Date: Friday to Sunday, August 25-27, 2006
Event: Bucks Lake, Quincy, Plumas County, CA. (8-25: 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM / 8-26: 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM / 8-27: 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM (12 hrs on the water for the three days.)
w/ Solo, on my own!
 

The idea for this glorious weekend came to me during a phone conversation with my sister, Jo Ann, earlier in the week, I learned that she and my brother, Jim, were going to spend a beat-the-crowd weekend at their favorite camping destination, Bucks L lake, the weekend before the big Labor day weekend. So I simply invited myself along with the promise of bringing "Lazy Ka".

Map of Bucks Lake, Plumas Natonal Forrest, Plumas County, CABucks Lake, 50 miles up highway 62, above Oroville, CA, in the Feather River country of the Sierra.Bucks Lake is a PG&E managed power generating lake located in the Feather River country of the Sierra, central Plumas County, at an elevation just above 5,000 feet. Whether you drive the 50 miles east from Oroville, or the longer scenic route up the North Fork of the Feather River, then back-track the 20 miles Southwest from the town of Quince, you can expect a spectacular drive getting there.

FRIDAY:
Off the beaten path! Lazy Ka taking a break on almost-impassable-at-times East Four Trees Road in California's Feather River country. (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)My first lesson this outing: Do NOT trust the computer trip planner! The DeLorme "Street Atlas USA" program that has served me so well for several years chose a "fastest" route that took me up the Feather River Canyon then over the Southern ridge, by way of East Four Trees Road, to within a few miles of Bucks Lake. The downer, East Four Trees Road is a poorly maintained, washed out, dirt road that dictated shifting into FWD to negotiate the six miles up and over the ridge to the summit road (Hwy 162) that runs from Oroville to Bucks Lake. It took me a couple of passes to decide that taking the slow six-mile option was more time-efficient than the 80 mile route through Quincy town.You're gonna get your feet wet launching at Bucks Lake; there are no dock facilities (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)

I arrived at Bucks Lake a little past 4:00 PM, found my siblings campsite, and promptly set out for the boat ramp a little over a mile up the road. After paying my $7.00 fee--good for one launch and one recovery, on the authority of the camp host, regardless of how many days the boat is on the lake--I set to rigging and launching. While I sailed back to the campground, my brother returned with my trusty Explorer tow-car.

Around the campfire: Sister's Sig-other, Rudi, Jo Ann Kergan, and brother Jim playing the guitar. (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)I made the most of my afternoon sail, taking a little over two hours to make the mile plus back the the campground. The truth is, I sailed well past the campground, out into mid-lake, then back into the campground beach. The lake offered wonder vistas and gentle afternoon breezes in the 2-4 knot range. I stayed out until a bit after 7:00 PM.

SATURDAY:Sundew Campground, Plumas National Forrest,  from Lazy Ka on the Water of Bucks Lake (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)
Saturday morning found no real breezes until a little before 10:00 AM. Then, as if a switch was thrown, the blow started up. I wasted no time getting aboard Lazy Ka and setting out. My plan for the day was to sail to the north end of the lake and the two marinas there in search of some quality firewood to burn with the ground-fall that we were allowed to collect around the campground. The morning winds on Bucks Lake come out of the north, the direction I had to go to make the marinas. The next two hours
Lone Cat in the morning sun On Bucks Lake, CA (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)were spent tacking into the 4-6 knots coming down the lake. The sailing was great, but my secondary mission was a failure; no firewood is sold on the lake due to the "free" wood competition in the area.

The good news is that I found several sailboats of various sizes berthed at the marinas--everything I had seen on the lake as I coming out this morning, amounted to several Hobbie Cats and a couple of Sunfish and Sunfish-like day sailors, leaving me with the impression that the Cats are the boat of choice for local sailors.And there was a Montgomery-15 as well! (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)

Back out on the lake, the morning winds, died as quickly as they came on. It seems there is a bit of a lull in the early afternoon as the winds make a shift from the North to the southwest, coming over the damn. This made for some very good light-air sailing practice.

I later learned that this was a loosely knit sailing club that holds regattas at Bucks Lake on a regular basis (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)Back in the central lake off the damn, I found the Hobbies represented in bigger numbers than when I was outbound. There were at least a half-dozen beached at one picnic beach, with a Montgomery-15 thrown in for good measure. Two O'Clock-ish, I put in at the campground for a lunch-break.

Lazy Ka on Bucks Lake, CA. (PHOTO: Jo Ann Kergan)After lunch, it was back on the water for a bit more light air practice. I stayed in and around the central lake, close to the damn; until the afternoon winds began to build once more, around 3:00 PM. From that time, the sailing was absolutely great! Sailing back and forth through the center of the lake teasing the Hobbie Cats with my cutter rig.

Looking North on Mill Creek arm of Bucks Lakee, CA (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)SUNDAY:
Sunday morning's conditions were a replay of Saturday with very light winds as I put out at 9:00 AM. The need to leave for home by noon dictated getting on the water early if I wanted to get in any sailing at all. The light morning air made for a slow, but pleasant sail back around to the ramp for haul-out.

I had the lake to myself save one ski boat who insisted on towing his skier inside the confines of the Mill Creek arm of the lake. This made recovery a bit tricky as I needed to time my recovery between the passes of this inconsiderate a--hole. Once out of the water, Lazy Ka was rigged for the road in no time, and we were back at the campground for our final goodbyes.

Winds: The winds for this three-day outing were generally light,, though they did show some real energy on Saturday afternoon as I saw close to 10 knots.
Weather: Clear all three days. Not a cloud to be seen all weekend!