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Judy Zerbe and Kathy Nicholson. Judy's an open-hearted and joyous woman whom I met at contra dancing, and she was a wonderful friend that spring.
It was one of George Jammal's July fourth weekends at Tahoe. I went up there late, Friday morning, with my friend Judy Zerbe. I'd met Judy at contra dancing and she was a wonderful friend that spring -- a terrible spring when my sister was dying and I was blind in one eye and lost my job and had my novel rejected and Lois had put me out of her life yet again. Judy's openness and hmor was just was I needed. Just a couple of weeks earlier she had taken me in for my cataract surgery with doctor McKenzie, so on the way up to Tahoe I felt reborn. I could see again -- in three dimensions and Cinemascope -- and everything was beautiful.
We got there too late for George's hike to Velma Lakes, but it was nice under the pines, and when George and his group got back I discovered that my friend Kathy Nicholson, a schoolteacher from Monterey, was among them. I was happy to see her again.
In the evening there was a wonderful potluck and a community sing, accompanied by Bruce Singer -- a Monterey screenwriter I'd heard Kathy talking to -- on guitar. Bruce's wife Tarah, Kathy told me later, was an actress and a novelist. She'd been in a couple of movies and now was writing a historic novel of the Monterey area for teenagers.
Bruce's spaghetti sauce was terrific, too.
I was hoping to find someone eager for hiking the next day, but most of the other people felt like rafting or chilling out. Kathy was up for a small hike, so Judy and I drove down with her to the trailhead to Eagle Falls. That turned out to be only a mile's amble, but on the way someone told Kathy about a short hike to Grass lake, three miles or so, and Kathy was excited about that.
The Grass Lake trail started from the end of Fallen Leaf Lake, and its start was a fire road covered with gravel the size of eggs and just as hard to walk on. Kathy was tired. She kept asking people coming the other way how far Grass lake was, how hard the trail was. We get there around three, ate our sandwiches, took our photos, and headed back.
Kathy and I confer about the state of the trail. How much further, Lord?
On Sunday morning, while everyone else was trying to get packed up for an early start homewards, Judy and I headed out to look for Lost Lake, whose trail started right at the campground. I'd misplaced the contour map I'd gotten the day before, but we decided to take the Lost Lake trail, which started right from the campground -- probably we wouldnt need a map for that. It was level and easy going. Lots of flowers, especially mule ears.
We made a brief detour to a mosquito-infested lake called Lily Pond, and while there Judy took a sip of her Safeway Select apricot-flavored bottled water, decided it was too sweet, and poured two thirds of it out before I could stop her. When I tried to convince her that that was not a sensible thing to have done, she splashed the remaining third on me. It was a hot day, and without the Safeway Select we had only a single quart of water to get us back to camp. I believed some traveler would find our dessicated corpses later in the season, probably after they'd been ravaged by coyotes, but Judy thought I was overreacting.
We went back to the main trail, which took us through lovely meadows and then began to climb. A man and a woman came down the trail towards us. The Pacific Crest trail was about a mile onward, they said, but they hadn't succeeded in finding Lost Lake. They'd looked for it the previous year too.
There was a sign to it quarter of a mile ahead, they said, where a trail went to the left over the stream. Judy thought we should go that far at least. So we went on and had our meager lunch, a few rye crackers with peanut butter, at the side of the stream.
There hadn't been much climbing and we couldn't have hiked very far, but on the way back to the campground I was feeling exhausted from the heat and the lack of water. It was good to get back to the campground -- which was deserted now -- and good to head back to Santa Cruz.
[Nota bene: This page, like all the others in this site, is in progress. The text is hastily written stuff designed mostly to fill the gaps between the photos. Please let me know if you find anything false, misleading, offensive, or intrusive to your privacy. It's hard to maintain privacy on the internet! Let me know too if there's a photo or something in the text that should be removed or something that should be added. I have not set up this site primarily for my own sake but for my family and friends -- and I welcome all corrections, additions, and suggestions about how to improve it!]
Joel at Año Nuevo
Copyright © 1999 T. N. R. Rogers. All rights reserved. Last revised 9 jun 99.