August 3, 2022
Part 3 of 5, Vacation to the Lakes Basin, Sierra County
Total distance walked: 2.05 miles
Peacefulness and Tranquility
Decades ago, when our kids were small, we’d rent a cabin year after year in a remote corner of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. At an elevation of 6,200 feet, those mornings when spring was nudging out winter, were cold.
Back then Chris rose at dawn. He would stoke the fire in the woodstove and start coffee dripping in the percolator. Then he’d leave the cabin for Packer Lake. The kids, still asleep, stayed cozy under their covers. Sometimes I longed to go with him, to be out on the lake with my hot cup of coffee.
Fast-forward to present day at Packer Lake. It was a cool August morning, but the sun was on its way to warming the air. Remembering those chilly mornings that I stayed back with the kids; I eagerly left the cabin for a walk.
Chris, Michael and Andrew were already on the lake for their sunrise fishing routine. Carefully clomping over crushed rocks, I took the steep path down to the water’s edge. What I saw took my breath away—it is what I had missed those mornings I stayed in bed. The craggy peaks of the Sierra Buttes were shining in the sun. An eagle glided above the lake and out of sight. All was quiet and still.
Continuing my morning constitutional, I followed the dirt path between the water and the cabins. Over a century ago, Packer Lake was a stop along a pack-mule trail. In 1926, the lodge was built with a few log cabins that sit right on the water. Later, more cabins were built above the lake situated in the trees.
Passing the dock and the long-standing cabins, I headed toward the rock.
The rock is a place where the kids used to play, a place where they’d fish when they couldn’t be in the boat. It’s a place where families sit to watch the sunset.
It had been years since I climbed the rock. I went up to see the view.
From the rock, the east side of the lake is overgrown with brush making it necessary to walk along the road. In the olden days this was a gravel road leading to the lodge. Now it’s smoothly surfaced with asphalt.
A sign pointed to a path that led through a stand of quaking aspen.
Following the arrow uphill, I walked the winding path between two creek beds. Higher up, rivulets of water plummeted to the ground into one of the creeks, the other creek was dry.
When the trail became too steep for a comfortable climb, I turned back and continued circumnavigating the lake. A bridge over Camp Packer Creek at the north side indicated the end of my walk. I crossed the bridge and headed back up the rocky trail to the cabin.
Each morning I walked a different route enjoying the peacefulness and tranquility of daybreak. No wonder Chris rose early all those years ago. Sure, it was for fishing, but this beautiful blue gem of a lake tucked away in a carpet of pines draws you back again and again.