October, 13, 2012
We have perfect weather and a lovely campsite for our stay here. This area has a large campground on the lake that is not suited to our needs. It is set up for tent camping only; vehicle camping is in a large unattractive parking lot. We might as well stay at Walmart; at least it is free there! But WLNRA also have a number of what they call “primitive campgrounds”. We chose Peltier Bridge which has 9 sites along Clear Creek, the outflow of the large Whiskeytown Lake Dam. This becomes a good location because it is near enough to town (Redding) to do errands and resupply, near some of the best mountain biking in the state for Chris, and near a lake to kayak for me. I spend a lot of the time at the campsite, doing camp tasks, relaxing, meditating, photographing, writing.
We have a view of a small section the creek. The creek is sizable, too deep to wade across, some holes look over six feet in depth. It beckons for a swim but is very cold and I don’t go in over my knees. Occasionally birds appear. I saw a large bird flapping near the far shore and was surprised to see a hawk bathing. A group of four mergansers periodically show up with their wild red heads, either resting, preening, or fishing. A smaller, shy duck hides along the shore, a male wood duck in his more subdued winter plumage. When I lay in my hammock, small nondescript birds feed on the lower branches overhead. They inspect cracks in the bark and peck at the small bunches of wild grapes, where the weft of the many grape vines are woven through the warp of the tree branches. I can tell that some are wrens, others possibly sparrows or warblers, but I can’t identify any specific species.