The Sonoma County Gazette: Community News Magazine
Sonoma County Gazette
Subscribe
| more

Photo Gallery

Camp Meeker Beat - August 2016

thumb_2_CampMeekerBeat-600.jpg

Camp Meeker Beat - August 2016

by Tom Austin

August. This is when Camp Meeker shines. So to speak. August is when you go into town to run errands and bake in the sun. When you’ve had enough, you slip under the boughs of the trees into blessed shade and a (relatively) cool house. If your house is well insulated, it stays cool well into the afternoon. Of course, a well-insulated house stays warm for a good while after it GETS warm, causing you to resort to the fan well into the evening. It’s all about the thermal inertia and the coefficient of heat transfer. 

It’s about slipping into a pleasant torpor, to reprise last year’s word. The VFD is funded until November, thanks to the Memorial Day pancake breakfast. The Park and Rec Board agenda is temporarily quiet. The Post Office and Sewer controversies are in remission. Nothing left to do but enjoy the peace and quiet, dabble one’s toes in the creek, and take a hike now and then. Perhaps it’s time to trim some of the bushes overhanging the roads – I notice strange scratch marks on my car, and I think it’s from those bushes. I certainly have some yard work to do. My twenty-year-old refrigerator has given up the ghost, and if I want a new one I will need to bring it up through the back yard. Time for some trail blazing, as Kit Carson would have said. You remember Kit Carson, right? Buffalo Bill Cody named his child after the man. And my three-greats grandpappy John Orlando Austin was drinking buddies with ol’ Bill. As Casey Stengel was wont to say, you could look it up.

Oh, I could wax poetic about the miles of awesome trails leading up and out of the hills around us – but it’s a sensitive subject. You see, most of those awesome trails are on somebody’s private property, and it would be irresponsible of me to encourage you to trespass willy-nilly. Most of the land surrounding Camp Meeker is owned by the various Church groups – St. Dorothy’s, Alliance Redwoods, and Westminster Woods in particular. Even Mt. Zion, if you go that far downstream. If you go up to Willow Creek Road you will soon find yourself on Mendocino Redwoods land. All I can say is – be a good neighbor. Be courteous and polite, and follow the golden rule. The end result being that, if you ask nicely, you might be able to walk from your front door to the Monte Rio, Duncans Mills, or even the Pacific Ocean without seeing a car. Be careful and watch your step, if you do – these are not manicured trails with signs. Bring a GPS and some water. Be smart. 

Or, y’know, you could just walk around the neighborhood. You can log plenty of miles that way, and it’s all very civilized. Just go back and forth, up Washington and down California and up Railroad and down Hampton and down Van Ness to Montgomery and so on. You do know how we got all those San Francisco street names, right? Way back when this was Boss Meeker’s lumber camp and he first got the idea of subdividing and selling vacation cabins, his first customers were San Francisco firemen – and they wanted to bring a little of San Francisco with them. Anyway, if you go up Morelli you can walk all the way to Harrison Grade and drop in on Les Claypool or Mickey Hart. But –as before – be a good neighbor. Or you could walk down Hampton Street and pick up the trail into Occidental. For gosh sakes, don’t walk on Bohemian Highway. There’s lots of cars and no shoulder. Be smart – pop over to Occidental-Camp Meeker road. Much more peaceful, much more pedestrian-friendly.

Pedestrian-friendly. That’s one of my favorite things about Camp Meeker. I drive way too far to get to my job these days, and my favorite weekend is one where I don’t even open the car door. Camp Meeker is the best possible place to have that kind of weekend.