Spending time at a mountain cabin while growing up.

Since I was born, yearly, we spent time at a mountain cabin in Strawberry, Ca around the 5,700ft elevation, right under Lover’s Leap, a towering cliff over 600 ft high frequently climbed now.

My parents used their vacation time each year to go to these cabins and my dad’s lifelong best friend Bob owned the two cabins his father built, one also at the ocean.  So we spent about 2-4 weeks/yr at either of these cabins while the parents got together usually with other friends and just had fun, cooked, fished, hunted, played horseshoes, partied, worked on the cabins, went “over the hill” to the casinos, etc.

The place seemed plenty large and fun to me then, looking at it now, it’s quite small!  There was the upstairs, a narrow creaky passage to a few beds where we stayed mostly, a room downstairs, couches, two bed set ups outside, and the back of a station wagon or two!  No one complained, everyone had a great time.  The wood stove in the morning, a manual gas water heater, and a fireplace kept things warm or cooked our food, sometimes amazing bbq’s were enjoyed out back!  The bathroom was out back and pretty much like a small shack with a large underground tank.

I either brought friends or parents had other kids who came up and we always found tons to do!  I also went out on several early fishing trips as the river was only feet away and would lull everyone to sleep at night!  The river was our biggest source of fun.  Sometimes we floated on inner tubes, or just played in the cold river on hot days!

The other fun thing we did was “exploring”.  Sometimes we would just go hiking behind the cabin up to the much lower rock cliffs that we could climb to get to the ridge that went across to the main part of Lover’s Leap.  The rule was, be back by dinner… and getting lost, which never happened, the rule there was just keep going downhill, you’ll eventually run into something!

We had so many landmarks (Roundtop Mtn was a key) you could always find your way around, even if what was right in front of you didn’t look familiar, it always played out.  And there were usually no trails; it was all freestyle just walking to places, only ran into a couple rattlers the whole time growing up there.   About the time I was able to drive we ventured up Horsetail Falls where my dad and Bob used to go over when they were in high school!  We wouldn’t see another person all day!  My friends and I were astounded at the beauty of Desolation Wilderness, streams and mini lakes seemed to go on in every direction!  After many a long day I can remember several times sleeping 12-15 hours!

Being there on Labor Day week meant cleaning and closing up the cabin for the winter, boarding windows, and sometimes they got a lot of snow.  But it was still mostly just playing for us kids!  I did chop and split my share of wood and helped with some chores.

Things have changed now, but the mountains stayed in me, and when we moved to Tahoe, it was just great!  I’ve been back to that cabin, walked around, sat out back… I can still hear the voices, laughter, smells; it’s so thick you can cut it with a knife!  The “grownups” are almost all gone now, my mom still is in touch with the few that are left and last time we were all there is just a great memory.  It had such a huge impact on my life and I’m Thankful beyond words for the times we had there!  Till next time, God Bless,

~Gary

530-544-1330

kirchmeister5@gmail.com

ximorocks.com/kirch

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