Last weekend, J and I drove to Three Rivers, California to meet four of our friends for a weekend of riverside relaxing.
Our rental car smelled of affordable luxury. The bluetooth connection kept us entertained through music and tech podcasts.
Exiting the interstate, we crossed through farmland specializing in onions, dairy cows, and bees with a death wish. As we approached our destination, the landscape was hilly and home to citrus and olive orchards.
Our rental house was sloppily expanded and off a cul-de-sac. The front yard looked cursed, unlike the backyard. A massive deck overlooked a grassy bank full of river rocks. The cold water creek had a swift flow, but was only knee deep.
Four of us brought our chairs into the water and dipped our legs while waiting for the last couple to arrive.
For dinner, we ate lamb burgers on the deck. Then we bonded over a horrible Steve Martin movie from the 80s.
For breakfast, flapjacks and compote.
After a slow start, we drove into Sequoia to hike around the old trees. Unlike last trip, we saw no bears.
Legends of the fall.
General Sherman, the most famous tree in the park. This photo offers no sense of scale.
Severe fire damage.
If a tree crashes onto a fence and no one is there to hear it, does the fence get repaired?
A massive debris pile.
M on a trunk.
Under bark bug highway.
Exploring a massive tree.
It opened up my eyes.
After the hike, we drove further up the road and setup our picnic on the empty deck of a lodge. As we started eating, we watched two fisherman enter the meadow and disappear behind shrubbery.
We enjoyed our meal, and had packed up when one of the men approached us. His friend had broken his leg after getting stuck in the mud. None of our phones worked, but J found a pay phone to call 911. Two park rangers arrived after little delay and they went to investigate, instructing us to drive up the road an meet the ambulance at a dirt road on the other side of the meadow.
We waited for the ambulance, then headed down to help the man. One ranger explained the plan, and we took off our shoes to wade in the freezing mud. Like a caterpillar, we walked the stretcher out of the mud, then up the hill.
The injured man was thankful and a little embarrassed. I was embarrassed for feeling good about doing a good deed, and was ready to stop crowding him at the ambulance. J thought I was trying get away too fast and that she had married a stone-cold monster.
That evening, we ate pasta on the porch then finished with a variety of convenience store ice creams. We could be heroes.
Sunday morning, we packed, tidied the house, checked out, and brought sandwiches to eat alongside the river feeding into Kaweah Reservoir. While we were there, we spotted a baby mouse, ant lion larvae, and a giant grasshopper.
JK in the rear.
J and I.
An adorable baby mouse that was either eaten or rescued when we came back to check on it.
The Three Rivers Gang.
We parted happy that we could meet and sad that the weekend was so short. Each of us had to leave the relaxing rivers and go back our version of hell.