The Kern River Valley and Lake Isabella

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We had heard a lot about Lake Isabella and the wild and scenic Kern River - a world class river sports destination. Within easy reach of Los Angeles, we expected it would be a busy place on the Memorial Day long weekend so we stalled a bit and timed our arrival to avoid it. As it turned out, the long weekend had been cold and rainy here and we hadn't missed much. We arrived in time for the sunshine and spent a terrific week exploring the area. It is beautiful and rugged and not all "touristy" or out of reach and expensive as we had feared and expected.

From Isabella Lake, we drove north along the upper Kern River, high into the Sequoia National Forest and, finally, returned to continue south along the lower Kern (every bit as beautiful and exciting) as it winds through a steep gorge to irrigate part of California's "food basket," the agricultural lands, surrounding the city of Bakersfield. Driving through such areas, always brings my dad to mind. Always a farmer, he would have been checking on every field - identifying what each crop is and judging how it's doing.

A few personal highlights in the week for me: I was interviewed by Laura Coffee for an article to appear either June 15th or 22nd on TODAY.com. The article is about couples who live in "small spaces" and how they manage. Laura contacted me after reading my page on the emotional challenges of long-term travel The second highlight of my week was meeting a young couple from Minneapolis who got all excited when they realized that I was the Marianne Edwards they had heard about - the one who writes the frugal travel boondocking guides. They recently had met someone at Carlsbad Caverns, NM who had "waxed lyrical" about my guides and referred them to my web site. As my mother-in-law used to say, "I'm tickled pink."

 Kern River campsite

From our riverside campsite, we watched rafts and kayaks "fly" by.


Kern River rapids

Randy wanted to launch our kayak but I but voted it down! (Just kidding - this river would be suicidal for us. )

Kern River rapids

Just one of many great waterfalls in the north country above the river valley.


Needles

Following the river north, led us to beautiful forested camping and fantastic granite peaks like this one, called "Needles."


Giant Sequoa

We did two easy hikes (Trail of 100 Giants, and George Bush Tree) to marvel at giant Sequoia trees - the largest living thing on the planet.


Forest Fire, Lake Isabella

While camped on the shore of Isabella Lake, we saw smoke and soon realized (confirmed on local radio) that we were witnessing a forest fire less than five miles away. It was interesting to see the fire climb upward on the hillside - not toward us at all so we rested easy. By the next morning it was pretty much under control


 Isabella Lake

Our campsite on Isabella Lake - we liked it so much we hunkered down and spent three days here, calling it our "beachfront" property.


Marianne and Randy

A rare photo of us, inside our camper. We took this to send to TODAY.com to depict life in our "tight living quarters."


Days On The Road At Time Of Writing: 97
Camping Costs To Date: $100.00




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