REDINGER LAKE, CA—With only a few gallons of water and rapidly dwindling supplies, it seemed it was time to leave this quiet and beautiful place.
As I climbed into the front seat, I took a last look around at the clear lake and the lush woods and the solitude and thought, why not come back? Why move on? I’ve got nowhere to go and no time schedule to keep and no commitments to fulfill when I don’t get there anyway.
So I made an out-of-the-way trip north to make a round-about trip south back down to Fresno for supplies, making note of a few potential camps I might use on my way to Yosemite (or not) and picked up some food and some water and stealth camped for the night, then did my laundry in the morning and made the three requisite runs into Lowe’s and satisfied my craving for Thai (for food, not girls, but that would have been nice too).
When I designed this rig, I designed it to hold a little over a week’s supply of water since my past had taught me that after a week I’d get restless and bored and head into town anyway, even if I didn’t break camp. But when this far from civilization—and surrounded by such beauty—a week’s worth of water is too little to have and too limiting a factor and too easy to fix so I picked up an extra six gallon can for a total of 18 which should give me enough for two weeks in one place when I feel the need to stay in one place for two weeks.
Restocked with food and water and parts for some minor rig tweeks, I drove back up the long and winding fraction-over-a-single-lane hair-pin mountain road in which every mile or so would appear a cow, a lethargic massive bovine, standing dead center mid-lane around a blind mountain curve staring dully at the interruption to her otherwise tranquil day (a factor contributing to why this place is so empty no doubt) and eventually arrived at my camp where I parked and I stripped and I went for a chilly but wonderful swim in a clear mountain lake in a beautiful forest in the middle of nowhere.
The life of the van dweller—and the mystic for that matter—is not a life for everyone. It’s a life of uncertainty and of sacrifice and of solitude.
But it’s a life I kinda like.
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