Tuesday, September 18, 2018

#RetroCAFilipino Part 2: Canoe Camping at Union Reservoir

After getting picked up at Camp Connell (read part 1 here), we squeezed in the van and drove straight out to Union Reservoir. I'd heard great things (ebbetts pass adventures, paddling CA, sherri meyer) about Utica and Union Reservoir.  Utica doesn't allow powerboats, but we noticed that Utica seemed more crowded maybe due to this fact.  We didn't really mind sharing with powerboaters, so we just went into Union and our first stop happened to be an amazing campsite (big enough for 30? tents).  So we just did that.  Easy peasy.  Both of these reservoirs were fairly busy, so try to get there mid-week after labor day.  I'd love to go back here, or go check out near by Spicer Reservoir...

After a beautiful night filled with millions of stars, we paddled back toward the outlet of Union Reservoir and I portaged the canoe down to Utica Reservoir (we stashed our gear at Union) as we decided not to spend a night here, be social and go to Lake Alpine to attend Chris and D's wedding picnic.  Union has more islands, more smaller islands (which makes sense why there is no motor boats), and swimming from island to island was really fun. I could've done that for a few more hours... but it was soon time to go, so we portaged back up to Union and loaded the van.  

The kids didn't mind waiting for us to load the van back up as there were plenty of tiny fish they could catch with their sunhats.  After strapping the canoe down, I laced up my trail shoes and ran the 4x4 road that leads directly to Lake Alpine. 

Kai loving his little kayak.
see the tiny little fish?
Safety first!
Setting up camp.  We thought we were on an island, but we were on a penninsula.  Which was fine by us. 

Check out this set up.  This was on Union's only big camp-able island.... there must've been 40 folks there. 
Showing off my HR monitor tanline...
Kimbo is stoked. 
And chillin'
Wha what?  Sushi for dinner?  On a camping trip?  You betcha!!!  And boy were the Kuwabara boys happy!!!

We caught a nice sunset out there as well...
Nikko showing off his can-can skilz

Taking some night shots...

Next morning I got out my 50mm prime lens on my Sony NEX...
Nikko's face = camp clean...
Good thing we were on a penninsula... as we caught a lizard!!
Gorgeous blue belly!
It was a feisty little fella and bit me a few times..
While paddling back, we noticed we had a uninvited passenger on board.
Kai paddled both ways on his own!  We never towed him.  
Nikko is a helper too!
Down at Utica Lake, we had a great time swimming from island to island. 
with so many shallow islands, no wonder this lake doesn't allow motor boats. 
Plenty of nice campsites down here as well.  
Adios Utica...
more pics here: https://telek.smugmug.com/Sea-Kayaking-Canoeing/UnionUtica-Reservoir-July-25-2018

Huge tent for the camp host...
Meanwhile the trail I found turned out to be a Jeep Trail.  And Jeep Trails turns out are tough to run on. 
Very tough trail... can't believe jeeps make it up this...
There were two creek crossings which was a nice spot to cool off. 
Another tough uphill section.

2nd creek

Meanwhile everyone was at Lake Alpine enjoying themselves...

The innertube train!
The Kuwabaras and Kate found a campground near by (a mile away?) and bunked for the night.  The next morning I decided to check out some of the mtn biking trails around Bear Valley. 
On my run this doe sprinted right at me... it was kinda scary.  It brushed by me as it sprinted full speed downhill.  5 seconds later a coyote stopped 5 feet away from me as it skidded to a stop once it saw me. 
You can see the smoky haze below...
back to camp!
Then we drove down to White Pine Lake where there is a nice beach and a fun rope swing on the far end of the lake. 
and soon we were back at Big Trees where the wedding BBQ was about to start. 

Max... doing his thing
The kids put on a play for us here...

I got out my SLR for the first time in a while to take some fun portrait pics...

The kids were tired from their big day and fell asleep as soon as they were in the van.  We successfully transferred them to our room at the Bear Valley Lodge...
And we enjoyed some partying downstairs for the rest of the evening...
more pics here: