San Francisco (III) – Clear Lakes Cabin

On J’s sister’s suggestion, we decided to all go on a short trip to a cabin near Clear Lakes. Initially, we thought it was about 2 hours drive but it turned out to be about 4 hours after two short stops for potty and gas. There were two portions of the trip around the mountains that were rather tortuous – one was a 45 min winding path that left us feeling a little dizzy and then there was the 30 min drive up the dirt track to the cabin itself.

When we got there, we almost turned back immediately. Firstly, the cabin was pretty small. There were 4 beds in the cabin and a couple more in the tents outside. Secondly, it didn’t help that the cabin looked like a mess and the owner(?) was still cleaning it out when we got there. Thirdly, the only bathroom we saw was the slipshod outdoor lavatory that had no door nor roof. But it was already 2pm and most of the grownups were hungry, so we decided to sit down and eat a little before deciding what to do. Calvin was all filled up earlier with a burger we got at a rest stop, some fries and half a banana. I gave him a snack pack while we ate. Since we won’t be getting any refunds from a last minute cancellation, we decided to use the 100 year old stove to warm up some food. When we were done, we managed to get a glimpse of the room upstairs and found the the fairly nice bathroom up there. Apparently, the tents can be heated too so we decided to give it a try for the night.

His sister and family decided to stay in the tent while the rest of us fit into the cabin. Calvin was more than happy to sleep up in the loft the moment he set eyes on it. The two kids climbed up and down the loft ladder numerous times during the day. There wasn’t much of a place to hike to our disappointment but we managed to keep the kids entertained by getting them to pick up twigs and pine cones for the campfire. As usual, we played babysitter to the two older kids the whole afternoon.

When it was close to dinnertime, my MIL was still asleep. Since no one else was taking charge of getting dinner ready, I became chef too – cooking rice, peeling and slicing the cucumbers and frying up the roast duck and then noodles for Nat. Well, I certainly hope we head back tomorrow because the amount of work we are left with is starting to make this whole vacation start to feel more like a work-cation.

It’s a good thing I got dinner sorted out because by the time it was ready, everyone was ravenous and that left us with a good amount of time for the kiddies to get their roasted marshmallows, graham crackers etc and then get settled in for bed. And now here I am, yawning as I type this at 9:30 pm. It has certainly been a tiring day. I think the kids had fun but next time, I think we should politely decline and explore somewhere a little closer to home and a little less rustic.167

P.S: The next morning, we drove up the road in search of a trail that was supposed to lead to some good scenery. The trails weren’t marked and several places seemed to be private property. We stopped at a couple of trails though none of them looked like they led to where it was supposed to go. We had fun anyway stomping on patches of ice that had accumulated overnight and picking up huge sugar pine cones.

When we got back, the kids started another fire and spent quite some time just climbing up and down the clearing close to the cabin. At one point, Calvin walked off further from Natalie and she called “Don’t forget me.” Calvin replied:”I’m coming”. And then Calvin started going down the slope and Natalie called, “Be careful!”. Calvin called back, “I’ll be careful.” It was a pretty funny and adult-like conversation that parroted what we say to them all the time.



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