Monday May 25: We are up early to finish packing, as today we are leaving the Pit River Campground in northeastern California on our journey back to Idaho. We have a quick breakfast of yogurt topped with applesauce, and as we are getting ready to go, we hear the couple, who came in late yesterday, shouting at each other and babies crying. Someone calls the sheriff. How sad that people live in such unhappiness; it is very unsettling to me. Not a good way to end such a lovely peaceful stay as we have had here.
We are soon on our way, heading north on highway 299, with beautiful cumulus clouds billowing above us. Past Fall River Mills the valley opens up; lots of ponderosa and some ranch land, then back into sage brush land.
When we arrive at Goose Lake, which straddles the California-Oregon border and appears on the map to be a body of water stretching for 20 miles, there is virtually no lake left. The drought has made it impossible for this lake to be replenished. Dry steep barren hills and sagebrush dominate the landscape along with the mud flat that was once a lake bottom.
We had planned to spend the night at Goose Lake State Park, but it is still early afternoon and seeing the condition of the area, we decide to push on. It is a bit of a long haul to our next destination, but Clifford is up for it. The road, although narrow, is straight and flat with not much traffic, so we make good time. Leaving Lakeview, the town north of Goose Lake where we stop for gas, the landscape reminds me of the country south of Lamy, New Mexico, where we used to live: rugged with sage, juniper, and small pines.
Arthur Lake, which on the map is much smaller than Goose Lake, is a sizable body of water set in a most barren landscape of flat land to the west and rock-strewn mesas along the highway to the east of us.
Once past Arthur Lake, the mesas open up to miles and miles of sagebrush, nothing but sagebrush.
We are happy to finally arrive at the town of Riley, where we turn at the junction toward the BLM Chickahominy Campground just a few miles to the west.
We drive through the campground, grateful to be here, looking for a site out the wind. We end up picking a site, designated by nothing more than a rugged plank picnic table, alongside the reservoir. It is windy everywhere, so we might as well go for pretty. The landscape here has its own unique beauty with a mix of black lava rock, obsidian, and sagebrush. The reservoir is lower than normal, but it still has water and here we have the best views. Later the wind dies down and it is quite pleasant. Even though we are doing a modified set-up, the tub of pots and pans is accessible and I cook a real meal to nourish our weary bodies.