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S Calif visiting the snow

Updated on November 25, 2011

Weekend in nature S calif style

Last weekend I invited some friends to the mountains. I own a share of R Ranch in the Sequoias at Johnsondale Calif. That's on the Kern River, just north of Kernville, on Lake Isabella, northeast of Bakersfield. Basically it's a logging camp that went bankrupt, and someone turned it into a getaway to nature for city folks. It is very rustic, but beautiful, and very much a trip to being with nature. I tell my friends, it's like going camping, but leave the tent, and pot and pans.

These are the original loggers cabins, with a few modifications. All have a propane heater, shower, electric stove top, and a plain mattress to sleep on. Pots, pans, dishes etc are provided in the kitchen courtesy of the local thrift store.

From N Long Beach, it was a 5 hour drive for us. We arrived 6 pm, just after sunset. The last part of the road is twisting with hairpin turns, so I was happy to not be driving up it late. We could see the trees and overshadowing hills, but not too much more other than the street with the other cabins. It was a cool cloudy night. One of my friends wanted to see the stars, but not possible. We settled in to a dinner of wine and cheese, hummus, crackers and veggies. We sat up late talking, had the heater on, but more comfortable snuggling up with a blanket.

Some people express their creativity with art, others writing poetry. one of my friends expresses her creativity by cooking, and she created for us a wonderful brunch. She can be as creative as she wants any time I'm around. We walked around than. It was their first time, so I was proud to show off my favorite spots. The deer were out, we saw 2 herds of six. One herd had a buck with antlers. A short walk was the Indian holes, where the grain was pounded The holes number about 30, anywhere from shallow depressions, to 6 inches deep. Then over to the brook that feeds into the Kern River. It was low, a few inches tumbling over the rocks, easy to walk across it. In the spring, with the melting snow, picture it 2 feet deep and 6 feet wide.

Next we walked to the activity area, tennis, basketball, volleyball, the pool, jacuzzi, and indoor billiards, puzzles, arcade games, library, cable TV. Did I mention, due to the isolation, there are no cell phone towers. The closest is Kernville, 45 minutes away. Around the pond, saw the ducks, some colorful yellow trees, and down to the stables. A few horses were out, being prepared for a supervised ride. A trip to the store. Back at the cabin 2 1/2 hours later, we napped, than quesadillas with a variety of fixings. This cabin had a VCR/TV, we decided on "Waking Ned Devine" It began to get cold. I had a portable heater we turned on, it kept the cabin at 60, but outside it was 24 when we crashed.

Awake at 8 am, deer outside, and spitting snow. it was 12 degrees. We cleaned the kitchen, packed the car, and at 10 am, an inch of snow was on the ground when we left. R Ranch is just under 5000 feet altitude, so 1/4 of the way down hill it was just rain.

The website is R Ranch.org, AKA Johnsondale. Shares are still being sold. You are limited to visits of 2 weeks very month, so other owners can share. Last I checked the going cost was $3000, with the assessment yearly fee about $900.

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