|Footloosewanderers 2008 Still on the Road
We started out 2008 at the Acorn Campground on New Melones Lake. This is
a Bureau of Reclamation lake near Sonora, California. We started our camp
host duties here in December of 2007 and stayed until the end of March. In
addition to our camp host duties, we also assisted with the Visitor Center
operations. Needless to say that neither the campground nor the visitor center
were busy during that time period, however we did have some warmer weather
in late February and March that did bring out a few campers.
While at New Melones, we were only a short drive from Yosemite. We had the
chance to visit the park again in February. Needless to say it was a very
different experience from our visit in early December. All of the fires were out
and many of the roads were closed from the snowfall. The weekend before our
visit, the area had received several feet of snow. More photos of Yosemite in
February can be found on our Photos from our Travels page.
After leaving New Melones, we spent a couple of weeks in the Reno area then
started making our way into the mountains for the summer. Our first stop was
a one month volunteer spot as campground hosts at Cave Campground in the
Lassen National Forest at Old Station, California. This campground is located
on the banks of Hat Creek, one of California's top trout fishing streams. The
creek is fed by the snow melt from Lassen peak.
From Cave Campground, it was back to Lassen Volcanic National Park for
the summer. We had originally planned to return to the Butte Lake
Campground but a combination of events led to a stay at the Manzanita
Lake Campground instead. This campground is the largest in the park and is
very busy. We spent the first half of the season as the only hosts so it was a
drastic change from our previous camp hosting experiences. Even though it
was very busy, it was a great experience. The park personnel at Lassen are
great folks to work with. I would recommend this park to anyone looking for a
great volunteer experience. The summer was an interesting one for sure.
Early in the summer, California experienced a series of thunderstorms that
started numerous forest fires in the northern part of the state. At Lassen, we
were literally surrounded by those fires but fortunately none were going in
the park. It did lead to a smoky sky for most of the summer. Although the
park was not anywhere near as bad as other areas of the state we did have
a light haze from the smoke on most days. Many highways were closed at
different times over the summer due to the smoke and fire. We had a lot of
campers come up from the valley to get away from the more smoky areas.
The photo on the left was taken a little later in the summer when at least a
few of the fires were more under control. Unfortunately, due to problems with
our house sitters, we had to leave Lassen in mid August and did not get to
finish the season. We hope to be able to return sometime in the future to
work at this park.
After spending a couple of months back in Arkansas to take care of issues with the house that were "compliments" of
our house sitters, we made our way to south Texas and the Rio Grande Valley for the first time. We were volunteers at
the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, just south of Alamo, Texas. This was our first experience as volunteers for the
US Fish and Wildlife but hopefully it will not be our last. Kendall worked in the Visitor Center and I worked with the
maintenance crew. We both really enjoyed this volunteer experience and hope to return to Santa Ana sometime in the
future. We were fortunate to once again volunteer at a location with really great folks, both FWS employees and other
volunteers. Not only is this a nice and warm place to spend the winter but it is a very unique area and very different
from all of our previous experiences. We were not "birders" when we went to this area so we were not familiar with all
that we would find here. There are some very unique birds in this area and we now have a new interest to pursue.
Although we are very much amateurs, we did manage to get a few good photos.
Unfortunately we had to leave south Texas at the end of December for the much colder climate of northwest Arkansas.
However, it was for a very good reason! Our first grandchild, a grandson, is scheduled to be showing up in mid
January. So now it is back to the cold country while we wait patiently for his arrival.
For more photos from our 2008 travels, visit our Photos from our Travels page.