My Grandfather on my mother’s side got around, he had more than one family which used to confuse me when I was little. As a result I had two uncles around the same age as my brother and me which I definitely thought was cool.  One year on a family meetup we snuck away from the adults. It was Summer of Love and we were in our teen years. We took the bus to Haight-Asbury, the streets were overflowing with long-haired flower children, tie-died feathered barefoot kissers,  pretty acid bubbles floating through the air, smooth skin star gazers gifting love and peace to everyone amid rays of crystal rainbows and joy, a scene I’ll never forget.

Ross lives in Santa Cruz and works at the Community Print Collective; I’d stopped at a campground near Watsonville, Pinto Lake County Recreation Area. The campsite/park was bustling with families and small kids. Being “little” (the LT is only 19′) I was given the parking spot in front near the lake so I stayed. There was no hot water for showers, supposedly PG&E was repairing the lines and would be done soon but I was told the same story in the morning…  word for word. I didn’t see anyone doing any work. I walked towards the lake area:  Polluted! Contact with the water was to be avoided! What a shame, little kids were fishing, yuck!

Pinto Lake, Warnings! DSC00212

There wasn’t much else to do other than give Olympia an impromptu bath after she rolled in some muck so I headed back out in the RV. . .  found another entrance to the Park about a mile or so away, almost missed it. Hiking trails, a fishing pier, large ball fields, playground, picnic areas and nature trails, there’s a sign saying to watch out for runners and disc throwers, apparently they play disc golf and although I didn’t know to look for the area, the Virgin Mary is believed to have appeared at this park. The lake is very pretty. I was the only non-Hispanic person so it was no surprise that the bathrooms had signs only in Spanish….  something about putting the paper in the water bowl before flushing…..  geesh! The park was a canopy of activity; ball games, runners, walkers, picnickers and disc players. The dogs liked it too.

Hiking Around Pinto Lake, Watsonville with Olympia nad Mason Pinto Lake, Watsonville with Olympia and Mason

Pinto Lake County Park

To my delight when I returned to my camp Uncle Ross had left a voice mail, soon he was on his way to visit. We spent several hours in peace (all the little kids and other day time visitors had been told it was time to go and the gate locked.) Ross and I sat on my green camp chairs in front of the LT watching the lake in the dusk and into the dark.  I think this was the first time I had company, my mother’s little folding table from the ARVO (the cabin cruiser the family had when I was a kid) holding our mugs of tea, the dogs frisking about and finally settling inside as we talked . .. serious and very interesting talk about autism, Alzheimer’s, research and exercise in auditory training, sounds and perception and of course dogs and families. I was happy. I was happy for the connection to my uncle, happy for the birds and sounds of the lake, happy for the freedom of the LT, happy for my happy dogs that enjoy traveling with me.

My camp spot at Pinto Lake

My camp spot at Pinto Lake

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Pinto Lake Reflection

Tranquility ( Hajime Mizoguchi )