Saturday, August 20, 2016

Clark Fork Campground and the Attack of the Bees

Resting in the hammock, I listened to the sounds of nature in this pretty campground located in the Stanislaus NF off of highway 108.  The meat-eating bees were buzzing and flying into the trap of sardine water that my daughter had made earlier that day. We couldn't tell if a bee kept going into the bottle because of the smell of sardines or trying to rescue their fellow bee.

The campground was mostly empty since school had started, which is a week earlier than last year. So the third week of August, which would normally be a busy time for families in the past to camp, was very quiet. Only one family with very young kids were at the opposite end of the campground. Otherwise, the other few campers were elderly folks. Out of 88 sites there were only about 15 occupied.

Our site was nestled in a group of shrubs, nice and private.

The campground is surrounded by rocky peaks, but from our campsite the view was of the pines.

Some of the surrounding peaks are on the edge of the Carson Iceberg Wilderness. On the first day, we hiked the Arnot Creek trail, which is located at the end of a dirt road just a short distance from the entrance to the campground. We hiked from our campsite to the junction of Arnot Creek and Woods Gulch and back, round trip was about 7 miles at an elevation of 6,350 feet.

Our second day hike was to the beautiful Sword Lake in the Carson Iceberg Wilderness. After the long drive to the parking area near the entrance to the trail, we made the steep climb up the trail for a wonderful view of the Stanislaus NF. Sadly, a hive of bees had taken a liking to this area of rocks. I got stung in the knee while admiring the view.

From this point, it was almost all down hill to the lake. We crossed a meadow along the ridge and then did a series of switchbacks down the mountain. Along the way, we were rewarded with spectacular views towards Spicer Reservoir. 

There were miles of granite and pine to be seen.

The hike from County Line to Sword Lake is 2 miles, at least that is what the National Forrest Service states, but it felt like a good 3- 3.5 mile hike to the lake. Once we got to the lake, we were rewarded with wonderful views of the Dardanelles. 

The water was so inviting that we took a quick dip to cool and refresh our sweaty bodies. 

Before heading back, we took a photo of us and the Dardanelles behind us. We didn't want to leave this beautiful place, but we knew we had the long and slow climb back up the mountain to the car. As we headed out, a group of backpackers were coming in to camp for the night at the lake. I prefer the comforts of the RV. 

So, off we trudged along the trail passing many different flowers in bloom, like the Indian Paint Brush, and taking in the wonderful views of the Dardanelles.

Mother nature provided a lesson on different ways tree branches form along the trunks of the pine trees- -way cool!

I needed numerous rest stops while climbing back up the mountain. One can't complain of the scenery along the way. 

A shady rest stop was badly needed before walking past the rock pile of nasty bees. So, I rested well before making the last quick dash up the hill past the pile of rocks. From there, it was the short and steep descent back to the car.

Back at camp, more of the meat-eating bees had committed suicide. We were amazed at how many had ventured into the trap.  

After a peaceful night of rest, we took one last hike around the campground (mid-morning) looking at all the sites and commenting on which ones would be nice for future stays.

Of course Meeks gave us that look of do we have to go home so soon. I'm sure that she wanted to be back at the lake. 

Yes, we will return again to this lovely lake and to explore this region more.