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Long Reads

Convict Lake

It took me way too long to process the collected pictures from our camping trip to Convict Lake, but here are some of the highlights (taken by all of us across several cameras). I’ve kind of surprised myself with how much time I’ve been spending outdoors lately. It’s a good contrast to all the time spent in lab during the week, made all the more enjoyable by some fantastic company.

Convict Lake is absolutely gorgeous. We tried to capture what we could in the pictures but nature has a way of insisting that you need to see it for yourself. The (freezing cold) water was a vibrant blue-green and dropped off to treading-water depths only a few feet from the shore.

We tried to catch fish without success. Every so often they’d swim to where we could see them just to mock us—Andy attempted to impale them with a hand-fashioned spear, but even that was fruitless. The best our group was able to do was Rachel catching a minnow in the shallows like a cat. Angie was a camping hero: She had a modeling gig Friday afternoon, but came directly from that to meet up with us. She packed all her gear and brought it to the photoshoot; we brought some dinner and makeup removing wipes.

Despite the warm days, there was still snow on some of the mountains and rapid temperature changes when the sun changed sides of the horizon. I’ve never seen Rachel go from bundling into a mummy bag with sweatshirts and extra blankets to a tank top and shorts in so short a time. I did not bring enough cold night gear, and I managed to dump the blanket Rachel gave me into some burrs in my sleep. I’m not sure if we’ll ever be able to get them all out, or if we do, if the blanket will retain its desirable softness.

We spent one of the days hanging out by an inlet to the lake, where the rushing water sliced through the rest of the lake. We skipped stones: Andy calmly gets ten or more skips deep into the lake, while I struggle to get more than four, which is neatly explained by my “chicken attempting to fly” throwing posture. Another day, we climbed out onto a fallen tree and ended up seeing how far we could walk onto the slippery end before falling in.

Other interesting things: Natural hot springs, a tree knot shaped like an eye, carving a Pocahontas tattoo onto Angie’s arm, mountain shadows forming a smiley face. California summer!