Thursday, May 20, 2010

It is that Shasta Lake Time of Year!!!!

Every year, around May 10th, I get the Shasta Lake bug. I go on-line, check the lake level, click on the Pit River Bridge traffic cam for live pictures of the lake.

Especially this year. May be it is because we have had record rainfall. Maybe it is because it is the 30th anniversary of the Eruption of Mt. St. Helen's (I flew over the the volcano the day before the May 18th eruption coming back from a trip on the lake when I was 11.)

But it is definitely one of the places that I can't thank my grandfather enough for giving us the memories of this place. This is the only place that I can totally relax. And this place has been the source of so many great memories.

The pictures in this post were taken by Jim, Beth, and I and are taken from our last houseboat trip in 2005 .

The trips were rotated every year in the 70's and 80's by each of my grandfathers kids. So one year it would be our family, the next would be my Uncle Steve's family. My Uncle Phil went a couple of times during this time. In the 90's, we began going as the entire Willer clan with two boats. I got the benefit of going on most of the trips as "navigator".

We caught all sorts of fish from huge catfish and carp, to a lot of trout trolling, and bass and bluegill in the coves where we would dock.

We all had our favorite parts of the lake. My grandfathers favorite location was towards the end of the Big Backbone. My grandmothers favorite area was up on Squaw Creek. It was the most remote part of the lake, and she always said that it reminded her of "the end of the world." This picture is from Squaw Creek.

My favorite was on Elmore's Bay on the Sacramento arm. This was the place where we would always catch the largest catfish. This is also where my Uncle Steve caught our first large mouth base. He caught a fish on every cast.

This also a great place to get out of the boat; hike, and think.

It is such a peaceful place, with very sketchy cell phone coverage and the boats did not have televisions.

It forced you to relax. Even when it rained, we stayed inside and played rummy, trivial pursuit, and this peg game that my grandmother brought on the boat. I later found the same game at a Cracker Barrel in Georgia and a restaurant near Disneyland.

We had gummy bears, chex and peanut mix, frozen snickers (my grandfathers favorite), and crystal light. We at nachos with Que Bueno, or hot dogs wrapped in tortillas while we trolled down by the dam or under the Pit River Bridge.

Dinners were great too. The first night would always be KFC that would be picked up at Redding next to the Chevron Station. Wednesdays would be Steak night. We would have hamburgers. And we would have S'mores. For the longest time I thought we had invented them on the boat!!

Breakfast would include grandpas best pancakes. I make pancakes often for my kids, even got a griddle; however, to this day they do not taste as good as he made.

This trip was never about the fishing, never about the trip, never about what we ate. It was about family. It was about being able to spend time with my Grandfather and Grandmother.

It was about being thankful for a grandfather who was interested in his children and grand children and wanting to give them the best vacation possible. It was about giving them the best memories of all.

Beth had a similar time with her grandfather. That place was in Eastern Washington in the Blue Mountain foothills. This place is called Tucannon. The fishing was great, but it was all about the memories.

The last trip my grandfather and grandmother couldn't go. It was a bittersweet trip. However, this was the trip that I could share this experience with my children.

I miss this time I could spend with my grandfather and miss him a lot. I loved these trips because of the time I could spend with him.

I hope this summer I can take them up there, even if it is just for a camping trip. And when they are a little older, we too can restart going back on the houseboat so they can have their own memories.

1 comment:

  1. We were just talking about the houseboat trips last weekend! I still think the three of us should get it going again!
    I miss those times too. I will always love Neil Diamond for his contribution!