As usual it was hard to get out of Chico. We camped on the north end of Almanor behind the airport and where the lake has filled in with meadow and stumpy mudflats. It was a beautiful place nonetheless.
The next day we went to Bodfish Bikes and Quiet Mountain Sports in Chester. We got the name and directions for a clear mountain meadow Willow Lake and we headed up there. There were others camped there too but few enough that we had the lake to ourselves for swimming and later this moonlight walk with cranes making their odd honking and an easy meadow trail to follow.
We stopped at Bodfish again to ask about another lake and this one is sacred to the Mountain Maidu people and no photos are to be taken so I have none. That was an incredible place... Up against the Keddie Ridge.. a 2.8 mile walk in, icy waters and amazing rocks. The views out from the ridge saddle are to Mountain Meadows in one direction and down to Indian Valley and Greenville to the other side. We had two days of hiking up there and some excitement with rain, thunder and lightning but otherwise very infrequent humanity and a great sense of peace.
Then we came back down to Almanor and put in at the south end of the lake.. the clouds were amazing and we almost got loaded up unscathed but ended up soaked in the fierce squall that swept through.. which we didn't much mind.
Soon after, the sunset was purple but brief and closed in 4 days of swimming, hiking and boating without using fossil fuels...thanks to Michael's commitment to processing veggie oil before we came. Today he is back to chemo but we are still partly back up there in the high country through the soreness of our muscles and the dry sleek feel of our skin.