip hike runs along the river
which feeds the lake and grants the
hiker with amazing views of waterfalls,
flowing intensely as snow continues to
melt at higher elevations.

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