This past weekend Michael, I, and a few of our friends had a wonderfully relaxing trip to the Kern river. Me, being my awesome self, remembered to take the camera. Me, being my not awesome self, didn’t take a single picture. Picture are kind of essential to explaining a trip to the Kern river so I will post a sequel to this when my friend Diana, who is much more together in the camera/picture taking department, sends hers.
I realized last weekend that I have been to the Kern river every year for the past five years. The Kern is one of those places that sneaks up on you in more ways than one. Coming from one direction you trek across the crushing flatness of Bakersfield until you suddenly are winding through narrow canyons with the river, in high seasons, splashing only a few yards from the road. From the other direction you feel like a rugged explorer abandoned in the desert, slogging through miles of dusty grey dunes and jagged grey rocks until you wind up a hill and find yourself in a comparatively lush river valley. If you know where to look, Kern can be a poor man’s Yosemite.
Over the last few years I’ve been to the river with a number of different people, but this year me, Mo, and Sara, three out of the original four who started these camping trips, were part of the gang. It made me a little nostalgic. Five years ago we were four girls in the middle of our second year of college. It was Mo and Mel’s first real camping trip. We had a campsite that looked great on first blush, but we quickly found out that having no trees meant waking up at 6:00am and jumping in the river to escape the heat. We spent hours hiking and playing board games and eating tuna fish sandwiches and drinking cheap beer for breakfast in the watering hole while making dump jokes and just enjoying each other’s company. We loved that trip so much that we decided to camp out every year, picking a new place in California to go every Labor Day weekend. So far we have visited Kern, Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo, and Malibu Canyon. This year we have spots reserved in Big Sur and I can’t wait!
Going this year made me go through some of my old pictures. Yup, we’re still really dorky.
Our campsite at the Kern
Hiking in the Sequoias
Breakfast in the river.
This year at the Kern we had a few more people. A husband, a few boyfriends. Mo now lives in San Francisco, Sara almost has her teaching credential, I’ve got a bachelor’s degree in business. Mel couldn’t come because she’s saving up for her photography classes in the fall. We’ve added Diana to our pack. But as we swam in the river and ate tuna fish sandwiches, played silly board games, and laughed at stupid jokes I realized why I never remember that I come to Kern every year. Because, even though everything else in life swirls and changes, the Kern always seems to stay the same.
Next week I’ll be in Texas, visiting my grandparents. Look forward to some exciting posts from good ol’ Paris, TX.