For so many of us, Memorial Day Weekend signals the opening of camping season. The weather is warm, the rain has slowed, and great outdoors is calling. When I lived in Northern California, we spent several Memorial Days at Englebright Lake. Located in the California’s Gold Country outside of Nevada City, Englebright is a quiet lake with a houseboat studded marina that seems to be off the radar of most Californians. Every year, we rented a large party boat with a bunch of friends and made our way to one of several boat-in camping areas located on the lake. It was so much fun to pitch our tents on the oak studded shores and circle our chairs around the campfire. The men played horseshoes and had tri tip cooking competitions while the women lounged in the sun or climbed up the hills on hikes to the dam. If the weather was warm enough, we would take the boat out to the middle of the lake and jump off the second story into the freezing water below. It was a great tradition that we all looked forward to every year.
Sadly, my last visit to Englebright Lake was when I was pregnant with my children. Evidently, air mattresses and twin filled bellies do not work well together. One night on the air mattress was enough to pull a bunch of muscles in my stomach (an injury I still feel the effects of) and cause me to have to leave the campsite in tears.
I refuse to let that ill-fated visit be our last. I look forward to one day taking my kids on a camping trip at Englebright Lake with the children of my friends who shared in those trips of years past. We will share our “under the radar” location with a new generation and hopefully start new traditions in the process.
In the meantime, if you are in Northern California and looking for a fun spot to take the family, check out the boat-in sites at Englebright Lake. I hope your family can create some fond memories as well.